When we think of drug abuse, the first thing to come to mind is not usually the medications our doctor gives us. We think of illicit drugs like cocaine or heroin, or substances like alcohol. The truth is though, prescription drug abuse is one of the biggest problems facing America today. More and more people are becoming addicted to the very medications that their doctors prescribe them. The question is, why is this happening, and how do we prevent it? This is a complicated matter, but there are things you can do.
At Multi Concept Recovery, we understand the nature of addiction and how easy it is for anyone to develop this disease, no matter your race, religion, sex, or other status. But at MCR, we believe that all paths lead to recovery, and we want to give our clients and their families all the tools they need to succeed. That starts with education. Today we are going to discuss the abuse of prescription drugs, why it happens so often, and how to prevent medication misuse and pharmaceutical drug abuse.
Why Are Prescription Drugs So Addictive?
There are many reasons why people become addicted to prescriptions, but the cause for this addiction is twofold. Two things happen when a person takes any kind of drug for some time: chemical dependence and physical dependence.
Physical dependence occurs when a person continues to take drugs beyond the scope of what is recommended because they like the way that it makes them feel, and they want to feel that again. This makes prescription drugs so dangerous because people on them genuinely need the medication, but controlling how much they use can be difficult. Once they start to take pleasure in using the medication, that is when it is a sign of serious addiction.
The second thing that happens that makes a person addicted is that over time the chemistry of their brain changes to where it needs the drug they are taking. In the case of certain drugs like opioids, the medication alters the reward center of the brain and causes the person to crave opioids over anything else. Without enough of the drug, the body and brain suffer, and this causes the phenomenon known as withdrawal and the symptoms that go along with it. For a person to become fully addicted, it typically takes a combination of both chemical dependence and physical dependence.
How to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse
When you’re trying to prevent your loved one from abusing prescription drugs, the key thing is to keep an eye on them, their behavior, and how or what they are using.
The first thing to consider is if you notice any changes in the amount of medicine they are taking. If your loved one is taking more than they should and they haven’t seen a doctor to up their dosage, this is a sign of abuse, and you should get them back to their desired dosage or see a doctor if symptoms or situations have changed.
Another sign to look out for is if you notice them changing the way they take the medication. Many people who become addicted like to start injecting or smoking drugs to increase how quickly the drug takes effect. This is much harder to do if they are being monitored. Secretive behavior is part of being addicted also, so if you notice changing habits, that may mean they are trying to hide how much medication they are actually using.
In general, keep tabs on what medications your loved one is on, how much they should be taking, and how much they have left. This will tell you if they are taking too much, selling some of their medication to others, or misusing the medication in some way. You can’t catch every potential addict behavior, but with enough vigilance, it is possible to keep them from becoming completely addicted.
Multi Concept Recovery is Here to Help With Addiction Treatment
If all else fails and your loved one winds up addicted to prescription medication, then the time has come to get them into treatment. Multi Concept Recovery is here with the personalized care your loved one needs to get clean of their prescription addiction.
We will focus on helping them get clean, starting with detox and moving on to a treatment plan that is tailored just for them. We know that no two solutions are the same and that everyone’s addiction is different, so we work to find a unique approach to addiction that helps the individual overcome the drug use and find the root that caused the addiction in the first place. Call or come see us today to get help with your loved one’s addiction.