Prescription drug

Prescription drug addiction is responsible in a big way for fueling the opioid epidemic in America. Due to the ready availability of prescription drugs and the common misconception that they can never harm, many patients and their family members get addicted without realizing the dangers. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016, an estimated 389,000 adolescents (aged 12 to 17) or about one in 60 adolescents (1.6 percent) abused psychotherapeutic drugs in the past month.

Although prescribed by doctors and provided by pharmacists to treat a physical ailment or chronic pain, prescription medicines can be just as powerful and potentially dangerous as street drugs. When teens begin to use their medication without a medical need, or beyond the amount prescribed by their doctor, it can have serious physical and mental repercussions. Many teens offer their medication to friends or steal it from the family medicine cabinet, resulting in an accidental overdose and death.

Owing to the addictive nature of the drugs and the associated withdrawal symptoms, addiction to prescription drugs requires professional treatment, including prescription drug detox treatment at certified prescription drug detox centers along with psychotherapies at certified rehab facilities. A leader in providing top-notch treatment for mental health and substance abuse, Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego provides effective prescription drug rehab for adolescents aged 12-17 years. A medically supervised detox program helps the body get rid of the toxins which further prepares the patient for customized, evidence-based treatment modalities, such as cognitive remediation, neurofeedback, and experiential therapies.

Signs of prescription drug addiction

Prescription medications are relatively safe when used under the strict guidance of the health practitioner. But their prolonged use and excessive dose can cause various side effects. Given below are some of the signs of painkiller abuse:

  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Increased pain
  • Nausea
  • Poor coordination
  • Slowed breathing rate

Here are some of the signs of misuse of anti-anxiety medication and sedatives:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Equilibrium/balance issues when walking
  • Poor concentration
  • Problems with memory
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slurred speech

Here are some signs of stimulant abuse:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Reduced appetite
  • High body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Paranoia

Red flags

Drugs prescribed by doctors must be utilized for their targeted use and taken as per the doctor’s recommendations. Often thought to be safe, dangers of prescription pills are usually ignored due to the more commonly talked about dangers of alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco. A silent epidemic, prescription drug abuse is causing young people to experience life-threatening consequences.

Families and friends can look for the following red flags or warning signs to determine if their loved one is into prescription drug abuse:

  • State of being on a high or sedated
  • Habit of losing prescriptions to obtain more
  • Doctor shopping i.e., getting multiple prescriptions for the same drug from different doctors
  • Extreme mood swings or hostility
  • Poor decision-making ability
  • Sleep fluctuations
  • Stealing, selling or forging prescriptions
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed

Effects on brain

Opioids bind themselves to opioid receptors muting messages of pain along the neurotransmitters. Prescription painkillers also repress decision-making faculties and the areas of the brain regulating emotions. An overdose can lead to respiratory depression, resulting in instant death. Regular use of opioids makes the user develop tolerance to the drug, forcing him/her to acquire more drug to achieve the same desired effects. With higher doses, the tolerance soon develops into physical dependence and addiction.

For those seeking solution to short-term sleep disruptions, sleeping pills could offer some relief. They boost the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter that lowers transmission of anxious and fearful feelings; in fact, most brain communications. Though sleeping pills and sedatives may bring a sense of calm, they often impair coordination, critical thinking, memory, muscle tone and reflexes.

Often prescribed to speed up the body’s systems, increase alertness, physical activity or energy, the mood-elevating effects of stimulants often make them potent drugs of abuse. Inside the brain, stimulants nudge neurons to release dopamine (the ‘feel good’ chemical) and norepinephrine neurotransmitters (a chemical that enhances focus and attention).

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Getting help

Drug abuse begins when the prescription bed medications are taken for recreational activities or used in ways other than prescribed. It’s imperative to get the treatment in time before the problem spirals out of control.

A comprehensive prescription drug addiction treatment program combines medically supervised detoxification treatment with counseling and therapies. While a detox helps the body get rid of toxic substances and manage the withdrawal symptoms, therapies help uncover any medical or mental condition responsible for substance abuse. They are also beneficial in teaching patients useful life skills so that they can lead a drug-free life post the treatment completion.

Why choose Sovereign Health

What sets Sovereign Health apart from other treatment facilities is our dedication to creating a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs. Our experienced and trained staff conducts a biopsychosocial assessment that provides our clinicians with a full mental and physical health x-ray of the patient and a blueprint for the individualized treatment plan.

A treatment that fails to address co-occurring disorders leaves a patient – especially a teen –vulnerable to a relapse. Co-occurring disorders is the co-existence of a mental illness and substance use disorder. Providing our young patients with the right balance of treatment, education and support, our team of trained clinicians and psychiatrists draw from wide-ranging evidence-based and alternative therapies including the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Process group therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Substance abuse education groups
  • Brain wellness
  • Art, equine, music and yoga therapies

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego is a clinical forerunner licensed to treat adolescent mental health issues and its manifestations — substance abuse, eating disorders and dual diagnosis conditions.

We are accredited by the Joint Commission and offer our commitment to give adolescents the best treatment for long-lasting recovery. For more information on our holistic addiction treatment programs or to locate our reputed treatment centers near you, call our 24/7 helpline number. You can even chat online with a representative for further assistance.

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