When most people think of drug addiction, they usually think of illicit substances such as cocaine, heroin, flakka or other street drugs. What you may not be aware of is that addiction to prescription pain pills and other doctor-prescribed medications is the leading cause of overdose deaths in America. Prescription pain pills, for example, contains the same ingredient as heroin and it is easy to get addicted to them. Once addicted to a prescription medication, the individual may experiment with other legal or illegal drugs as the individual chases a higher high.
Many prescription medications are addictive, some more than others. When an individual gets addicted his/her brain’s reward pathways get rewired – these individuals’ brain will start waiting for the drug to trigger the release of large doses of dopamine, the chemical that drives feelings of pleasure, instead of releasing smaller quantities regularly. This leads to addiction, as, overtime, the body does not release dopamine unless stimulated by a drug causing the individual to constantly seek their drug-of-choice in order to get a “hit” of dopamine. As the individual’s body develops “tolerance” for the medication, more of the same medication, or combination of drugs will be needed to achieve the desired high. Eventually, the individual will have to take the drug just to feel “normal.”
Here are some of the prescription drugs that people are commonly addicted to.
Prescription pain medications such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Percocet, Dailaudid, Hydromorphone, Fentanyl patches and others contain opiates. Opioids give off a euphoric effect, and are often prescribed for acute or chronic pain. Individuals, at first, use the medications to obtain relief from pain, but them get addicted and start misusing the medications. When consumed in higher than prescribed quantities, they can can be life-threatening, as they can lead to overdose. Opioids can also are combined with other prescription medication such as a benzodiazepine to obtain a higher high.
When misused the individual starts to neglect daily duties and is singularly focused on obtaining more prescriptions for the medication (usually by doctor shopping) and getting high. The abrupt cessation of opioid use can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Although not as dangerous as withdrawal from benzodiazepines, it can result in consumption of a higher dose of opioids that usual in order to obtain fast relief from withdrawal symptoms and lead to overdose. The only bright spot is that overdose from opioids can be revered by the administration of Narcan.
Benzodiazepines – Xanax, Klonopin or Valium
Benzodiazepines (and barbiturate) are usually used to treat anxiety. They are CNS (central nervous system) depressants.. They are also available as sedatives or hypnotics.
Improper use of benzodiazepines can lead to addiction and withdrawal can result is stopped abruptly. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be dangerous as it ca lead to seizures, stroke or ven death. Talk to one of the Detoxification experts in NJ to find out more about how to effectively rid oneself of this addiction.
Codeine is usually prescribed to treat mild and moderate levels of pain. It is also used with other medications, such as a prescription quality cough syrup, to treat symptoms of the cold and flu. When taken in high doses, codeine with cough syrup will give off a calming, pleasing effect. It can also cause altered consciousness for the user. It is commonly the foundation for other concoctions of drugs, such as “purple drank”.
Dr. Cidambi is a leader in addiction treatment and innovator of safe and effective ambulatory (outpatient) detoxification level of care for alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, and suboxone. Prior to founding the Center for Network Therapy, she completed her residency in Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and an Addiction Medicine Fellowship at NYU/Bellevue Hospital in New York. Due to the successful detoxification program, Dr. Cidambi was featured frequently by media outlets, including NPR, CBS, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal.