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52 million Americans admit to using prescription drugs for recreational purposes. This scary figure illustrates just how addictive commonly available narcotics and sedatives are, but what seems like a bit of a buzz when you are out with friends can soon ruin your life. Moreover, what makes it even worse is that many people started taking these drugs on the advice of their doctor, with no real understanding of how addictive they are. So how can you avoid falling into the addiction trap if you do need to take a drug like Xanax or Codeine?
Different Types of Prescription Drugs:
Opioids, stimulants and muscle relaxants such as Xanax, Valium, Demerol, Adderall and OxyContin are usually prescribed to alleviate moderate to severe pain. These drugs act on the central nervous system to change the way we feel pain. The drugs initially generate a sense of euphoria by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain, before having a mild sedative effect. When taken at high enough doses, the drugs can slow down the heart and breathing rate, which can lead to death.
If taken in the short-term, prescription drugs are not dangerous for most people. You could take opioid drugs for a week to aid your recovery from a back strain and you are unlikely to become addicted.
However, the situation is very different when a patient suffering from long-term health problems is prescribed opioids, stimulants or muscle relaxants. As time goes on, the body becomes more tolerant to the effects of the drug, so greater amounts are needed to induce the same effect. Before long, the person is hopelessly addicted and can’t function without their pills.
Some people are also more susceptible to prescription drug addiction than the general population. Anyone with previous addiction issues or a history of mental illness should be very careful about taking strong prescription painkillers or similar.
How to Take Prescription Drugs Safely:
When taken for one or two weeks, most prescription drugs are perfectly safe unless you are a high-risk patient. A responsible physician will never prescribe highly addictive medication without looking at a patient’s medical history very closely. He or she will tell you how much to take and how long to take it for. The important thing is not to continue taking the drug for any longer than is absolutely necessary, and if it stops working, don’t increase the dose without talking to your doctor first.
Spotting the Signs of an Addiction:
The first sign you may have a problem is when you can’t get through the day without taking your pills. People with addiction issues will do anything to get a supply of their drug. They will visit more than one doctor in an attempt to secure multiple prescriptions or steal to pay for drugs on the black market. They will also take higher doses to achieve the same effect, even though they know it is dangerous.
Prescription drug abuse is dangerous, so if you think you may need a Georgia drug detox program to help you conquer your addiction, talk to your physician as soon as possible.