If you have ever been curious about whether or not it is possible to become addicted to prescription-based pain medication, you should know that it is not only possible but also quite common. And this is especially true when it comes to synthetic opioids, some of which include Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Codeine, and Morphine, for example. To substantiate these claims, we need only take a look at a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study noted that an estimated 250 million prescription opioid-based pain relievers were prescribed to individuals in 2019. In the same year, an estimated 2 million people went on to develop an addiction to these medications. Along with opioids, other prescription medications have led many individuals down the path of addiction as well, some of which include stimulants and benzodiazepines.
Why Are So Many Americans Becoming Addicted to Prescription Pain Pills?
Whether we are discussing depressants, stimulants, or opioids, most people take these medications at the behest of a licensed physician who has prescribed them to resolve a legitimate health problem. Unfortunately, the things that make these medications highly effective are the very ones that drive some individuals to abuse them and ultimately develop a severe addiction. To get a better understanding of why this occurs, it helps to take a look at some of the more commonly abused prescription-based medications individually:
Opioids – Classified as a Schedule II substance, opioids come from the opium poppy plant. Studies show that opioid-based medications, which include the likes of Morphine, Oxycontin, and Fentanyl, for example, work by triggering the release of endorphins, which are polypeptides produced by both the pituitary gland and central nervous system. In short, endorphins mute the perception of pain while simultaneously triggering feelings of pleasure or what some might describe as a euphoric high. However, as the effects of these medications begin to wear off, pain invariably returns, and the pleasurable feelings that most individuals experience as a result of taking the medication starts to wear off as well. As a result, some individuals will take the medication far more frequently and at larger doses than prescribed by their physician, often to the point that they become addicted.
Stimulants – Often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), stimulants interact with the central nervous system (CNS), which, in turn, helps boost cognitive function and enables individuals to feel more alert. Some of the more commonly prescribed and highly addictive stimulants include Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine. Because stimulants interact with the CNS, they produce a euphoric high similar to that of opioids. And as these medications begin to wear off, many individuals will find it difficult to concentrate. They will also notice a decline in cognitive abilities. Both of these factors can often motivate individuals to begin abusing stimulants to the point of addiction.
Benzodiazepines – This particular class of medications acts as a sedative. For that reason, they often prescribed to treat insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Some of the more commonly prescribed benzodiazepine medications include Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan. Studies show that these medications work by increasing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks certain brain signals while simultaneously decreasing activity in the nervous system.
How Rehab Facilities Can Help Individuals Overcome Addiction to Pain Pills and Other Prescription Medications
According to most addiction experts, breaking free of dependence on opioids, stimulants, and benzodiazepines is no easy task. In many cases, individuals who try to end their relationship with these medications often relapse. More often than not, this is due to the severe withdrawal symptoms that they encounter, especially when trying to quit on their own. That said, the best way to overcome addiction to any of these medications is by seeking help from a licensed rehab facility. For those who are ready to seek treatment and get their lives back on track, you should know that most rehab facilities offer inpatient and outpatient programs. Plus, nearly all of them have a staff of physicians, counselors, and addiction experts that are all equally committed to helping individuals break the cycle of addiction once and for all.
To accomplish this task, most rehab facilities will offer the following:
- Medication-assisted detox programs
- Group, family, or one-on-one counseling with an addiction counselor
- Access to support groups
- Addiction education courses
In summary, addiction to pain pills, not to mention other prescription-based medication, despite having a valid prescription from a licensed physician, is entirely possible. And there is a plurality of studies that have proven this to be the case. Fortunately, there is no shortage of rehab facilities that individuals can turn to when they are ready to break the cycle of addiction and better their lives. To learn more about substance abuse involving prescription medication or for help finding a rehab facility in your area, consider speaking with one of our addiction specialists today at 833-762-3739.