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Prescription Drug Abuse in New London (860) 207-8356

Prescription drug abuse is rampant in the U.S., with 15 million people actively abusing prescription medications in any given year. A full 20 percent of the population has used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.

The Federal government classifies commonly abused prescription medications as Schedule II drugs, which are slightly less dangerous than Schedule I drugs like heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, but still have a high potential for abuse. Schedule II prescription drugs include methadone, Dilaudid, OxyContin, Fentanyl, and Adderall.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse occurs when these medications are used for purposes other than those for which they were prescribed. A clear sign that prescription medications are being abused is when a person has to continually increase the dosage to get the same effects.

Prescription drug abuse can have far-reaching and long-term effects on health, family life, school, and work. Some of these consequences include:

  • Developing a physical and psychological dependence on the drug
  • Legal troubles including incarceration
  • Financial difficulties
  • Family problems
  • Organ damage and other long-term health effects
  • Coma or death associated with overdose

Types of Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs that are commonly abused typically fall into three categories:

  • Opiates are related to morphine and are used as painkillers. They bind to receptors in the brain and spinal cord and block the transmission of sensations of pain. Commonly abused opiates include hydromorphone (Dilauded,) buprenorphine (Suboxone,) hydrocodone (Vicodin,) and oxycodone (OxyContin.) Those who abuse opiates may experience constipation, depression, low blood pressure, decreased breathing rate, sweating, poor coordination, and confusion.
  • Sedatives are used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and insomnia. They work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA,) which slows down nerve transmission. Benzodiazepine prescriptions have largely replaced those for barbiturates and include alprazolam (Xanax,) lorazepam (Ativan,) diazepam (Valium,) and clonazepam (Klonopin.) While non-benzodiazepine sleeping aids like Ambien and Lunesta don’t have the same high potential for addiction, these are also commonly abused.  Those who abuse sedatives may appear drowsy, confused, or dizzy, and they may experience involuntary rapid eye movements, unsteady walking, and make poor decisions.
  • Stimulants are used to treat narcolepsy, ADHD, and in some cases, obesity. They work by increasing the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain to improve attention and alertness and increase energy levels. Those who abuse stimulants may experience weight loss, agitation, irritability, insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and restlessness and may display impulsive behaviors.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Medication Abuse

General signs of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Stealing or forging prescriptions
  • Getting prescriptions from more than one doctor
  • “Losing” prescriptions to get a replacement
  • Taking higher doses to get the same effect
  • Increased or decreased sleep
  • Poor decision making
  • Appearing high, either very alert and excitable or sedated

Getting Help for Prescription Medication Abuse

Prescription drug abuse can lead to serious long-term health effects. Opiates can cause brain and heart damage, as well as major depression and reduced cognitive function. Stimulants can cause severe anxiety, hostility, and psychosis, as well as malnutrition due to extreme weight loss. Sedatives can cause chronic paranoia, memory problems, and low blood pressure.

The sooner help is sought, the more likely the user will be able to avoid becoming the large number of problems caused by dependence. Treatment is available at New London Drug Rehab Centers. The first step in treatment is the detox process, during which traces of the drug are flushed from the body. Medical detox is performed under the supervision of medical personnel and involves administering drugs to help alleviate intense cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe.

Individual, group and family therapy will follow the completion of detox. Through these sessions, patients will learn to identify and address their addiction triggers and learn how to manage temptation and avoid relapse. Through holistic treatment methods, patients learn to adopt new, healthier behaviors and lifestyles.

Call Drug Rehab Treatment Centers New London at (860) 207-8356 to find out more about our drug treatment programs and how we can help you.


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