The misuse of prescription drugs entails taking medications in a manner that is not prescribed to feel euphoria. The three medication classes commonly misused are:
- Opioids -used to treat pain.
- Central nervous system (CNS) depressants treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
- Stimulants-used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The reasons for drug misuse vary by age, gender, and others. Moreover, possible contributors may be the misinformation about the addictive properties of prescription opioids and the idea that prescribed drugs are less harmful than illegal ones.
Adolescents and Young Adults
Young adults aged 18-25 have reported the highest misuse of prescription drugs. Those who misuse prescription drugs are also more likely to use other drugs.
More than 50% of older patients take more than five medications or supplements daily. It can cause unintentional drug misuse making it more dangerous for older people than youths.
What are classes of prescription drugs commonly misused?
Opioids reduce the intensity of pain-signal perception. Moreover, they have been used to treat pain, cough, and diarrhea. Indeed, some patients experience worsening their pain or increased sensitivity to pain due to treatment with opioids. This phenomenon is called hyperalgesia. Other than relieving pain, opioids cause euphoria that creates room for misuse.
Overdose is another danger with opioids as it interacts with part of the brain stem that controls breathing. As a result of overdose, the user can suffocate. The overdose, however, can be reversed if the compound naloxone is immediately administered. Prescription opioid medications include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and others.
Some effects of opioids include:
- Inhibiting transmission of pain signals
- Mental confusion
- Respiratory depression.
What are CNS depressants?
This category includes tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics that can slow down brain activity. This characteristic makes them helpful in treating anxiety and sleep disorders.
Effects of CNS depressant misuse
CNS depressant addicts may feel sleepy and uncoordinated but as the body becomes used to the effects of the drug and tolerance develops, the side effects disappear.
Continuous use leads to over-reliance and withdrawal when suddenly stopped. The withdrawals can be problematic; hence one should speak with a physician if they wish to discontinue a CNS depressant or suffer from withdrawal.
What are stimulants?
Stimulants increase alertness and energy as well as elevate blood pressure. They are prescribed for the treatment of ADHD, narcolepsy, and more.
What are the Effects of stimulants on the brain and body?
Stimulants may cause an increase in dopamine and a feeling of euphoria.
What are the effects of stimulant misuse?
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- High body temperature
- Irregular heartbeat
How we treat prescription drug addiction
The treatment considers the type of drug used and the users’ needs. For it to succeed, detoxification, counseling, and medication is required. The two primary forms of drug use disorder treatment are behavioral treatments and medications. Behavioral treatment helps patients quit by changing unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior.
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