Prescription Drug Addiction on the Rise

Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem in the U.S. affecting more than 15 million people at any one time. More than 48 million have abused prescription drugs during the course of their lifetime. Prescription drug addiction is on the rise, with The National Institute on Drug Abuse reporting the numbers of adults who abuse these medications now exceeding those that abuse the illegal drugs of cocaine, heroin, inhalants, and hallucinogens combined.

Prescription Drug Addiction Growing Problem

Increased visits to one or multiple physicians, or the ER show a significant increase in the request for more medications such as opioid pain relievers, stimulants for complaints of ADHD symptoms, or depressants prescribed for anxiety or sleep issues. In addition, the purchase of over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications, especially those that contain dextromethorphan, have shown a sharp rise. Drug treatment programs report a sharp rise in admissions related to prescription drug addiction that now rival admissions for addiction to illegal drugs.

Prescription Medications Commonly Abused

Prescription drug addiction generally involves three classes of medications. The medication classes that may lead to addiction are:

  • Opioids, which include Vicodin, Opana, OxyContin, Codeine, Morphine, may be used effectively to treat pain on a short term basis. When used long-term they may lead to prescription drug addiction and physical dependence.
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin, may be used to treat medical issues of ADHD, ADD, depression, narcolepsy and numerous other problems.
  • Central nervous system depressant medications such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin or Ativan may be used to treat anxiety, panic, insomnia, and sleep disorders. These medications typically decrease brain activity resulting in a calm or drowsy state.

Prescription Drug Addiction Help Locally

An experienced addiction psychiatrist can help change the direction your prescription drug use is taking. Call Dr. Hege, Atlanta’s prescription drug addiction professional to regain your ability to live and function without the turmoil and pain of addiction. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

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