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What Are Some Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs?

young man asking his female therapist what are some commonly abused prescription drugs

If you or someone you care about is living with prescription drug abuse, remember that many people have been in your shoes and reclaimed control of their lives. Triggers ranging from relationship stress and job difficulties to mental illness and past trauma can lead people to begin using prescriptions in problematic ways. The good news is that, with quality care and ongoing support, it is absolutely possible to break addiction’s grasp on your life.

Call Ray Recovery at 888.598.6299 or fill out our confidential online form to begin getting answers. From information on commonly abused prescription drugs to comprehensive treatment, we’re here to help. Our Hudson, Ohio, center provides prescription drug abuse treatment along with a variety of substance use disorder services.

What Medicines Make the List of Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs?

While the causes of prescription drug abuse vary widely, the through-line between the drugs themselves is their mind-altering properties. Each class of addictive prescription drugs, by design, combats specific types of physical or psychological distress. They each, however, possess the additional capacity to cause euphoria or another kind of “high,” making them potentially addictive.

In most cases, they likewise pose a threat of physical dependence. This means that when a person uses them habitually, that person’s brain essentially “forgets” how to regulate an essential aspect of its own pharmacology. This leads to cravings and painful withdrawal symptoms if drug use isn’t maintained or even increased over time.

Commonly misused prescription drugs include the following:

  • Benzodiazepines – Used for managing anxiety disorders and sometimes seizures, this powerful class of nervous system depressants includes drugs like alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan).
  • Some sleep aids – Non-benzo and non-barbiturate sleep aids can nonetheless pose a high addiction risk as well. Two of the most famous are the hypnotic zaleplon (Sonata) and the sedative-hypnotic zolpidem (Ambien). They act on the brain’s GABA pathways, which figure prominently in blocking nerve impulses.
  • Opioid painkillers – Probably the most famous class of commonly abused prescription drugs, opioids are among the fastest-acting and most effective agents for blocking nerve signals related to physical pain. However, they also strongly impact the brain’s dopamine circuit, hugely augmenting perceptions of pleasure and reward. Commonly abused opioids are codeine, fentanyl (Actiq), oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and morphine.
  • Stimulants – Nervous system exciters like methylphenidate (Ritalin) and dextroamphetamine-amphetamine (Adderall) can help treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Other amphetamines are sometimes used for narcoleptic sleep disorders or weight loss. Like their unregulated stimulant counterparts, caffeine and nicotine, they pose a very high risk of addiction.

Why Is It Important to Stop Abusing Prescription Drugs as Soon as Possible?

Prescription drugs can cause serious complications when abused, so it’s vital to get help immediately if you or someone you care about is becoming addicted. For instance, opioids, as potent central nervous system depressants, can slow breathing and heart rate to a very dangerous degree. In the case of an overdose, this respiratory and cardiac depression can lead to coma or death by suffocation.

Anti-anxiety drugs likewise depress the central nervous system, giving them similar risks to opioids. In worst-case scenarios, overdoses cause coma or death. Moreover, some anti-anxiety drugs, especially Xanax, have potent effects on memory, leading to major gaps and potential harm to the essentially blacked-out person under the influence. Withdrawal from some of these drugs can lead to severe opposing physical responses, such as seizures and other overactive nervous system effects.

Stimulant misuse, although often underestimated, can also bring about extremely serious side effects. Some body temperature, blood pressure, and cardiac function impairment are common. However, as severity mounts, negative effects include outcomes like severe aggression, seizures, hallucinations, and profound paranoia.

Start Evidence-Based Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment with Ray Recovery Now

Don’t wait to seek help with prescription drug abuse recovery. With medical intervention and ongoing social and psychological support, lasting recovery is within reach. Contact the caring team at Ray Recovery in Hudson, Ohio, to get answers and actionable resources today. We’re available at 888.598.6299, or you can reach out to us online.