With an estimated 18 million people misusing prescription drugs, it’s important to gain a better understanding of the potential long-term consequences. Prescription drug addiction is on the rise. The more information that is available about this kind of drug use, the better informed the public can be. And, the more they know, the more likely people will be to reach out for help from places like San Antonio Recovery Center. Discover the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse and how you can recover from addiction today.
What Is the Scope of Prescription Drug Abuse?
The most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids, benzodiazepines, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants. For example, these drugs top the list:
- Oxycodone – Opioid used for pain relief
- Hydrocodone – Opioid used for pain relief
- Oxymorphone- Opioid used for pain relief
- Ambien – Sleep aid that inhibits the central nervous system
- Ativan – Benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety
- Librium- Benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety
- Adderall – Amphetamine stimulants used for ADHD
- Ritalin- Amphetamine stimulants used for ADHD
This is just a small sample of drugs that can lead to an addiction. But addiction is only one potential side effect of this kind of abuse.
The Risk of Addiction
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease, so it ranks up there as one of the most consequential effects of prescription drug use. Using certain prescription medications changes the way the reward system in the brain functions. This system encourages you to do things that feel good, like exercising or having sex.
If you abuse drugs, the brain releases chemicals like dopamine, so you feel good and want to do them again. Unfortunately, many medications affect the release of dopamine or how it works. The brain starts to think the only way to give you that sense of euphoria is through drugs, and it becomes dependent on them to work properly.
Prescription drug addiction can also serve as a gateway to street drugs like heroin. Someone who can no longer get oxycodone, for example, might buy street heroin to avoid withdrawal.
The Health Consequences of Prescription Drug Abuse
Long-term drug use can increase your risk of developing life-threatening illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Studies show that stimulant drugs like amphetamines can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
Prescription drug use may also put you at risk for transmitted infections like hepatitis B and C or HIV. If you are taking drugs intravenously, sharing or reusing needles can increase your risk of infection.
Long-term misuse of prescription drugs can have serious mental health effects including depression, anxiety, and psychotic behavior. Taking high doses of some medications for extended periods of time may cause memory problems, difficulty concentrating and other cognitive issues.
Finally, prescription drug abuse can lead to drug dependence and addiction. Substance use disorder increases your risk of overdose, accidents, and other health risks associated with drug misuse.
The Mental Health Consequences
Prescription drug addiction can have a profound impact on mental health, potentially leading to depression and other psychological challenges. Additionally, the use of stimulant drugs can contribute to the development of anxiety issues, further complicating one’s mental well-being.
It is not uncommon for mental health problems and substance abuse to coexist, as they often influence and exacerbate each other. For instance, underlying mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can be worsened by drug use, intensifying the symptoms and making it even more challenging to seek the necessary help.
In some cases, individuals may turn to prescription drugs as a means to alleviate or mask their mental health symptoms, inadvertently hindering their ability to receive the appropriate assistance and support they truly need. It is crucial to recognize the intricate relationship between mental health and substance use and to prioritize comprehensive care that addresses both aspects of well-being.
The Impact on Your Loved Ones
Prescription drug abuse not only has a profound impact on individuals who are using, but it also extends to their family and friends. Witnessing someone you deeply care about grappling with addiction can be an incredibly painful experience, evoking feelings of helplessness and guilt.
It’s crucial to remind yourself that you are not accountable for someone else’s problem. Nonetheless, you can still play a significant role as a source of unwavering support for them during their journey toward recovery and healing. By offering understanding, encouragement, and resources, you can help them navigate the challenges they face and remind them that they are not alone in their battle.
Contact San Antonio Recovery Center Today
San Antonio Recovery Center treats all kinds of addictions, including ones associated with prescription drug use. In our addiction treatment center, we offer:
- Affordable treatment programs
- Therapy for all kinds of addictions, including heroin and alcohol
- 90-day treatment
- Accurate diagnosis
- Advanced treatment modalities
- A supportive and therapeutic environment
- Family involvement
- Residential treatment
We know that the best approach to prescription drug addiction treatment is to provide individual care plans designed to fit each person. Recovery from addiction requires a full spectrum of care that focuses on physical, mental, and spiritual health. It’s not enough to focus just on mental health or physical addiction. In fact, the right care plan takes a holistic approach.
Get the Help You Need
Do you or someone you love suffering the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse? If so, we want to help you find recovery. Give San Antonio Recovery Center a call at 866.957.7885 or reach out online to find out more about our services.