Prescription drug addiction is an umbrella term for addiction and abuse of any prescription drug. Since there are literally hundreds of thousands of different prescription drugs available, it is difficult to pigeon hole what prescription drug addiction is like, what it does to a person and what the symptoms are, but it is safe to say that prescription drug addiction can be just as harmful, just as destructive, and just as illegal as an addiction to any street drug. However, since most people view prescription drug addiction as a white collar crime, it has far more social acceptability than street drug addiction. Examples can be seen in the fictional television character House and in talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
What the drug is
Almost any kind of drug can be found in prescription strength, as long as the effects are not considered to be so powerful that they are later ruled to be illegal. For instance, many of the same properties that are found in speed and crystal meth are also found in prescription strength diet pills. If taken in small doses under the watchful eye of a doctor, these pills can significantly help a person lose weight, but if they are abused or sold by the person who they were prescribed to, addiction can set in with ease. Another good example is barbiturates. A few decades ago, barbiturates were commonly prescribed to help people beat insomnia. It was later discovered that barbiturates are some of the most addictive drugs in the world and the amount you need to take to overdose and possibly die is so close to the amount you need for the drug to be effective at all, that doctors almost never prescribe them anymore, except in extreme circumstances. These are just two of the many prescription drugs that can easily cause a person to develop an addiction.
The Impact of Prescription Drug Addiction
The impact that prescription drug abuse can have on a person is profound. Many people believe that if you are addicted to something you can get at your local pharmacy, it is easier to hide the signs that you are having problems. In some cases, this is true, but in others, signs begin popping up immediately. Just like any other addiction, whether it be to heroin or video games, the impact of prescription drug addiction can literally ruin someone’s life. There is a sharp increase in the willingness to break the law so a person can acquire more of the drug they are addicted to. This law breaking could come in the form of going to another doctor and lying about symptoms or simply by breaking into a pharmacy and stealing them. Addiction to prescription drugs, especially things like diet pills and painkillers, can come on in a matter of days. Every doctor and pharmacist is trained to look for the signs of being addicted to prescription drugs, so if you are prescribed something that is possibly addictive, you should have several people looking out for you and for the symptoms of addiction.
Just like with any drug addiction, the first thing outsiders will notice is a rapid change in personality. A person’s priorities will completely change and go from things they have loved all their life to simply obtaining more drugs. You will likely catch a person lying, cheating, stealing, and more. Lying can extend to other friends, doctors, nurses, or just about anyone. If a fix isn’t found, withdrawal symptoms can start in as little as 24 hours. These include, sweating, nausea, anger, emotional swings, and pain.
Prescription drug abuse is far and away the most socially acceptable form of addition in the Western world. It is something that celebrities and others go through all the time, and although this kind of addiction can be fatal and has ruined many a life, if caught in time, there is no reason to think that a person won’t be able to resume a completely normal life with very little social stigma attached. The key, of course, is catching it early, treating it aggressively and limiting exposure in the future. It is important that you alert your family doctor of your condition so that prescription drugs can be limited to you in the future.