An unfortunate, common misconception about prescription medications is that they’re safer than illicit drugs. And taken under the close supervision of a prescribing physician, that can be true. But it’s not only possible to become addicted to certain prescription drugs, it’s common. It can also be a life-threatening situation.
Many prescription drugs are no less addictive than their street counterparts. And once an addiction takes over, gaining a prescription from a doctor isn’t mandatory; not when there are medicine cabinets and dealers who have the same or similar things on hand.
Prescription Drug Addiction Can Creep Up on You
An addiction doesn’t necessarily begin with the abuse of prescription drugs. Sometimes it evolves from a legal prescription for a valid health condition. But as with street drugs, the more you take, the more you may want or need to gain the same effects. And then the use can spiral out of control.
In the article, “Prescription Drug Abuse: Who Gets Addicted?” at WebMD, a subject named “Jason” explained how his perfectly legal prescription for migraine medication turned into an addiction nightmare.
Jason enjoyed the “euphoric numbness” that he experienced from his medication, and so he took it even when he didn’t need it. Eventually, he took as many as 45 prescription hydrocodone painkillers a day, and also branched out into tranquilizers. It wasn’t until he stole his dying mother’s painkillers that he understood the consequence of his addiction and sought the treatment that helped him recover.
Sharing Prescription Drugs is Also Dangerous
Adderall and Ritalin, which are stimulants used to treat ADHD, are two of the most common addicting prescription drugs used by young people. High school and college-age students sometimes share them with each other or get them from someone else in the family in an effort to get a “mental performance” edge.
In 2013, a National Institute of Health survey of 12th graders revealed that 2.3 percent of them had used Ritalin without a prescription, and 7.4 percent had used Adderall. That makes ADHD medication the No.1 abused prescription medication among high school seniors. Only marijuana ranks higher overall.
Every person who takes prescription medication should be under a doctor’s care. The risk of addiction is too high to take the chance of becoming addicted, especially considering that some people become addicted more easily than others. But more than that, the dosage might not be the same from one person to the next. Accidental overdose is yet another risk on top of the risk of addiction.
Quitting Isn’t That Easy
For a person who isn’t addicted, it might seem too simple. Just stop. But it’s not that simple. As dangerous as an addiction is, sometimes withdrawal can be perilous, too.
Opioids such as morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone, are particularly addicting. Benzodiazepines or “Benzos,” such as Valium and Xanax, are too. And the withdrawals from any of these can be so severe that stopping cold turkey can cause tremors, hallucinations, seizures, bone pain, nausea and vomiting, and many other serious symptoms.
Unfortunately, by the time you realize that you’re in too deep, you’re also at risk if you stop on your own. That’s why there’s a critical need for the caring environment and guidance of drug rehab centers and the treatment professionals who work there. For many, that’s the only way to really, safely succeed.
A prescription label doesn’t make any medication safe, especially if you’re not under a doctor’s care. Some prescriptions are as addicting as any illicit drug. And buying drugs on the street isn’t only one way to abuse drugs. Sometimes, they’re available in your bathroom medicine cabinet.
Cornerstone Recovery Center Provides Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse
Addictions aren’t something that anybody ever plans for. If you or someone you love is suffering, Cornerstone Recovery Center is here to help. We provide the safe, healing environment and supportive, professional team that can make all the difference in the world for recovery. Give us a call today at 1-888-711-0354, or contact us online. All communication is confidential.