Mesa, Arizona’s Preferred Prescription Medication Addiction Hospital

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A person can develop a prescription drug addiction when they abuse a prescribed medication. From taking a friend’s prescription painkiller for your back pain to crushing up your own prescription medication so that you can snort it to get high, prescription drug abuse can be occasional or even daily. Over time, prescription medication abuse can become the center of a person’s focus despite possible negative outcomes. 

It’s a common misconception that prescription medications are less dangerous and less harmful than illegal drugs. The truth is, there are just as many negative outcomes that can happen when prescription drugs are misused. Beyond physical harm, prescription drug abuse can also impair judgment and lower inhibition.  

At Agave Ridge Behavioral Hospital in Mesa, Arizona, we provide a warm and welcoming space where people can receive customized care for prescription drug addiction. We understand that your needs are unique, and we offer comprehensive, holistic treatment to support you as you begin to heal. 

Signs & Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug addiction symptoms can vary depending on whether the person uses opioids, stimulants, or sedatives. 

Prescription opioids include painkillers such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, morphine, and fentanyl. These medications relieve pain, but they may also cause feelings of sedation, drowsiness, and euphoria. When these painkillers are abused, they can induce a coma or even cause death. People who have a prescription opioid addiction may experience the following symptoms:  

  • Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and nausea 
  • Loss of coordination 
  • Mental confusion 
  • Slowed breathing 
  • Difficulty following conversation or participating in conversation 
  • Need for increased dose to feel pain relief 
  • Increased sensitivity to pain  
  • Decrease in libido 

Sedatives like benzodiazepines, or benzos, include prescriptions such as Ativan, Halcion, Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin. These medications are used to treat concerns such as anxiety and insomnia, and they can induce feelings of well-being and sedation. They can also be lethal when combined with alcohol. People who are struggling with a benzo addiction may experience these side effects:  

  • Extreme drowsiness 
  • Difficulty focusing  
  • Slurred speech 
  • Poor memory 
  • Slowed breathing 
  • Lack of coordination  
  • Mental confusion 

Stimulants like amphetamines include prescription drugs such as Adderall and Dexedrine. These medications are used to treat mental health disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but abusing them can have negative effects, including seizures and strokes. Symptoms of prescription amphetamine addiction may include: 

  • Alertness bordering on agitation or paranoia 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Anxiousness  
  • Chronic insomnia 
  • High body temperature 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Abnormal heart rate 

Common Causes of & Risk Factors for Prescription Drug Abuse

It is hard to know exactly why a person might develop an addiction to prescription medication. With prescriptions, addiction can begin by accident. For example, a person may develop an addiction to a medication that was prescribed for a medical purpose. Other influences, though, can factor into someone’s risk for becoming addicted to prescription drugs. These are some common causes and risk factors that can play a role in a person developing an addiction to prescription drugs: 

  • Having a close family member who has struggled with a substance use disorder 
  • Personal experience with addictions to other substances 
  • Socializing with friends who abuse prescription medications 
  • Easy access to prescription medications at home or work 
  • Lack of education on the dangers of prescription drugs and their addictive nature 
  • Lack of supportive friends 

There are also certain prescription medications that are more problematic than others. Specifically, amphetamines, opioid painkillers, and benzos result in fast and strong dependencies.  

Prescription Drug Addiction Statistics

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it is important to understand that abusing prescription medications can lead to overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an average of 18 women and 26 men die every day from prescription painkiller overdose in the United States. Currently, after marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications are the most abused drugs in the country. CDC urges people to take the precautions listed below to help prevent the development of an addiction to benzos or opioids. 

  • Do not take prescription medications in amounts greater than what has been prescribed. 
  • Avoid taking opioids and benzos together. 
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol when taking prescription medication. 
  • Do not share your prescription medications or sell them to others. 
  • Store prescription medications securely and away from children and visitors. 

