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Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drug Addiction

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

What are prescription medications?

Prescription medications are prescribed by a doctor. The three classes of medication commonly misused are:

  • Opioids – usually prescribed to treat pain
  • Central nervous system depressants [this category includes tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics] – used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders
  • Stimulants – most often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD].

Prescription drug abuse is the use of a prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor. Prescription drug abuse or problematic use includes everything from taking a friend’s prescription painkiller for your backache to snorting or injecting ground-up pills to get high. Drug abuse may become ongoing and compulsive, despite the negative consequences.

How prescription drug abuse affects the body

Brain – Prescription drug use disorder can affect your brain. This abuse results in tampering of the brains communication system by disrupting the way nerve cells normally deliver and receive information. Most drugs can also alter the brains “reward” circuit resulting in overwhelming feelings of pleasure or being “high”.

Heart – Prescription drug use disorder can cause adverse cardiovascular effects that can be life-threatening. This is because too much drug use is hard on the heart and can induce abnormal heart rates and other problems. This can lead to heart attacks, heart failure, collapsed veins and more.

Liver – The liver is responsible for helping to digest anything you put into your body. This includes prescription medications. These substances come in direct contact with the liver and, when used in excess, can cause it to work extra hard, break down and not function. This can result in liver damage and even drug-induced liver disease.

Immune System –It doesn’t matter which prescription drug you’re misusing – if you’re experiencing common effects of drug use disorder, like fatigue, sleeplessness, inactivity and dehydration – you’re hurting your immune system and putting yourself at risk for other illnesses.

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