Drug Detox

Prescription Drug Abuse Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

The use and abuse of prescription drugs has become a nation-wide epidemic. Children of younger and younger ages are making their way into grandma’s medicine cabinet and helping themselves to her supply. They pay no mind to the consequences because of the false perceptions that come along with prescription drugs. The abuse of prescription drugs is just as lethal as the abuse of hard-core street drugs. In 2014, 43% of drug overdoses reported in ERs were caused by prescription drugs. An estimated 2 million people suffer from prescription drug addiction.

Types of Prescriptions Commonly Abused

The most commonly abused prescription drugs are the following:

  • narcotic painkillers (Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Roxycontin, Codeine, Fentanyl, Percocet, Vicodin, Diluadid)
  • anti-anxiety medications (Xanax, Valium, Librium, Klonipan, Ativan)
  • ADHD medications (Ritalin, Vyvanz, Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine)

Keep these, and all medications, out of the reach of children. If narcotics are prescribed, they should be kept in a safe and secure place, where no one other then the person prescribed the medication can find the pills.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse


The symptoms that manifest from prescription drug abuse depend on the medication being abused. In people that are misusing opiates, look for drowsiness, nausea, constipation, depression, low blood pressure, confusion, and decreased heart rate. For abusers of stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, the symptoms that may appear are weight loss, increased energy, increased anxiety, jitteriness, irritability, agitation, insomnia, high blood pressure, and irregular heart rate. If sedative abuse is suspected, watch out for fatigue, drowsiness, confusion, unsteadiness, poor judgment, and irregular eye movements. Some signs of drug abuse other then the physical side effects can be recurrent theft, manipulative tendencies, dishonesty, mood irregularities, poor judgment, and doctor shopping (go to more than one doctor in order to rack up numerous prescriptions).

Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse

If you suspect that someone you know and love is abusing prescription medications, seek treatment immediately. Often an interventionist, a therapist, or a psychiatrist is a good person to consult because often the person being confronted will deny that there is a problem, or get very angry. Let them know that your intentions are good, and that when they are ready, help is available. Speak to a doctor to see what level of treatment might be necessary for the person struggling. Individual counseling, outpatient treatment, detoxification, and inpatient rehabilitation are all great options for the addict. The earlier the intervention happens, the greater likelihood of recovery, but whatever stage the disease is at, help is possible. Call a 12-step intergroup and find a local support meeting to start off. These meetings can be great hubs of hope and recovery to show the addict that sobriety is possible. Stay diligent.

Drug Detox

Coping with Prescription Drug Abuse: Treatment Options

Prescription drugs are commonly prescribed by health care professionals to treat a variety of ailments. Of the three classes of prescription drugs most often abused, opioid-based painkillers rank first on the list. As the number of opiate drug prescriptions rises, so too does the number of people seeking treatment for prescription drug addiction and the DEA and FDA are concerned that individuals are obtaining medication solely to feed their addiction. Opioids are generally prescribed to treat mild to severe pain, however, when you develop a dependence upon the drug and must supplement your prescription to achieve the original pain-relieving effects, overdose, coma and death can occur.

Coping With Prescription Drug Abuse: Get Help!

A medical detox or medically supervised treatment program is necessary for people who suffer from a prescription drug addiction and are ready to break that addiction and begin a drug-free life. Medication can lessen the effects of detox and, in some cases, shorten the length of detox.

There are different kinds of medical detox and treatment available. One popular choice is methadone, a synthetic opioid that replaces the prescription drug being abused. This medicine has been used in addiction and withdrawal treatment for 30 years, but the strict regulations surrounding the drug means that it is only available for patients who are able to receive their medication daily in a clinic. This means showing up every morning before work, standing in line, and requesting take-homes whenever you have a business trip or vacation planned-and possibly getting turned down.

LAAM is similar to methadone, and Naltrexone is used after a successful detox to promote sustained abstinence from opiate use. Naltrexone is combined with buprenorphine in the prescription drug Suboxone. Suboxone can be prescribed by a doctor, which allows you to treat your prescription drug addiction at home without going to a prescription drug rehab.

Prescription drug addiction treatment programs are available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. As an inpatient, you will live in a facility until your treatment is done, which usually lasts between 30 days and six months. An outpatient program is usually a better fit for those who have obligations to their career or family and asks you to attend daily but allows you to return home each night.

How To Know if You Need Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse

Not everyone is objective enough to realize when they are suffering from prescription drug addiction and are in need of treatment. One common action employed by abusers of prescription drugs is to go to several doctors in order to ensure an adequate supply. Another sign of addiction is the amount of money you spend to maintain your habit, the bills and other expenses you forego to continue to pay for your prescription refills and what you are willing to give up to make sure that you are never without your drug of choice. Relationships that were important to you before addiction become less important. You are suspicious of and defensive when people ask you about your prescription. Learn more about, “What is Drug Rehab” and get comfortable with the idea of getting help.

If you or someone you love is struggling with prescription drug abuse, don’t wait to get the help you need. It can be as private and inexpensive as you need it to be. Choose inpatient drug rehab, outpatient treatment or medical detox and get the help you need to win your fight with prescription drug abuse and addiction today. Some people prefer a holistic detox option, which can work for mild addiction, but for most addicts a traditional, medical detox followed by rehab is the most successful path to recovery.