The Power of Prescription Drug Addiction In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the abuse of and dependency of prescription opioid pain medications (also known as narcotics.) There is a lot of misinformation out there about these medications. The misconception is that because they are prescribed by a doctor, it is completely different from using illicit “street” drugs. Having an addiction to prescription medication can be particularly hard on the user, as well as the effects it has on the lives of the people closest to them. It usually takes hitting rock bottom or having to go through excruciating withdrawals to admit he or she needs help. Denial is the most powerful effect of drug abuse and addiction; most people cannot admit they need help before it is too late. For the majority of addicts, the drugs are more powerful than just wanting to get clean. There are many reasons for people to use drugs. Some people will use them just to feel relaxed, cope with stress, forget their problems or just simply because other family members are addicted or using drugs. For teens, their reasons may be different but no less important. They will experiment with their parents or friends prescriptions because of problems at home, problems at school or work, trying to overcome shyness, anger, or to feel adventurous. One of the biggest reasons for younger people to try or become addicted to drugs is over relationships with friends (peer pressure) or romantic relationships. When the people closest to the person who is taking the pills begin to notice changes in his or her loved one, they often will ask what is going on. This is where denial becomes the addict’s best friend. They will tell everyone they are “just fine” and “I don’t know what you are talking about!” They assume that they are the only one that knows their secret, but in truth drug abuse slowly creeps into every aspect of the user. Their looks begin to change rapidly; they lose weight, they begin to look as though they have not slept and sometimes their hair begins to thin or fall out.
The most significant change is their personality. In the beginning of drug use, the user appears happy or very energetic; they may get things accomplished in a timely manner but as soon as their pill of choice begins to take hold, the user begins to change. They will begin lying to friends and family about what is going on in their lives. They begin showing signs of destructive behavior or having extreme mood swings. Unfortunately, with destructive behavior sometimes comes committing crimes. The highest percentages of crimes committed by drug users are to obtain money for more drugs or more pills to take. Drug users may be more willing to take more risks because of their lowered inhibitions by substance abuse.
Once the destructive behavior and the lying begin, the addict will often start to alienate those closest to them. The addict wants to continue to use and be left alone whereas their loves ones want the user to admit he or she has a problem and wants them to stop. Until the person admits they actually do have a problem and want to get clean, they will keep using. The most commonly abused prescription drugs come in three classes. The first are Opioids, which are analgesics used to treat pain sensations or chronic pain. The most common types of opioid medications are Vicodin and OxyContin. Depressants are the second; they suppress the central nervous system and are commonly used for stress (Valium), anxiety (Xanax), or to help the person sleep (Ambien). Lastly are Stimulants, which are psychoactive drugs that elevate mood, alertness, and awareness. Stimulants are commonly used for treating obesity or sleep disorders like narcolepsy. A couple of examples of stimulants are Ritalin and Adderall. There can be subtle hints or tremendous effects from abusing prescription drugs. There are ways to