Prescription drugs have been a huge aid for us humans over the decades, and we have come to a point where our society wouldn’t know what to do if one day all of the prescription drugs in the world just mysteriously disappeared. Literally millions of people would die or suffer within days or even hours without their prescription drug maintenance. Pharmaceutical medicines are definitely a human invention that we all need to be grateful for. But just like with a lot of other things – alcohol, videogames, skateboarding, ice cream, dancing, Facebook-ing, etc. – people get addicted to medicines, and it is usually the prescription meds that have the most rampant and alarming addiction rate. But who usually gets addicted to prescription drugs? And why do these particular groups of people have a higher tendency to get addicted?
People who got injured and had surgery: The logic is simple – someone has an injury and goes through surgery, he then gets a prescription. The person then takes the prescribed drug and soon finds soothing non-medical use for the drug, like relaxation, numbness and “being high”. The person immediately develops a strong liking of the drug and decides he wants to keep going, long after his doctor tells him to stop.
People who have already abused another substance: Addiction to another substance like alcohol or cocaine, or even nicotine, puts a person at a higher risk of prescription drug addiction. This is mostly because they have associated taking in a substance to feeling good in some ways. It’s like the thinking that since they’ve known for so long that alcohol gives them a nice buzz, a prescription drug can do the same.
People who have gone through childhood trauma: There is also a high rate of prescription drug addiction among adults who experienced traumatizing events when they were young. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, losing a parent, a sibling or a close friend; all this can put someone at a higher risk to become addicted to the meds.
People who have mental illnesses: Anxiety and depression alone are not fun at all. And anyone who suffers from any other mental illness would want to feel less alone, less sad, less scared, less paranoid. These people are most likely to get hooked to painkillers even when they do not feel physical pain, all because they have felt the soothing effects of painkillers not only on the physical aspect, but on the mental and emotional aspects.
People who belong to the “young” age bracket: Experts say that more than 8.5 million Americans are addicted to prescription drugs, and the majority of that number started at a young age. 8% of high school seniors admitted to using the painkiller hydrocodone for non-medical reasons in year 2014.
There is a growing use of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes worldwide, and this is where the addiction starts. You may know someone who is addicted, or you may even consider yourself addicted. The first step is always awareness. Awareness of the consequences, awareness of your actions. Then just ask for help…it’s never too late to change!