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Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

commonly abused prescription drugs

Every day, large numbers of Americans take prescription medication. Some of these medications are non-addictive. However, others have the potential to trigger addiction in any given person. Many medications within this second category are widely used. In addition, they often serve as targets of prescription drug abuse. Certain medications are abused more often than others. If you misuse one of these substances, you may eventually need a prescription drug addiction treatment program.

Types of Prescription Drugs Capable of Triggering Addiction

There are three main categories or types of prescription drugs capable of triggering addiction:

  • Stimulants
  • Sedatives/tranquilizers
  • Opioids

In some states, marijuana is prescribed as a form of medical treatment. If you live in one of these states, add this drug to the list of potentially addictive medications.

The medications in each category affect your brain and body in different ways. However, like addictive substances, they also share some traits in common. For example, to one degree or another, they can all trigger feelings of euphoria. This is the name for an extreme form of pleasure you won’t typically find in everyday life.

Euphoria is often a critical factor in the development of addiction. Its impact is so strong that some people actively seek it out. Frequent exposure to medication-based euphoria provides pleasurable short-term experiences. However, at the same time, it also boosts the odds that you will develop physical dependence.

When you’re physically dependent, your brain has an established need for a given medication. This dependence is usually the first step on the road to addiction. Addiction itself occurs when you are also psychologically dependent and start compulsively seeking out more medication to use.

Your doctor can help you avoid medication dependence. However, the situation is different if you misuse your medication. In these circumstances, physical dependence becomes more likely. In turn, your risks for eventual addiction also rise.

How Are Prescription Drugs Abused?

Prescription drug abuse is a catchall term. It covers all of the ways in which you can misuse a prescription drug. One example of misuse is taking a medication purely for its recreational effects. Misuse also occurs when you increase your medication dose without permission. The same holds true if you decrease the times between doses without permission.

Some people engage in misuse by trying to increase the drug effects of their medications. You also misuse medicine if you take it when you don’t have a prescription. In addition, misuse occurs when you illegally purchase a medication.

The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Some medications are misused more than others within each category of addictive prescription drugs. For example, the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the opioid category include:

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine

Commonly misused sedatives and tranquilizers include alprazolam or Xanax and diazepam or Valium. Amphetamine and methylphenidate are two of the most widely misused stimulant medications. Amphetamine is the main ingredient in the ADHD medication Adderall, while methylphenidate is found in the ADHD medication Ritalin.

Seek Help for All Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs at Northpoint Colorado

Are you or your loved one involved in medication misuse? Talk to the professionals at Northpoint Colorado. We’ll help you determine if misuse has led to addiction.

If you’re affected by addiction, Northpoint Colorado can help you recover. We provide treatment for all kinds of substance problems, including those related to prescription medication. Our services start with a detox program that helps you halt your misuse. You also have several rehab options for all manner of substances, including marijuana. Want more information on how we can help? Call us today at 970.579.4569. You can also fill out our online message form.