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Medication Abuse Overview and Guide

Medication abuse includes the misuse of over-the-counter medications as well as prescription medications. Various types of medications are commonly abused. Medications abuse may include taking too much of a medication, taking a medication that is not prescribed or taking a medication that is prescribed for something other than what the individual is taking it for.

Various side effects and problems can arise from medication abuse including withdrawal symptoms, overdose, tolerance and addiction. Medication that is taken improperly or that is taken when it isn’t prescribed can be deadly.

Commonly Abused Prescription Medications

The most commonly abused prescription medications include opioids, CNS depressants and stimulants. Each of these types of medications are usually prescribed for a different range of illness or condition and when abused have serious negative consequences. Although prescription medications may have benefits when taken appropriately, when abused these effects can have severe consequences for the user.

Opioids can produce drowsiness and cause constipation even when taken regularly. When taken outside of the way they are prescribed by a doctor or when taken despite the lack of a prescription an opioid may cause severe respiratory depression that can ultimately result in death. Opioids can also have serious side effects when taken in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs such as over-the-counter medications.

CNS Depressants cause the activity of the brain to slow. These medications are most often prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders but may also be prescribed for a range of other conditions. The most common types of CNS Depressants include benzodiazepines, barbiturates and certain sleep medications. CNS depressants are often taken in combination with other drugs or to counteract the effects of certain street drugs.

Stimulants such as Adderall or Dexedrine are used to facilitate weight loss and to treat certain disorders such as ADHD. Stimulants are often crushed and snorted or injected by users. Various complications can arise from stimulant abuse including the blockage of blood vessels and other conditions. Most often, these prescription medications are abused for their performance enhancement qualities and for the recreational purposes.

Commonly Abused Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications are drugs that are sold in the store and do not require a prescription in order to purchase them. The most commonly abused over the counter medications include cough medications and cold medicine as well as certain diet aids. DXM, a drug commonly found in many cold medicines is often sought specifically for the ketamine like effects that mass doses of this drug can induce.

When DXM is used in large quantities the individual may have impaired motor function, numbness and various other side effects. This type of medication abuse is most common in adolescents and teens but can also be a problem for adults. In rare cases, DXM abuse can result in brain damage and even death but this is not a common side effect of such drug abuse.

Treatment for Medication Abuse

There are various types of treatment for medication abuse depending on the type of medication that is being abused, the severity of the addiction to the medication and the age of the individual. Inpatient and outpatient rehab centers may provide treatment for medication abuse. Teen drug abuse rehab centers provide specialized treatment and care for medication abuse.

For individuals who are addicted to prescription medications, specialized treatment plans exist and can be tailored to the individual. Some prescription medications require a detoxification phase and may be accompanied by severe withdrawal symptoms. Drug rehab centers are poised to provide a safe environment for an individual to safely detox from all types of prescription medications including opioids, CNS depressants, and stimulants.

Most over the counter medications do not have severe addictive qualities but some do. People who are addicted to over the counter medications may need the help of drug rehab centers to find new ways to treat common ailments or conditions without using the over the counter medications. Long term over the counter medication abuse may require a significant detox phase in order to get the body free from the chemicals in the drug before any type of counseling or therapy begins.

Psychotherapy is a common form of treatment used to treat medication abuse. For many, behavior changes can help with the elimination of medications from daily use. Additionally, for those who abuse prescription medications as a result of being prescribed the medication may find relief and recovery in therapy and counseling that can teach them how to cope without the drug.

Every type of drug addiction is different and therefore treatment for each type of addiction is different from person to person. Drug rehab centers can provide specialized treatment and care for a full range different drug addictions. Medication abuse is a dangerous condition that must be treated in order to prevent harm to the body and mind.

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