Prescription Drug Abuse in Louisville, KY

Prescription drug abuse is the misuse of prescribed medication; or the abuse of prescription medication without it being prescribed to the user. The most common prescribed drug types abused are: pain relievers, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives, and stimulants.

Drug treatment is needed to treat addiction. For help today, call Louisville Drug Treatment Centers at (502) 909-3938.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Prescriptions drugs that are commonly abused are those that alter brain chemistry and function to produce a desired effect. The addictive nature of drugs is due to the acquiring tolerance for the drug that in-turn creates an urgent need to continually use in increasing frequency, and in increasing amounts, in order to feel normal, maintain a state of balance, and avoid withdrawal.

The health risks associated with prescription drug abuse can be severe, some are irreversible, and others; potentially fatal. When brain function is altered, there may be serious consequences to the body as a whole and particularly to the systems, as well as severe psychological outcomes. Addicts are also at greater risk of accident and injury. Some of the risks include:

  • Difficulty/depressed breathing and respiration
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart failure
  • Seizure
  • Memory lapses
  • Overdose

Specific Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

Opiates are usually prescribed for chronic pain conditions, such as sports injuries or surgery recovery. They are derived from the seeds of the poppy plant, which produces powerful anti-pain medications like morphine. Other examples of opiate prescription drugs are Oxycodone, OxyContin, Fentanyl, Codeine, and Vicodin. These drugs are highly addictive, even when used according to the instructions.

Physical symptoms of opiate abuse include:

  • Excessive alertness
  • Sensitivity to sensory stimuli
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Increasing energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Agitation
  • Lack of sleep.

Psychological and behavioral symptoms noted are:

  • General anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Euphoria
  • Psychosis
  • Heightened self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • A loss of motivation

Sedatives and depressants are often prescribed for anxiety or sleep disorders. Popular drugs in these categories include the benzodiazepines Vicodin and Xanax. These drugs are often abused because of their effects when taken in higher doses or by people who do not have anxiety or sleep disorders. These drugs are dangerous when misused and can cause liver or kidney damage when combined with alcohol for recreational purposes.

Signs and symptoms of sedative/depressant abuse are:

  • Mood swings
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired breathing
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • "Drunk-like" behavior (stumbling, memory lapses, etc.)

Stimulants (amphetamines) are prescribed to increase focus and energy in patients who are suffering from attention disorders like ADHD or sleep disorders like narcolepsy. When they are abused, they give the user a temporary boost in energy, suppress appetite, and increases focus. For these reasons, these drugs are often abused by people in business settings or by college-aged students.

Signs and symptoms of stimulant/amphetamine abuse include:

  • Loss of appetite / weight loss
  • Inability to relax
  • Crashing after dosage effects wear-off
  • Hyper sensitivity / hyper vigilance
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Nervousness

Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse

Opioid withdrawal and Treatment

Buprenorphine, Suboxone, or methadone may be used by doctors under medically supervised conditions to ease symptoms of withdrawal from opiate painkillers. Clonidine, a medication primarily used for high blood pressure, can also be given to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Depressants (Sedatives) and Anti-Anxiety Medications (Anxiolytics) Withdrawal and Treatment

Detox and withdrawal from these substances may take weeks, or months to slowly taper off of them. Due to the lengthy withdrawal syndrome symptoms, it may take an extended period of time for your body to adjust to lowered doses of the medication and eventually adjust to taking no medication at all. Other types of medications may be administered to stabilize your mood, help with anxiety, and ease symptoms.

Stimulant Withdrawal and Treatment

There are no FDA-approved approved drugs for stimulant withdrawal. Treatment focuses on tapering from the medication and managing withdrawal symptoms through sleep, appetite, vitamin and nutrition therapy, and behavioral therapy.

Successful treatments also include counseling and behavioral therapy as the mental, emotional, and psychological effects of the drug are the most pronounced legacies of addiction.

Life-saving treatment, relapse prevention, and aftercare and can help to change these statistics. If you, or someone you know, have a problem with prescription drug abuse or addiction please call Louisville Drug Treatment Centers for further information at (502) 909-3938.

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