The Problem with Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs are one of the leading causes of addiction, and are becoming more of an issue in the United States, due in part to the widespread availability and prevalent advertising by pharmaceutical companies. Although physicians prescribe these drugs, they haven’t always been well-monitored regarding the volume of prescriptions written or the “doctor shopping” that happens with patients desperate to get their fix. The most common prescription drug addictions we treat are pain killers, but there are others that present addiction issues such as sleeping pills (sedatives), opiates, and stimulants.
Sedatives, Opiates and Stimulants: Effects and Uses
- Sedatives are meant to give people with insomnia and other sleep conditions the ability to rest. For those that become dependent on sleep medications, they’ve grown to believe that they need it every evening, even if that isn’t the prescribed dose. These types of prescription drugs are offered to patients that have hyperactive disorders or increased anxiety. The drugs work to reduce the heightened activity in the brain, and to suppress these overactive minds and allow calm to settle in. For people that have acute anxiety and sleep issues, these drugs are only meant to be used when necessary.
- Opiates are pain medications that have become the common answer to stopping physical pain, but often turn into a method of blurring mental pain as well. Pain medications work to target pain receptors in the brain and reduce their ability to produce pain stimulation. Opiates are dangerous because in high doses, they can reduce breathing function, sometimes causing people to stop breathing completely. In recent years, studies have also shown an increase in heart conditions developing in people that have abused pain medications, as well as compromised liver and kidney function due to the body’s inability to properly filter the overload of toxins from the body. The high from opiates is described as numbing and elating, so only feel good effects are experienced, but these mask the serious health issues they cause. In 2014, more than 28 thousand people died from a prescription opiate overdose.
- Stimulants are “uppers,” so people with severe depression or chronic fatigue are the target audience for these drugs. For people that require stimulation to get through the day or to correct imbalances in the brain, these are helpful in moderation. However, many times people never fully undergo proper mental health screenings, so the emotional imbalances may be attributed to other conditions and could make their situation worse. Stimulants communicate an increase in everything, causing the body to wake up and function – meaning higher heart rates and heightened alertness. These body functions are not designed to be “on” at all times; they can put your system into overdrive and sometimes cause strokes and heart attack. Ritalin and Adderall are examples of stimulants that are popular with students, since it creates a false sense of hyper-focus and awareness, but if consumed for long periods can cause harm to the body.
Prescription Theft and Sharing
Many of the clients we see here at Enlightened Solutions started experimenting with these prescription drugs because they were readily available at home or offered by a doctor. The more accessible these drugs are, the more they will be abused. Most of the time, the abuse of prescription drugs goes unnoticed.
Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Increased or reduced eating habits
- Emotional withdrawal
- Glazed look
- Difficulty breathing
- Odd behaviors and conversation
- Decline in personal hygiene
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Chest pain or raised heart rate
How to Control the Unnecessary Abuse of Prescription Drugs
At Enlightened Solutions, our first step in eliminating the abuse of prescription painkillers, stimulants, and sedatives is to look at the problem holistically. We think about natural ways to solve the issues people are experiencing, and strive to find alternative solutions within, instead of using chemicals to mask the true problem. Holistic health alternatives in talk therapy and the variety of modalities we use can accomplish that goal. For example, when addressing someone’s sleep issues or pain, we find that some of their problems can be traced back to mental stresses, past trauma, or family issues. At Enlightened Solutions, we remove these toxic drugs from the body, cleanse your mind, and help you understand the why behind your dependency on prescription drugs. Pain can often be managed with exercise, or with practices such as yoga and meditation – and those in turn can help clear the mind and induce healthy sleep.