We’re experiencing an epidemic of opioid use in the United States, but there are other medications abused that don’t get a spotlight. Many people are familiar with the problems associated with opioid abuse, but opioids are only one of many commonly abused prescription drugs.
What Is Prescription Abuse?
Whether it is painkillers or any other medication, purposefully using a prescription drug in a way that was not intended is considered prescription abuse. Abusing medications can lead to addiction and other serious health risks.
Prescription medication use is widespread in the U.S. From medications to manage ADHD spectrum disorders to pain pills or sleeping aids, using medications as prescribed is common and part of our culture.
When used correctly, medications can improve the quality and length of a person’s life, but those same medications can create chaos when abused. Some people are unaware of the dangers of misusing their medicine, while others purposefully misuse prescriptions for their mood-altering effects.
Many different kinds of drugs can be misused. Much-needed attention shines on painkiller abuse, especially opiate abuse, but other medications also pose dangers if abused.
Symptoms of Prescription Medication Abuse
The exact symptoms a person may exhibit when they are abusing medicines can vary according to the specific medication. For example, someone struggling with benzo abuse may show signs of confusion, drowsiness, or lack of coordination, while someone abusing a stimulant might be restless, hostile, or aggressive. However, there are some general warning signs that medications are being misused and possibly abused.
The general signs of prescription abuse include:
- Requesting early refills, “losing” their pills, or accusing others of taking them
- Making poor decisions
- Having mood swings
- Taking larger or more frequent doses than prescribed
- Looking for different doctors who will write prescriptions
- Denying that medication is mismanaged
- Worrying about getting refills, making medical appointments, and other activities that affect the distribution of medications
Abusing medications does not necessarily mean the person has become addicted, but without medical intervention of some type, it is likely that addiction will soon follow. Addiction can lead to health problems, legal troubles, damaged relationships, financial loss, and unwanted consequences.
The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
Medication that creates a sense of euphoria and those that stimulate the central nervous system are the most likely medicines to be abused. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include:
- OxyContin (Opioid Abuse) – OxyContin is a brand name for the opioid-based drug known as oxycodone
- Xanax (Benzo Abuse) – Xanax is a brand name for the central nervous system depressant alprazolam
- Ambien (Sedative Abuse) – Ambien is a brand name for the sedative-hypnotic drug zolpidem
- Nembutal (Barbiturate Abuse) – Nembutal is a brand name for the barbiturate pentobarbital sodium
- Adderall (Stimulant Abuse) – Adderall is a brand name for the stimulant amphetamine
Not all prescription medications abused are legally attained. There is an active black market for drugs stolen or obtained with forged prescriptions or other illegal means.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s health, don’t assume things must be alright if their doctor keeps prescribing the drugs.
People struggling with opiate abuse or abusing other medications can find alternative ways to get the medicines they seek.
If you or someone you care about is abusing their prescription medication, reach out for help. If you need medication to manage pain or a mental health disorder, other options may be available.
Northpoint Omaha Can Help with Medication Abuse
At Northpoint Omaha, our prescription drug rehab program is designed specifically to help people who are abusing potentially addictive medications. If you’re concerned about painkiller abuse or any type of substance addiction, call Northpoint Omaha at 402.685.9404 for more information.