Almost half of all Americans over the age of 12 have used a prescription psychotherapeutic drug in the last year. The drugs in this broad category adjust the levels of your brain chemistry to treat a variety of mental conditions and emotional difficulties. They range from pain killers to sleeping aids. Most of the people who use these drugs use them as prescribed by their doctors.
Being psychoactive, these drugs can create changes in your neurological system. They can also create states of euphoria and great joy or erase feelings of physical or emotional distress and pain.
Because of this, these drugs bring with them a high risk of improper use and abuse. Nearly 18 million people in the US misused prescription medications each year – that’s more than twice the population of Idaho.
The use of illegal substances, like cocaine and heroin, has been growing in the US for years, but the epidemic has spread to prescription drugs as there are now more people who report misusing prescription drugs than there are who report using methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin combined.
You can find help for drug abuse and addiction through professional prescription drug rehabilitation programs. In Idaho, Moonlight Mountain Recovery provides both inpatient and outpatient recover programs as well as medical detox.
What Is Prescription Drug Misuse?
Prescription drug misuse, which was formerly called non-medical use, simply means taking a prescription medicine differently than how your doctor’s instructions. This includes taking someone else’s prescribed mediation, taking larger doses than indicated, or taking the medicine in the wrong way or for the wrong reasons.
For example, crushing a pill so that it starts to work faster and causes a greater “rush” as the full force of the medicine comes on at once, is a common way in which prescriptions get misused.
Although psychotherapeutic drugs offer a great number of benefits when prescribed and taken for medical needs, they do have some dangers associated with them, which only get worse when they are taken against prescription.
Increasing the dosage of some of these drugs or mixing them in dangerous combinations, can be fatal. Last year, more than half of all deaths from overdoses were caused by prescription drugs.
In addition to the deaths caused by overdoses, misuse of prescription drugs has other negative side effects. The drugs are often misused for the attraction of the high feeling that occurs when the neurotransmitter levels are affected by the drug. To achieve that feeling again or maintain it straight through, it often becomes necessary to take the drug at higher and higher dosages.
Over time, this behavior can cause changes to the brain chemistry and produce a tolerance for the drug, which minimizes the effects of the drug and requires an ever greater amount of it to achieve the same level of euphoria. Once there’s a tolerance, a user may find that they need to stay on the drug all the time to feel “normal” and this dependence makes it harder and harder to resist taking the drug.
What Types of Prescriptions are Misused the Most?
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health collects information on four categories of prescription drugs – collectively known as the psychotherapeutic drugs – that have a high potential of misuse and abuse. These categories are listed here along with the number of Americans who misuse drugs in that category each year:
- Pain Relievers (12.5 million people)
- Depressants (6.6 million people)
- Stimulants (5.3 million people)
- Pain Relievers/Opioids (10.1 million people)
Although these aren’t the only types of prescription medications that can be abused, these are the substances that are most likely to lead to addiction.
Who Is Abusing Prescription Medications?
Prescription drug abuse patterns vary based on factors that include age, socioeconomic status, gender and ease of access. However, research indicates that the populations most likely to abuse prescription drugs are young people and older adults.
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the group that is most likely to misuse prescription medications. However, adolescents (age 12 to 17) are also highly likely to take medications for non-medical purposes. To compound the problem, young adults and adolescents who abuse prescription drugs have an increased likelihood of illicit drug use, alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking.
As for older adults, the research indicates that approximately 17% of Americans age 65 and above have misused a prescription medication. This likely correlates to the high number of older adults who are prescribed medications such as opioids. In fact, one in three Medicare Part D participants is prescribed an opioid medication each year.
Getting Help for Prescription Drug Abuse
As common as this type of substance abuse and addiction is, prescription drugs can be some of the most difficult from which to break free.
In Idaho, Moonlight Mountain Recovery offers comprehensive inpatient prescription drug treatment. Our highly qualified clinicians and therapists are knowledgeable and compassionate. With comfortable, home-like facilities in Pocatello and Nampa (Boise area), you can get the help and support you need to free yourself from addiction.
We accept most types of insurance and we can handle all the paperwork and details on your behalf. Contact us today to learn more about our Idaho rehab and recovery programs.