Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Effects of Prescription Drug Use

Effects of prescription drug usePrescription drug abuse is a serious ailment that not only affects the individual on multiple levels but it also can deter relationships in a person’s life and affect their community as well. It’s a serious condition that causes a person’s life to downward spiral over time if not treated. A person inevitably feels the need to use in order to cope with simple, daily activities.

Prescription Drug Addiction Effects on Society

Drug abuse in general causes the government to spend a lot of money that could otherwise be spent on education or other channels. The urge to use is so powerful that criminal activity for money or more drugs can be a strong temptation. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the US, the total economic cost of substance abuse has reached $245 billion. This was spent on treatment and prevention costs, healthcare, losses on job productivity, crime and social welfare.

Prescription Drug Addiction Effects on Friends and Family

Because denial is the most powerful effect of abuse and addiction, the urge to use is so strong that the mind finds many ways to rationalize drug use. Addicts may lash out at concerned family members, making the family feel like they are exaggerating and overstating the problem. What makes this so frustrating for family members is the person abusing drugs often sincerely believes they do not have a problem and can make the family member feel like the dysfunctional one.

This denial and rationalization can lead to increased problems with work, finances and relationships. The user may blame others for losing their job or for reasons why they continue using. While work and relationship stresses happen to everyone, an overall pattern of deterioration and blaming others may be a sign of trouble.

Child abuse and neglect is much more common when there is drug abuse in the family. Parents who abuse drugs or alcohol tend to neglect their children, leaving them to their own devices. Because they are preoccupied with their substances, addicted parents fail to provide the proper guidance that children need especially during their growing years. Teenagers who grow up in homes where a respected adult or parent uses alcohol or drugs have a higher tendency for developing an addiction later. This is mainly because the household is more lenient in terms of drug use. Domestic violence also happens more frequently. The emotional toll can be overwhelming.

Prescription Drug Addiction Effects on the User’s Health

Like all drug abuse, using prescription drugs for the wrong reasons has serious risks for a person’s health. This risk is higher when prescription drugs like opioids are taken with other substances like alcohol, antihistamines, and central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Long-term use of opioids or CNS depressants can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Taken in high doses, stimulants can lead to compulsive use, paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures and irregular heartbeat.

CNS depressants have risks as well. Abruptly stopping or reducing them too quickly can lead to seizures. Taking CNS depressants with other medications, such as prescription painkillers, some over-the-counter cold and allergy medications or alcohol can slow a person’s heartbeat and breathing — and even kill.

Abusing stimulants (like some ADHD drugs) may cause heart failure or seizures. These risks are increased when stimulants are mixed with other medicines, even over the counter (OTC) ones like certain cold medicines. Taking too much of a stimulant can lead a person to develop a dangerously high body temperature or an irregular heartbeat. Taking several high doses over a short period of time may make a drug abuser aggressive or paranoid. Although stimulant abuse might not lead to physical dependence and withdrawal, the feelings these drugs give people can cause them to use the drugs more and more often so that it becomes a habit that’s hard to break.

The dangers of the effects of prescription drug abuse can be made even worse if people take drugs in a way they aren’t supposed to be taken. Ritalin may seem harmless because it’s prescribed even for little kids with ADHD. But when a person snorts or injects Ritalin, it can be serious. And because there can be many variations of the same medication, the dose of medication and how long it stays in the body can vary. The person who doesn’t have a prescription might not really know which one he or she has.

Prescription Drug Addiction Help

Probably the most common result of prescription drug abuse is addiction. People who abuse medications can become addicted just as easily as if they were taking street drugs. The reason many drugs have to be prescribed by a doctor is because some of them are quite addictive. That’s one of the reasons most doctors won’t usually renew a prescription unless they see the patient in order to examine the patient to make sure they aren’t becoming addicted.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a prescription drug addiction, we can help. Please call our toll free number at (877) 571-5722. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions on prescription drug addiction treatment.

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