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Utah Prescription Drug Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease that millions of Americans struggle with each year. Drug addiction comes in various forms and levels of severity, but few types of drugs are more commonly abused than prescription drugs. Studies reveal that Utah prescription drug addiction is at an all-time high.

Prescription drug-related deaths in the state have increased by more than 400% in the past decade alone. According to the State of Utah, this makes prescription drug overdose the number one leading cause of deaths in the state.

One of the main reasons prescription drugs are so addictive boils down to the nature of the drugs themselves. Labeled as medications and available for legal use issued by a doctor for the treatment of an illness, prescription drugs are easily accessible and obtainable. In addition, their status as a legal drug (when used correctly) means that the public often does not consider their abuse as serious as illegal drugs, such as heroin and meth.

In addition to these two factors, prescription drugs are extremely addictive. They create a mental and physical dependency. Users are often unable to function normally without the drugs, and when they do try to stop, their bodies are thrown into serious drug withdrawals.

Fortunately, there is help out there. Countless drug treatment centers are available in Utah, each specializing in a different form of rehab and therapy. These Utah drug treatment centers, as well as the basics of prescription drug addiction, is provide in more detail below.

What is Prescription Drug Addiction?

Similar to most forms of addiction, prescription drug addiction can be difficult to understand at first.

In the most basic sense, prescription drug addiction is simply when a person has become addicted to a prescription medication. They develop mental and physical dependencies to the drug. They also develop a tolerance to the drug over time, requiring larger doses more often in order to achieve the same effects.

The aspect that makes prescription drug addiction complicated, is that prescription medications are often legal. Doctors in Utah and around the United States commonly prescribed these medications to combat a variety of medical problems and issues. However, it is very easy to use these medications incorrectly.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription drug abuse is defined by three main factors. The first is using a prescription medication without a prescription. The second is using it in a way other than was prescribed. The third is using the medication for the experience or the high.

Simply put, prescription medications are abused for the same reason that other drugs are. They get you high, reduce pain, and increase performance. And like other drugs, continued abuse of prescription medications quickly leads to addiction.

Which Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?

Prescription drug abuse is not limited to certain drugs. Any and every prescription medication has the potential of abuse

However, there are three classes of prescription drugs that are much more commonly abused than others. These are opioids, depressants, and stimulants. The following takes a deeper look into each of these.

Opioids are prescribed to treat pain. Commonly abused examples include Vicodin, Codeine, Morphine, and OxyContin.

Depressants are prescribed for sleeping disorders and anxiety. Commonly abused examples include Xanax, Nembutal, Ambien, Lunesta, and Valium.

Stimulants are prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Commonly abused examples include Adderall and Ritalin.

Doctors are now more careful than ever before when prescribing these medications to patients.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse?

Seeking help for a prescription drug problem early on is important. The earlier you seek treatment, the easier and more effective it will be.

This is why it is important to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse. It is vital to seek help as soon as you recognize these signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one.

Each class of prescription medications comes with its own set of signs and symptoms, which can be seen in the following:

The signs and symptoms of opioid abuse include depression, sweating, constipation, low blood pressure, and confusion

The signs and symptoms of depressant abuse include confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, unsteady walking, and poor judgment.

The signs and symptoms of stimulant abuse include rapid weight loss, irrational behavior, irritability, and restlessness.

Another sign to look out for is the appearance of being high. If someone looks or acts high and displays one or more of the signs and symptoms listed above, they could very well be abusing a prescription drug.

What Treatment Is Available for Utah Prescription Drug Addiction?

One positive that has come out of the increase of Utah prescription drug addiction, is an increase in the number of drug treatment centers.

Those struggling with addiction now have more choices than ever before when it comes to rehab and therapy. Dozens of treatment centers are scattered across Utah, each with its own unique approach to treatment.

It is important to research each treatment center before making a final decision because treatment is different at each facility. However, they all tend to follow the same basic steps. These steps are medical detox, inpatient treatment, and aftercare.

The first step of drug treatment is medical detox. You are placed in a controlled medical environment and use of drugs is stopped. Special medications can be administered to help prevent serious withdrawal symptoms from occurring.

Inpatient treatment tends to follow medical detox. Patients are encouraged to live in a residential facility for at least 30 days. The goal of inpatient treatment is to teach recovering addicts the skills and behaviors needed to prevent relapse in a controlled environment.

Once inpatient treatment is complete, aftercare begins. This consists of attending regular meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The support and therapy offered through these meetings is instrumental to relapse prevention. Patients are encouraged to attend these regular meetings for as long as possible. Many people continue to attend them for the rest of their lives.

Prescription drug addiction is difficult and scary to take on alone. It can seem too overwhelming to even attempt. That is why it is extremely important to seek help. If you are struggling with opioid, depressant, or stimulant abuse, contact an addiction specialist today for more information on your treatment options.