Research shows that in 2017, around 18 million people misused prescription drugs, including:
- Anti-anxiety medications
Opioids are one of the most abused classes of prescription drugs. In 2019, a total of 3,244 deaths occurred due to opioid abuse in California alone. While these drugs are legal, the risks of misusing opioids and other prescription drugs are real.
If you or someone you love is stuck in a vicious cycle of addiction with opioids or prescription drugs, seek life-saving treatment now from professionals who care.
Opioids are a class of prescription drugs used to treat moderate to severe acute and chronic pain. They relieve pain by attaching to receptors and inhibiting pain signals. As a side effect of their pain-relieving abilities, they relax your body and can make you feel “high.” This is what makes opioids so addictive and the reason they are commonly abused.
Opioids bind to receptors in the brain. When these opioids attach to the receptors, they block pain signals and release large amounts of dopamine — a chemical in the brain that plays a large part in feelings of pleasure. Anytime you engage in an activity that you enjoy, such as eating your favorite food, dopamine is released. This makes you want to repeat the activity to achieve the same feeling. The same thing happens with prescription opioids. The release of dopamine makes you want to repeat the experience, and it becomes a vicious cycle leading to addiction.
The exact signs of substance abuse vary depending on the specific drug. The most common signs of opioid and prescription drug addiction include:
- Slowed breathing
- Poor coordination
- Reduced appetite
- Increased tolerance – needing to take more to feel the same effects
- Stealing medications or stealing money to buy medication
- Asking for prescriptions from more than one doctor
- Taking higher doses than prescribed
- Requesting early refills
Abuse and/or overdose of opioids and prescription drugs can lead to life-threatening medical conditions and even death. The best strategy to take if you or someone you know is hooked on these drugs is to seek out medical detox and addiction treatment.
Opioid addiction is a highly serious matter as it can ruin your career, strain your relationships with others and have devasting effects on your physical, emotional and mental health. Our team of professionals at Authentic Recovery Center — many who are in recovery themselves — take an evidence-based approach to helping your overcome your addiction. Providing medically supervised detox, 12-step support groups, individualized therapy and many other key resources, we can help you take back control of your life.