There has been an epidemic rise in prescription drug abuse in recent years. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that 48 million people aged 12 and older in the U.S. have taken prescription drugs recreationally. This rise in prescription drug abuse and misuse has led to a corresponding rise in ER visits for accidental overdose, as well as increased prescription drug addiction treatment program admissions.
At BlueCrest Recovery, we know how important substance abuse treatment programs are to long-term recovery. Our center in Woodland Park, NJ is run by professionals with years of experience helping people overcome their dependence on drugs. Our prescription drug addiction treatment programs combine evidence-based therapies with a holistic approach, so our clients stay engaged and fulfilled on their way to a healthier, happier future. Call 888.292.9652 today to get help.
Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
The following three classes of prescription drugs are some of the most commonly abused:
- Opioids – Including oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and others.
- Stimulants – Including amphetamine, methylphenidate (such as Ritalin), and dextroamphetamine (such as Adderall).
- Sedatives (central nervous system depressants) – Including benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, Valium), which are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
Abuse of fentanyl, an opioid medication used to treat severe pain, has also seen a dramatic rise in recent years. One of the strongest opiates available today, Fentanyl has a high risk for addiction and dependence.
Signs of Drug Abuse
Drug-seeking behavior is a key warning sign of prescription drug abuse, regardless of drug class. These behaviors can include (but aren’t limited to):
- “Doctor shopping” – Visiting multiple doctors for the same/similar condition in order to get multiple prescriptions
- Regularly requesting replacements for “lost” prescriptions
- Ordering prescription medications online
- Frequently requesting prescription refills
- Stealing or forging prescriptions
- Crushing or breaking pills (which could be a sign that the person is shooting or snorting the pills)
- Consuming prescriptions much faster than indicated
Different Prescriptions Cause Different Symptoms
Here are some additional prescription drug abuse signs to watch for by drug class:
Signs and symptoms of opiate addiction can include:
- Constipation or other digestive problems
- Shortness of breath
Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and may include restlessness, vomiting, severe bone and muscle pains, diarrhea, cold flashes, and, in severe cases, seizures, and cardiac arrest. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates can be serious or life-threatening—get help right away if you or a loved one is experiencing severe symptoms.
Symptoms of stimulant addiction can include:
- Extreme irritability or agitation
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased body temperature (not due to environment or activity)
- Unexplained weight loss
In severe circumstances, symptoms can include seizures and cardiovascular failure.
Symptoms of sedative addiction are often particularly noticeable and can include:
- A drowsy or intoxicated appearance
- Unsteady movements
- Involuntary gestures or tics
- Rapid involuntary eye movement
- Difficulty remembering
Why People Get Addicted to Prescription Drugs
It’s not always clear why some people become addicted while others don’t, but there are many factors likely at play, including family history, environment, trauma, mental illness, and others.
What begins as use for legitimate pain, such as migraine headaches, back pain, or post-surgery pain, can morph into a prescription drug addiction and chemical dependence over time. Some people try prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons and become hooked, while others don’t.
While the reasons for what causes addiction are unclear, one thing isn’t—breaking the cycle of addiction is challenging and even dangerous. Prescription medications are designed to interact with the brain and body to manage pain receptors, calm nerve pathways, and influence how the body reacts. When someone becomes addicted to a drug that changes brain and body chemistry, getting back to normal is difficult. It will take time for the body to readjust to life without prescription drugs. During this period, a person will experience a myriad of symptoms as the body relearns how to function on its own.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse
While the severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on how many pills a person was taking a day, the typical symptoms of prescription drug abuse withdrawal can be seen across most users. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Increased heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Muscle and joint aches
Prescription drug dependency is a serious medical condition that requires treatment by trained specialists. Detoxification from prescription drugs requires medical supervision, as withdrawal symptoms can be serious or even life-threatening.
Comprehensive Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse
If you or a loved one has a chemical dependency on prescription drugs, it’s important not to attempt detox on your own—seek an outpatient drug detox program overseen by medical professionals. BlueCrest Recovery Center can arrange care for you or a loved one in a safe, well-managed detoxification program.
After detox, our comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs are the next step in the recovery process, helping clients understand all aspects of addiction and providing opportunities to participate in individual, group, and family therapy sessions. BlueCrest Recovery offers both non-intensive and intensive addiction treatment programs in New Jersey, administered and overseen by a skilled team of clinicians, licensed drug counselors, psychiatrists, registered nurses, and other professionals.
Get Help Today at BlueCrest Recovery Center
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs, our New Jersey rehab center can help. BlueCrest Recovery Center provides a whole-person approach in our prescription drug addiction treatment program, considering not only a person’s physical needs but also their emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs. Learn more about our approach to treatment, and contact us at 888.292.9652 today for help.