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Understanding the Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

Many people underestimate just dangerous prescription drugs can be. While people want prescription drugs that can help them through their ailments or help them cope with other health issues, they often don’t realize that these drugs should be treated with as much caution as illegal or addictive drugs. Currently, pain relievers are one of the most commonly abused drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Following after are tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives. In order to understand the dangers of prescription drug abuse, here are 5 things to consider:

1. Addiction

Many prescription drugs are very addictive, especially those that fall into the opiate category. Opiates utilize the same receptors in the body that drugs like heroin do- releasing dopamine and causing the person to no longer feel pain. They can also cause a high. These feelings are hard to ignore, especially to those who have suffered from severe illnesses or lifelong pain. While a person may take prescription drugs to deal with their other health issues, they can quickly become addicted to the very prescription drug assigned to help them.

2. Overdose

prescription opiate abuse

Abuse of prescription drugs causes addiction, health problems, and other serious issues.

Many people fail to think of overdose being an issue with prescription drugs because the drugs are labeled with the proper dosage and drug information. However, because some prescription drugs become ineffective after being taken for a period of time, many people simply increase their own dosage without oversight from a medical professional. Some prescription drugs act as depressants to the body and if a person overdoses, can actually shut down vital organs, resulting in death.

3. Withdrawal

Just like street drugs or even legalized substances like alcohol, many prescription drugs come with their own withdrawal symptoms. While some symptoms may be minor like a runny nose, yawning, sweating or insomnia, other symptoms are much more intense. These can include nausea, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, or even abdominal cramping, according to the National Institutes of Health. These withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity and type as a person may already be experiencing other symptoms from their current medical conditions.

4. Physical health

The human body can withstand a lot of abuse; however, most people taking prescription drugs already know their bodies can only handle so much. Prescription drugs can affect the cardiovascular system in many different ways. They can also cause physical damage to the body’s organs, if taken in high concentration or overdosed. Some prescription drug stimulants can cause a person to have seizures, if used improperly.

5. Mental Health & General Well Being

Some people are recreational prescription drug abusers and mistakenly believe they don’t suffer from any negative repercussions from their abuse. However, what they fail to see is how their behavior changes while abusing a prescription drug. They will miss school or work, lose friends, become aggressive, or even end up in dire financial straits. Prescription drugs are sold illegally and addicts are often charged per pill. Due to advancements in technology, many doctors are able to track addictive behaviors and prevent individuals from attaining prescriptions for their drugs of choice. It doesn’t take much for a recreational user to become addicted and in turn, take up an abusive lifestyle.

Simply put, prescription drug abuse is a real danger in today’s world. These drugs are just as dangerous as illegal or street drugs when used improperly or abused.

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