Drug Rehabs Texas: Prescription Drug Abuse: The Hidden Dangers

More and more people are choosing to take prescription drugs recreationally. They believe they’re safer than “street” drugs because they are doctor prescribed. These medications are legally prescribed to help patients deal with issues such as chronic or severe pain, balance emotional or behavior issues, manage sleep disorders and obesity. If these medications are abused, a severe dependence can form. As with street drugs, the long-term consequences of prescription drug abuse can be very dangerous to your health.

Getting Hooked

One reason prescription drugs are so dangerous is that when you abuse them your body automatically builds up a tolerance for the drugs. This means that you’ll need a higher dose of the drug to get the same effect. This is how addiction to opioids occurs. Opioids are usually prescribed for pain, and over time chronic use increases tolerance. An addiction to opioids is physical. If you become addicted and suddenly stop taking the drug, you’ll experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, muscle and bone pain, cold sweats, diarrhea, vomiting and involuntary shaking. Taking more of a drug because of increased tolerance also makes you more susceptible to overdose.

Chasing the High

Addiction to prescription drugs affects the brain the same way as street drugs do. When you become addicted, the drugs alter your brain’s chemistry. It becomes harder for your brain to release natural “feel good” hormones like dopamine and endorphins. Since you brain no longer releases these chemical, it relies on the drugs. This is what causes physical dependence.

Seniors at High Risk of Addiction

Seniors are at high risk for prescription drug addiction because they often rely on prescribed medications. They may become addicted to sleep aids prescribed by a doctor to help them have more restful sleep, or pain medication to manage chronic conditions like arthritis.

Complications of Prescription Drug Use

There are some serious complications that can occur overtime with prescription drug abuse. As previously mentioned, one concern involves the need to take more medication due to increasing tolerance which increases the risk for overdose. Another risk is drug interaction – that is combining other substances with prescription drugs that can result in dangerous side effects.

Herbs are one example. The popularity of herbal remedies has increased. People like the idea of “natural healing” and assume that because an herbal plant can be grown or purchased at the local health food store, it’s automatically safe. The fact is some herbs can produce dangerous side effects when taken with prescription medications.

Alcohol is another substance that can produce dangerous side effects when mixed with prescription drugs, particularly sedatives and pain killers. Some combinations can affect the central nervous system and cause serious conditions like respiratory distress, respiratory failure and death.

An addition to prescribed medication can be safely treated at a rehabilitation program. Inpatient therapy can help you safely recover from your addiction in a closely monitored setting.

Robert Shryoc is the Director of Development at the Stonegate Center, a Texas treatment center. The Texas drug rehab community serves people entangled in the physical, mental, social and spiritual bonds of chemical dependency. For more information about the residential treatment facility please visit http://www.stonegatecenter.com.

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