HEALTH & WELLNESS Middle Age Maladies Mind & Health recent-post2  >  Prescription Medication Addiction – Part 1

Prescription Medication Addiction – Part 1

Prescription Medication Addiction – Part 1
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

The Treatment Sometimes Becomes the Illness

By Mary Cowser

If someone asked us if we have ever taken prescription medications, most of us would likely answer, “of course.” In most cases, we take medications temporarily to cure an illness or heal an injury. When we recover, we stop taking the medication. It’s just part of life. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple for some people.

We would never dream that taking those pills could lead us to a life of addiction. If we did, we would most assuredly refuse to take them. It is a common belief that prescription medication is safer then street drugs. After all, it was our trusted doctor that prescribed them to us so why would we give it a second thought.

Many people do not realize they can become addicted to the medication their doctors give them. According Burwell Nebout Pharmaceutical Lawyers, many doctors are paid well every time they write one of those prescriptions. That and other factors can make prescription medication even more dangerous than street drugs.

Who are the Addicted?

Sadly, our generation makes up a major percentage of the people addicted to prescription drugs. Baby Boomers are now entering a phase where the aging process is prompting health issues.

According to a USA Today investigation, between 2007 and 2011, a 46% increase occurred among Baby Boomers who were seeking out addiction treatment.

Instances of arrest, hospitalization, and overdose are on the upswing among celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. However, there are no socio-economic boundaries for this illness. Someone buying drugs on a dark corner in a crime-ridden part of town is what we see portrayed in movies. Nevertheless, it’s not limited to those scenarios and can involve anyone such as your banker, hair stylist, mechanic, or a friend.

If you have ever watched a TV show named “House”, you know the character Dr. House, played by Hugh Laurie. He is addicted to drugs due to a leg injury and stress. He gets very creative at times when trying to figure out how to get the drugs. Unfortunately, that scenario is not as improbable as you might think.

Unbelievably, the number of healthcare providers addicted to prescription medications is staggering. Most of us would never imagine that the doctor who cared for us in the hospital, the nurse that checks our vitals at the doctor’s office, or the orderly that rolled us into surgery, could be addicted to drugs. USA Today’s investigation shows that over 100,000 healthcare providers across the U.S. are struggling with addiction and abuse of narcotics. One explanation is the easy access to the drugs. Furthermore, medical facilities in many states look the other way or give a slap on the hand for this offense. Amazingly, it goes unreported to law enforcement in many instances, even after multiple offenses.

Prescription drug addiction is becoming increasingly prevalent in the elderly as well. Approximately 17% of people over the age of 60 abuse prescription drugs according to an article on the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation website. The most common types of drugs prescribed to elderly patients are pain relievers and anti-depressants.

As they age, their bodies naturally wear down, which initiates pain. Doctors prescribe pain medication with the intention of providing them with a better quality of life. However, after taking the drugs for a while, the patient becomes immune and has to increase the dosage or frequency. Ultimately, they spend their life dealing with addiction.

The principal increase in addiction is in adolescents. No doubt, some begin by experimenting with the bottles found in the family medicine cabinet. However, one of the medications most frequently prescribed to adolescents is for the treatment of ADHD. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in children ages 4 – 17, 11% were diagnosed with ADHD in 2011. Doctors can be quick to prescribe medication for ADHD when the illness can sometimes be treated with psychotherapy and other methods.

You might ask who is to blame for this illness.Unfortunately, the medical community is a major contributor to the growing addiction. This could be due to the practice of using the medicate-first approach oftreating patients, according to USA Today. This refers to the practice of prescribing medications before determining the cause of the patient’s symptoms.

Another question is why do some people become addicted while others do not? Many believe an addicted person is weak and has no desire to stop taking the drugs. On the contrary, addiction is a psychological as well as a physical illness and the susceptibility for it has a lot to do with both our minds and our bodies.

The physical addiction is healed by the gradual detoxification of the drug from the body. However, AMHC, which is a private, non-profit mental health care organization, explains that addiction can remain long after the drug is removed from the body. Frequently, the extreme desire for the drug remains. Furthermore, other conditions needing treatment exist such as mental illness, making it even more difficult to cure.

AMHC explains that our own unique genetics and physiology can determine our propensity for addiction. Our ability to temper our impulsive desires differ from one another. Some of us have a lower ability to resist some impulses. Human behavior is due to the structure, chemistry, and genetic abnormalities of our brains.

In more simple terms, some people are more predisposed to addiction than others. In addition, some are able to resist or do not experience the pleasurable sensations of the drug as others do.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...