Over the course of the past several decades, prescription drug abuse and addiction have become major health-related concerns throughout the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that over the course of the past 15 years, increasing rates of prescription drug abuse have been directly reflected in treatment center admissions, emergency room visits and overdose-related deaths. In 2016, rates of prescription drug-related overdose deaths had increased by five times what they were in 1999. The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a separate study that explores the most commonly abused prescription medications.
There are three main types of prescription medication with a propensity for abuse. These include:
- Prescription opioids: Prescription painkiller abuse and addiction have become major issues in recent years. Some of the most commonly abused prescription painkillers include methadone, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone and propoxyphene. These medications are most commonly prescribed for the treatment of moderate or severe pain-related issues.
- Prescription stimulants: There are two main types of prescription stimulant – amphetamines and methylphenidate. Commonly abused prescription amphetamines include Adderall, dexedrine and biphetamine. Commonly abused methylphenidate prescription drugs include ritalin and concerta. Prescription stimulants are most commonly used in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
- Prescription depressants or tranquilizers: Prescription depressants are broken up into three main categories – barbiturates, sleep medications and benzodiazepines. Commonly abused barbiturates include Amytal, Nembutal and Phenobarbital. Commonly abused sleep medications include Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata, and finally, commonly abused benzodiazepines include Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Librium and Klonopin. Prescription depressants can be used in the treatment of numerous health and mental health-related disorders, including anxiety disorders, sleep-related issues and symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.
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Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction
When it comes to prescription drug abuse and addiction, the underlying causes and the signs and symptoms always vary depending on the individual and the type of prescription medication that is being abused. However, the following physical symptoms are common amongst those who are actively abusing one of the following prescription medications.
- Symptoms of prescription opioid abuse include: nausea, vomiting and chronic constipation, fatigue and drowsiness, respiratory depression, slowed heart rate, compromised coordination and motor functions, the building of a physical tolerance.
- Symptoms of prescription stimulant abuse include: increased alertness, rapid heart beat, high blood pressure, a loss of appetite which often leads to weight loss, increased body temperature, insomnia and other sleep-related issues, agitation and irritability, anxiety and panic attacks, paranoia.
- Symptoms of prescription depressant abuse include: drowsiness, dizziness, issues with memory and persistent confusion, unsteadiness when walking, slurred speech, respiratory depression.
In many cases, those that have been abusing prescription medications of any kind will do what they can to obtain more as soon as their prescription runs out. This might look like “doctor shopping,” or visiting more than one doctor in a short period of time attempting to get more than one prescription written at a time. The individual might also raid the medicine cabinets of family members and friends in search of his or her chosen medication.
Prescription Drug Withdrawal
The symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal vary depending on what type of prescription drug was being abused – an opioid narcotic, stimulant or depressant/tranquilizer. The most common symptoms of withdrawal – pertaining to each individual type of prescription medication – are as follows.
- Symptoms of opioid withdrawal: most individuals report the symptoms of opioid withdrawal resembling the symptoms of a bad flu; runny nose, watery eyes, persistent headache, stomach cramping, night sweats and an inability to sleep. Opioid withdrawal is typically treated with Medication Assisted Treatment. At Pine Tree Recovery Center, we stay up-to-date on the most innovative opioid withdrawal medications. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that in 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a medication exclusively geared at reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms. This medication is called lofexidine, and it is one of the medications our prescribing physicians most commonly administer to men and women who are actively withdrawing from prescription opioids.
- Symptoms of stimulant withdrawal: the most common symptoms of prescription stimulant withdrawal include nausea and vomiting, stomach cramping, insomnia, significant changes in mood, marked by depression irritability or anxiousness. When it comes to stimulant withdrawal, tapering is the most effective method associated with a pain-free detox experience.
- Symptoms of depressant/tranquilizer withdrawal: the symptoms of prescription depressant withdrawal are far more physically dangerous than the symptoms of opioid or stimulant withdrawal. They often include anxiety and depression, severe aches and pains, restlessness and irritability, muscle spasms, panic attacks, hyperventilation, nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations, abnormal bodily sensations and feelings of unreality and disillusionment, delirium, hallucinations and in extreme cases, grand mal seizures.
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Why is Medical Detox Necessary?
Medical detox is always a necessary first step on the road to recovery regardless of which type of prescription medication was being actively abused. Symptoms of withdrawal will vary depending on the type of medication, but they are always harshly physically and mentally uncomfortable if not constantly overseen and effectively treated by a team of medical professionals and other addiction specialists.
Depending on what type of prescription drug was being used, detox methods will vary. For example, an individual who was actively abusing Xanax requires an entirely different set of medical detox methods than an individual who was abusing Adderall. Prescription opioid withdrawal and prescription stimulant withdrawal are typically not life threatening – however uncomfortable. Prescription benzodiazepine withdrawal, on the other hand, can be life-threatening if not symptoms are treated as they occur. When it comes to opioids and stimulants, our team of medical professionals might taper the individual off of his or her drug of choice while administering non-narcotic pain medications and utilizing proven therapeutic and holistic detox methods. In the case of benzodiazepine withdrawal, we typically utilize a combination of tapering and Medication Assisted Treatment. Upon admission to our program of recovery, each individual will undergo an in-depth clinical evaluation which helps us determine which combination of detox methods are going to be the most beneficial for his or her unique case.
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Our Admissions Process
At Pine Tree Recovery Center our admissions process was specifically designed to be simple, stress-free and easily understood. We understand how devastating prescription drug addiction is for our clients and for their loved ones, and we know that dealing with the finer details of drug addiction treatment can seem overwhelming. The good news is, our team of experienced and compassionate treatment advisors is available to smooth out these details for you while ensuring that the individual who is in need of treatment receives an unmatched level of clinical care as quickly as possible. One of the most overwhelming parts of the admissions process is figuring out how to cover addiction treatment. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we accept most major insurance providers, meaning that your treatment experience is likely fully or partially covered by your insurance if you are currently insured. If you are unsure as to just how much prescription drug detox is covered, give us a call today 24/7 at (888) 693-1751 or submit this online form click here for a free, no obligation insurance benefit check. Once the financial portion of the admissions process is taken care of, we help you develop viable and stress-free travel plans and set up a date and time for your intake.
To learn more about our comprehensive and highly individualized program of pain-free prescription drug detox, reach out to us today. We look forward to hearing from you and getting you started on your personal journey of prescription drug addiction recovery today.