Potential Effects of Prescription Drug Addiction

The abuse of prescription drugs can be just as harmful as the abuse of illegal drugs. It can be hard to understand that developing an addiction to prescription drugs is a risk because there is often a legitimate medical reason for needing to take the medication in the first place. The danger comes when someone stops taking the medication according to their doctor’s directions. Untreated prescription drug addiction can have the following long-term effects:  

  • Accidental overdose  
  • Difficulty getting or keeping a job  
  • Financial trouble, including bankruptcy  
  • Damaged relationships with partners, family, and friends  
  • Violence and legal problems connected with looking for more medication  
  • Heart infection 
  • Pneumonia 
  • Liver disease 
  • Skin problems 
  • Seizures 
  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke 

The effects of prescription drug addiction can be far-reaching, but you can avoid them by getting help. Healing is possible when you find support for yourself or your loved one. 

Withdrawal & Overdose

The three categories of prescription medications that are most often abused are opioids, benzos, and amphetamines. Though they have different effects, each of these drugs floods the brain with dopamine, which can elevate a person’s mood. After a person takes these medications for a long period of time or at doses higher than what their doctor prescribed, their brain can stop producing its own dopamine. This lowered production of dopamine can make it difficult for the person to stop taking the prescription medication. The result can be uncomfortable and even painful withdrawal symptoms.  

Abruptly stopping the use of opioids such as painkillers can lead to withdrawal symptoms that cause breathing to become dangerously slow and potentially stop altogether. If you stop taking painkillers without professional assistance, you might also experience withdrawal symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems and severe body aches.  

Sedatives such as benzos can make a person feel calm, but abusing them can lead to problems with memory as well as slowed breathing and low blood pressure. If a person stops taking sedatives too quickly, though, they can experience withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and problems with the nervous system.  

Stimulants such as amphetamines can lead to increased temperature, heart problems, emotional instability, tremors, and seizures.  

While withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the type of prescription drug a person has been taking, there are some symptoms that may be the same regardless of the medication, including: 

  • Extreme irritability 
  • Outbursts of crying  
  • Sweating without physical exertion 
  • Gastrointestinal upset 
  • Muscle aches 
  • Fever 
  • Inability to sleep 

It is also highly possible for someone to overdose when they are abusing prescription drugs. Signs that someone is experiencing a prescription medication overdose might include: 

  • Very small pupils 
  • Slowing heartbeat 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Vomiting or gurgling  
  • Blue fingernails, lips, or skin 
  • Cold skin 
  • Loss of consciousness 

Prescription drug overdoses can be fatal. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. If you catch these symptoms in time, you can save the life of your loved one. 

Getting Help at Our Mesa Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Center

Choosing to receive treatment for prescription drug addiction can be a life-changing and potentially lifesaving decision. If you notice any signs that you might be abusing prescription drugs, it could be time to get help. Or, if you have tried to quit on your own without success, treatment could be the best next step. Patients who receive treatment for prescription drug addiction can find the support they need as they begin their recovery.  

Agave Ridge Behavioral Hospital is a premier prescription drug addiction treatment center in Mesa, Arizona. Our multidisciplinary team of professionals provides patients with the compassionate care they deserve. At our treatment center, we provide inpatient programming and detox for adolescents ages 11-17, adults age 18 and older, and seniors age 55 and older who are struggling with prescription drug addictions. The staff at our inpatient treatment center incorporates the principles of the 12-Step recovery model and delivers evidence-based therapies that are designed to treat the mind, body, and spirit. 

Patients’ individualized treatment plans at our prescription drug addiction treatment center may include the following: 

  • Medical detoxification services 
  • Basic medical care 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) 
  • Daily group therapies 

During your time at our prescription drug addiction treatment center, you will work with experts in the field of substance use disorder treatment who can help you understand the factors that may play a role in your recovery journey. They will create a treatment plan for you that is tailored to your needs.  

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Agave Ridge Behavioral Hospital.