Prescription drugs are emerging as one of the most abused drugs. The problem is aggravating as the use of prescription drugs is not taken seriously. Since they are prescribed by doctors, patients consider them harmless. If a patient uses a prescription drug in other way than prescribed or in large doses, he or she is described as a prescription drug addict. Some prescription drugs are easily addictive if used in large amount or frequency. Steroids are other drugs, which could lead to addiction. They are prescribed for many medical conditions such as lean muscle mass, cancer, AIDS and other such conditions.

Drugs Being Abused

The most common prescription drugs, which are abused, are as follows-
1. Opioids- They are used for treatment of pain, coughs or diarrhea. They affect brain by attaching to the receptors in central nervous system and prevent brain from receiving pain messages.
2. Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants- They are used for treatment of anxiety, tension, panic attacks, and sleep disorders. They slow down brain activities and produce a calming effect or drowsiness.
3. Stimulants- They are used for treatment of narcolepsy and ADHD. They increase brain activity and elevate alertness, attention, and energy.

Symptoms Of Prescription Drug Addiction

A patient addicted to prescription drugs could be identified by many symptoms. Some of them are as follows-

• They feel an uncontrollable urge to have a particular drug.
• They may experience mood changes and changes in interests.
• Prescription drug addiction also affects weight and there is a visible change in weight of addicts.
• There may be behavioral changes in the addict.
• They develop withdrawal symptoms and get irritated and restless, if they fail to have a particular drug.
• They use prescription drugs more frequently and in large amounts.
• They use drugs prescribed to other.

Causes of Prescription Drug Addiction

Some people take prescription drugs to get relaxed or to have fun. Some take it for weight loss and being fit. If somebody is using any prescription drug then it is easy or him or her and family members to get addicted to these drugs.

Patients think it is safe to take prescription drugs as they are prescribed by doctors but even their overdose could be lethal. They start taking heavy dosage or increase frequency of taking prescription drugs and get addicted.
There is a notion in patients that only prescription drugs could lead to addiction or abuse but addiction is also possible with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, too.

Effects of Medication Abuse

Addiction to certain medications could yield severe side effects. Addicts face trouble at home, school and workplace. They become more prone to accident and are more likely to commit crime to get money for medication abuse.

It could also adversely affect a person’s physical and mental health. Different drugs produce different side effects. Opioid can cause vomiting, mood changes, decreased cognitive function and decreased respiratory function. It could also lead to coma and even death in some patients.

CNS depressants could cause slow heartbeat and shortness of breath and even death in some patients, if taken with other medications including prescription painkillers, over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, or alcohol. Stimulants abuse could lead to heart failure or seizures.

Prevention of Prescription Drug Addiction

By keeping few things into consideration a patient can prevent prescription drug addiction.
• Patients should use any prescription drug as recommended by the doctor.
• They should keep all the appointments with their doctor, so dosages of medicine prescribed may be adjusted as per requirement.
• Patients should list of all the effects of drug being used and consult their doctor about it.
• Patients should stick to the recommended dosages.
• Patients should discuss their medical history with the doctor before being prescribed with any medicine.
• They should never use someone else’s prescription.

Treatment of Prescription Drugs Addiction

Prescription drug addiction could be treated in two ways. They are behavioral therapy and pharmacological treatment. In behavioral therapy patients are taught to go on without drugs, handle craving, to avoid situations that can to drug craving and prevention and relapses. Pharmacological treatment involves medicines to overcome withdrawal symptoms.

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