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How People Become Addicted To Prescription Drugs

How People Become Addicted To Prescription Drugs

Nobody thinks that they could become addicted to prescription drugs when first starting a course of treatment. However, the risks of many medications – especially opioids and other dependency-inducing drugs – are very real. Addiction can develop quickly, and it is important to be cognizant of the factors involved in the transition from normal use to problematic behaviour.

While a medical professional or medical detox services in Toronto are great resources for information on this topic, everyone needs to have a solid understanding of the basics of how an addiction to prescription drugs can develop. Whether you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, being aware of how quickly and why things can slip into a negative spiral is important for catching this condition in its early stages.

Let’s look at some of the factors and pathways that lead people to become addicted to prescription drugs.

Close up of a woman holding a prescription drug bottle

Understanding Dependency

Many prescription drugs kick off a physiological and psychological adaptation process in the body. Over time, the body and mind of a person who takes such drugs will begin to rely on these substances in order to function normally. Behaviourally, this usually involves the use of greater amounts and increased frequency of the use of these drugs over time.

The key characteristic of prescription drug dependency is withdrawal symptoms after a person’s use of the medication has stopped. Withdrawal symptoms commonly include extreme cravings for the substance, irritability, sweating, shaking, or other unpleasant side effects which are eliminated if the person resumes their use of the medication.

If used for a prolonged period of time, it can be difficult for some patients to stop using many prescription medications. In some cases, this can lead to a truly “accidental” addiction to prescription drugs. To avoid the negative withdrawal effects, patients may continue to use medications long after their conditions have improved. For example, in the case of pain management, some patients will continue to take opioids as a “precautionary” measure even though their original pain symptoms have resolved. If this describes your behaviour or the behaviour of someone you love, then contact medical detox services in Toronto right away.

Since this pathway to prescription drug abuse and addiction is so insidious, it is important that you are honest and open about your medication use with your doctor and other medical professionals. When your current medication use becomes problematic or is veering into dangerous territory, it is important to seek alternative treatment methods that do not necessarily involve prescription medications.

Personal Reasons For Abuse

There are many pathways that can lead a person to use prescription drugs in ways that are not intended by medical professionals. Many use such substances recreationally as a means of feeling good or getting high. Some prescription drugs have euphoric or relaxant properties which make them attractive to those looking for an escape from their daily circumstances.

Especially among teenagers and young adults, some experiment with drugs (including prescription medications) simply as a means of achieving an altered state of consciousness.This high-risk behaviour is also reinforced by peer pressure among certain social groups.

In some cases, prescription drugs can also be used for their performance-enhancing effects. Despite their long-term negative side effects, amphetamines (for example) are often abused for their appetite-reducing and cognitive-boosting effects. Some use these medications to improve their academic performance through enhanced concentration. However, the risks of this behaviour turning into long-term addiction are quite high.

Naturally, in many of these cases, the prescription drugs being abused are not being prescribed by an individual’s doctor. Especially in the case of teenagers who still live at home, users may find and use prescription drugs that have been sourced from the household medicine cabinet.

Those who are using drugs outside of the guidance and care of a medical professional are far more likely to fall into problematic patterns of drug use.

Close up of prescription pills spilled out of a glass

Know Which Drugs Are Likely To Be Abused

If you have concerns that someone you care about has a prescription drug problem, then it is important to seek out additional information regarding what types of drugs are commonly associated with problematic use patterns. Opioids, for example, are one of the most prominent such substances that have recently sparked controversy throughout the United States and Canada for their abuse potential. However, many benzodiazepines used for the treatment of anxiety disorders are frequently abused due to their relaxant and euphoric effects. Stimulants such as Ritalin (used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and Adderall also have a defined medical use but are commonly abused by students and teenagers for their alertness and concentration-boosting effects.

While these substances may provide a short-term high, it is important to be aware of the strong addictive potential of these drugs in the long-term. What begins as an experiment might soon begin to dominate one’s thoughts and wreak havoc on an individual’s personal and professional life. There is a reason why such substances are controlled in most countries around the world and those who use them need to be aware of their addictive properties. For more information, contact one of the many medical detox services in Toronto.

Help Is Available

If you or a loved one is suffering from prescription drug abuse, then it is important to know that there is professional help available to treat this condition. Whether you seek treatment from a trusted doctor or through medical detox services in Toronto such as with Freedom From Addiction, it is critical that you take the necessary steps to break out of the harmful cycle of drug dependency and addiction before it becomes any worse.

Being aware of the risk factors and the pathways involved in the development of a prescription drug abuse or addiction problem is the first step you can take towards managing your condition. It is important to take an honest look at the pattern of drug use in your own life and the lives of those you care about. The earlier that these conditions are brought to your conscious attention, the sooner you can seek the necessary treatment to rid your life of these substances for good.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to prescription drugs and requires the assistance of medical detox services in Toronto, contact us today.


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