Understanding Prescription Pill Addiction
Prescription pill addiction is a chronic and progressive disease characterized by the inability to restrain from prescription drug use, even when the addict knows the negative and harmful consequences. Prescription drug use has become more wide spread than ever with thirty-four percent of American adults taking at least one prescription drug, and eleven and a half percent taking three or more prescribed medications. (http://www.rehabs.com) Initially, the behavior provides a sense of stability and pleasure that is not able to be achieved in other ways. After a while in order for the addict to even function and feel normal they will need to do the behavior. In both chemical and behavioral addictions there are four components present, compulsion/obsession, loss of control, negative consequences, and denial. Some people’s bodies may actually be wired to seek substances enhancing their pleasure or reducing discomfort, which is making them predisposed to addiction. In some bodies, the predisposition will happen because the body will naturally produce insufficient quantities of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that send signals between nerve cells and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron. (Myers, 2011, pg. 36) They also are an important factor in the development and maintenance of addictions. Adrenalin, noradrenalin, dopamine, and GABA are all neurotransmitters that play a role in the process of addiction. Biological or disease influences, psychological factors, and environmental influences are all also factors in the development and maintenance of addictions. The abuse of prescription medication is at an all-time high in the United States. Individuals abuse these drugs because they are easily accessed by physicians, and an inexpensive way of altering the user’s mental and physical state. There are some individuals
Prescription Pill Addiction 2 who also believe that these drugs are a “safer high” but there is nothing safe about prescription drugs, in fact overdoses involving prescription drugs are now at epidemic levels.
Prescription drugs that most often lead to addiction include central nervous system depressants, opioid pain killers, and stimulant medications. Each of these drugs when used as prescribed can be beneficial and helpful to a person. Opioid pain killers are prescribed to treat pain in people that have pain due to slow healing injuries, chronic health conditions, and short-term but severe pain from surgical procedures. The nerve receptors in the body that cause a person to feel pain are blocked by the opioids. As well as blocking the nerve receptors in the body the opioids also affect the regions of the brain that become aware of pleasure, this then results in an initial feeling of intense excitement and happiness followed by a drowsy, calm feeling. Central nervous system depressants are prescribed to treat muscle tension, sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, and seizure disorders. They affect the body by slowing the brain function and produce a drowsy, calm effect. Lastly, stimulant medications are used for treating patients with ADHD or narcolepsy. This drug slowly increases the production of dopamine, and when it is taken as prescribed it increases energy, attention, and alertness. Unfortunately, a lot of the time these drugs are used in the wrong way such as the following: opioid pain killers and central nervous system depressants are both used to get high, relax in social situations, and relieve stress, while stimulant medications are also used to get high but also to decrease appetite.
Risks associated with prescription drug abuse depend on the type of drug it is. When a person abuses opioids, narcotics, and pain relievers it can result in life-threatening respiratory depression, which is reduced breathing. Depressant abusers put themselves at risk of seizures, decreased heart rate, and