Each year, 11.5 million adults in England are issued prescription drugs to treat and alleviate numerous physical and psychological health issues.
Though entirely safe to consume when medical advice and guidelines are followed, many prescription drugs, such as those prescribed to treat chronic pain, sleep disorders and mental health disorders, have addictive qualities that increase an individual’s risk of developing a prescription drug addiction.
Although prescription drug abuse is frequently overlooked, it is essential to address the harm of prescription drug abuse.
To help you understand the harm of prescription drug abuse, we have shared how prescription drug abuse impairs the brain and body here.
Prescription Drug Abuse And The Brain
The impact abusing prescription drug abuse has on the brain will ultimately depend on the prescription drug consumed. For example, Benzodiazepines, which are frequently prescribed to help reduce anxiety and treat sleep disorders, are sedative drugs that reduce brain function.
Meanwhile, depressant prescription drugs alleviate the impact that depression has by increasing serotonin levels, which ultimately enhances an individual’s mood, leaving them feeling upbeat.
As with all substances, the pleasurable sensations that prescription drug abuse provides are often short-lived. Upon wearing off, reduced moods, high levels of anxiety and sleep disorders are commonly encountered.
As the brain comes to associate enhanced moods and pleasurable feelings with prescription drugs, dependencies arise. Regrettably, prescription drug abuse and dependencies give way to several short and long-term effects that have a considerable impact on brain function.
The short-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the brain include:
- Intense cravings
- Reduced cognitive function
- Inability to retain information
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
While the short-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the brain alleviate naturally, the long-term harm of prescription drug abuse on the brain is detrimental. Impairing the way an individual thinks, acts and behaves, the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the brain include:
- Memory loss
Sadly, as prescription drug abuse and addictions alter an individual’s perception of reality and cause mental health disorders to arise, suicidal thoughts are also among the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse.
Prescription Drug Abuse And The Body
Ultimately enhancing an individual’s quality of life, prescription drugs, such as opioids, are used to treat chronic pain, viral infections, and other illnesses. However, when prescription drugs are abused and higher doses of drugs are consumed, the risk of developing short and long-term health complications drastically increases.
Just as prescription drug abuse has short and long-term effects on the brain, prescription drug abuse also has short and long-term effects on the body.
The short-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the body include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Muscle aches
While the effects noted above can be treated and reduced when prescription drugs are eliminated from the body through the employment of a medically induced detoxification, the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the body are sadly irreversible.
The long-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the body include:
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Heart disease
- Respiratory problems
When these long-term effects of prescription drug abuse arise, medical treatment must be sought immediately.
The Early Signs And Symptoms Of A Prescription Drug Addiction
The harm of prescription drug abuse can be difficult to distinguish, primarily as prescription drugs are legal and are required to treat several illnesses. However, numerous early signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse and addiction will arise and indicate that treatment is needed.
In addition to those shared above, the standard signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse include intense cravings, irritability, and mood swings. A need for a higher dose of prescription drugs to feel the desired effects will also signal that an addiction is present.
As addictions are psychological disorders, changes in behaviour can also be expected. Those who become addicted to prescription drugs will isolate themselves from their loved ones, become extremely secretive, and will engage in behaviours that could lead them to experience financial difficulty or problems with the police.
When To Seek Treatment
Here at Asana Lodge, we know that understanding when to seek treatment for prescription drug abuse can be somewhat tricky. This is because many individuals do not realise that prescription drug abuse is impairing their life until it becomes progressively worse.
If you consume prescription drugs but remain unsure as to whether you require treatment, we recommend asking yourself the following questions:
- Do I consume prescription drugs every day?
- Have I continued to take prescription drugs even though the illness that required treatment has been alleviated?
- Have I experienced any signs and symptoms associated with prescription drug abuse?
- Do I crave the euphoric sensations that prescription drugs provide?
- Has anyone approached me to express their concerns over my behaviour?
Should you find yourself saying yes to any of the above questions, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Is Available
Treatment for prescription drug abuse and addictions is widely available via NHS and private rehabs, such as our own.
At our residential rehab, treatment for prescription drug addictions typically includes detoxification, rehabilitation, therapy, relapse prevention and aftercare support.
Detoxification encourages the body and brain to withdraw from the harm of prescription drug abuse. Medically induced, detoxification helps many recover from the physical effects that prescription drug abuse has on the body.
While successfully detoxing from prescription drugs is imperative, the psychological aspects of prescription drug abuse must also be treated. This is where rehabilitation and therapy come into play. From identifying the cause of prescription drug addiction to determining coping strategies, rehabilitation and therapy ensure that sobriety can be maintained.
Contact Us For Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
Having come to understand the harm of prescription drug abuse, if you would like to find out more about our prescription drug addiction treatment or to refer yourself or a loved one for addiction treatment, please get in touch with us today by calling 01908 489 421.
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