Prescription Drugs Addiction

It’s no secret, drug abuse is one of the biggest problems America faces today. A 2015 report shows around 119 million people, or half of the population over the age of 12, take prescription drugs. To put it into proper perspective, the United States make up 5% of the world’s total population but consumes 75% of the world’s prescription drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

This is one of the main causes of the growing opioid epidemic. In fact, the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that 6.4 million Americans are misusing prescription drugs.

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The most abused prescription drugs are painkillers, most if not all being opiates, with 5.1 million, followed by tranquilizers with 2.2 million and then stimulants with 1.1 million, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Why Are Prescription Drugs Abused?

Looking at it in a purely medical perspective, prescription drug abuse is done:

  • For lessening the sensation of pain,
  • For enhancing capabilities i.e. for academic performance or remaining awake,
  • For getting into a tranquil state,
  • For stimulation,
  • For the pleasurable high,
  • To avoid withdrawal symptoms.


Prescription opiates, more commonly known as painkillers, are usually consumed at first for legitimate pain control reasons. Common opioid drugs are Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Oxycontin.

Prescription Tranquilizers give a calming effect, and people who have this substance abuse disorder typically come off as calmer than before, but also more lethargic and sleepy. A well-known tranquilizer is Valium.

Prescription stimulants put users in a more alert state and some give a focusing effect. Prescription stimulants like Adderall are often prescribed to children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

No matter the type of drug being used, the body gains tolerance to the effects of the substance. This means that higher dosages are needed to receive the same effects as before. As more and more of the drug is taken, the body becomes more and more dependent on the substance, leading to addiction.

When usage of the drug is halted, the body reacts to the absence of the now-missing drugs, in the process of withdrawal. Withdrawal is very painful and unpleasant and in some cases, can be fatal.

The effects of withdrawal vary due to the type of prescription drug; painkillers (particularly opiates), tranquilizers, and stimulants, all have their own unique symptoms.

In general, sudden withdrawal, made without professional help, leads to vomiting nausea, sweating, insomnia and to even more psychological ones like hysteria, hallucinations, and panic.


Stopping the Vicious Cycle

Prescription drug addiction requires special, long-term planning in terms of a treatment program, because of their wide availability and social acceptance. At Ranch Creek, we’ve long recognized that a “one-size-fits-all” approach like those found in 12-step programs do not work for every patient. For that reason, we incorporate alternative therapies such as exercise therapy and amino acid therapy into the conventional talk therapy sessions received at most rehabs. These programs allow our patients to examine the root causes of their addiction and more successfully resist cravings in the future, breaking the reinforcing cycle of addiction.

Ranch Creek’s holistic addiction treatment center can do wonders for the patients’ journey in breaking the vicious cycle of prescription drug addiction. All our addiction treatment designs are planned with extensive consultation with our clients. Likewise, we make sure that there are never more than 6 clients in-house at any one time, so we can provide the most personal, attentive care possible.

Ranch Creek Recovery’s combination of conventional and holistic therapeutic modalities, and our luxurious setting in Murrieta, California set us apart. If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug abuse, please reach out today.

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