Prescription drugs are medications that a healthcare professional prescribes to treat a mental or physical ailment. Taking these drugs turns into prescription drug abuse when you start using them in a manner not prescribed by your healthcare professionals. Some prescription drugs, such as opioids and sedatives, can be as addictive as street drugs and have severe consequences. Here we give you an outline of some common prescription drugs and the dangers of abusing them.
Opioid PainkillersOpioids are commonly used to treat pain in the body. They can be prescribed to treat short-term and chronic pain. Medicines like Oxycontin and Percocet containing oxycodone, and Norco containing hydrocodone, are opioids.
- Symptoms of opioid abuse include constipation, nausea, drug-induced euphoria, confusion, and increased sensitivity to pain with increased usage. Behavioral changes include lying and stealing, taking drugs without prescription, and mood swings.
- Side effects of using opioids include low blood pressure, slowed breathing rate, and risk of coma. Overdose can lead to death as well.
Anti-anxiety medications and sedativesThese drugs treat anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health problems. They include medicines like Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. Abuse of these drugs can lead to short-term and long-term issues.
- Symptoms of anti-anxiety medications and sedative abuse include confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, poor concentration, and slurred speech.
- Side effects of anti-anxiety medications and sedatives include memory loss issues, low blood pressure, and slowed breathing. Overdose can lead to seizures, coma, and death.
StimulantsStimulants often treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain sleep disorders. Common stimulants prescribed for such conditions are methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, and amphetamine.
- Symptoms of abusing stimulants include raised temperature, increased blood pressure, hypersensitivity to light and sound, alertness, insomnia, anxiety, paranoia, and reduced appetite.
- Side effects of abusing stimulants include dangerously high temperatures, heart problems, hypertension, seizures, tremors, hallucinations, aggression, and paranoia.
Reasons for prescription drug abusePeople start abusing prescription drugs for various reasons. Some of the most common ones include:
- To get high or feel good.
- To feel relaxed and reduce stress.
- To maintain an addiction or prevent facing withdrawal symptoms.
- To be accepted into social circles or peer groups.
- To improve academic performance or enhance concentration.
How to prevent prescription drug abuse?Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to prescription drug abuse. Here are a few things you can do to prevent prescription drug misuse:
- Ensure that you are getting the exact medicines prescribed to you by a certified doctor.
- Check with your doctor regularly to ensure the medicine is taking effect, and that you are taking the correct dose.
- Never take drugs based on another person’s prescription.