The majority of people addicted to prescription drugs started to abuse these medications after a legitimate prescription was written for them by their doctor. The prescription may have been written due to chronic pain, auto or sports injury, surgery or to relax strained muscles.
Most individuals don’t begin taking prescription drugs with the idea in mind of becoming an addict. Instead what begins for one reason continues for another. Many individuals take the medication to “feel better” physically, hoping to gain some relief from their pain. Another effect of the medication is that it provides a pleasurable feeling. In an attempt to reduce the pain even further and enhance the feeling of pleasure, individuals begin to take more medication. A tolerance to the drug is gradually developed, so now more and more medication is required to produce the initial effect. Soon, the pleasurable feeling cannot be achieved; some of the physical pain is still present; and an addiction to the prescription drug now also exists.
Prescription drugs commonly abused include, but are not limited to:
All of these prescription drugs are both physically and emotionally addictive.
Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction
As stated above, prescription drug use may start out as taking appropriate medication for a legitimate medical problem. Another group of individuals may also begin to take prescription medication to deal with emotional problems. The main thing these medications do for emotional problems are to “mask” or “numb” the upset feelings. Although a person may not experience the depression or they may be temporarily able to stop obsessing about a certain problem, in most cases, the problem is just exasperated by not learning how to effectively cope with the particular feelings and issues. There are also addicts who are seeking a “high” who may be also addicted to other drugs and/or alcohol, who then begin abusing prescription medication along with their drug of choice due to its availability at pain clinics on the internet. Many people have been found to mix alcohol with prescription medications to accentuate the feeling of euphoria. This mixture is often referred to as a “cocktail.” The potential to overdose in this situation is quite high.
Consequences of Prescription Drug Abuse
Most prescription drugs are physically addictive. To abruptly discontinue prescription medications could create a situation where an individual could immediately experience seizures or convulsions. It is for this reason that detox and withdrawal from prescription medications should be attempted gradually and under medical supervision. This is best accomplished in a residential treatment program where an addict can be titrated down slowly and safely off of prescription drugs and medically monitored along the way. The discomfort associated with withdrawal from these medications is contingent upon the dose that an individual was taking and the length of time they had been taking it.
In addition to the Percocet addiction created by abusing prescription drugs, addicts commonly experience negative effects on their personal relationships, employment difficulties and job loss, financial difficulties, legal problems, or psychological difficulties.
Treatment of Prescription Drug Abuse
Due to the physical dependence created by prescription drug abuse and the physical danger in detoxing without medical assistance, addiction treatment should begin in a residential treatment facility or inpatient hospital. The initial phase of treatment is a Pennsylvania detox center. Under medical supervision, the withdrawal symptoms associated can be managed, reduced and sometimes eliminated.
By the time most people enter a Pennsylvania treatment center for prescription drug addiction, they have created quite a bit of emotional damage to themselves and loved ones. It takes time to recover from shame, grief, guilt, and rebuild a level of trust. Residential treatment in a supportive therapeutic environment eliminates many of the outside distractions and allows a person to focus on issues relating to their recovery. The length of stay is usually 30 days and may be followed by outpatient therapy.