Why Prescription Drug Overdose Can Signal the Need for Rehab

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “prescription drug abuse is the intentional use of a medication without a prescription; in a way other than as prescribed; or for the experience or feeling it causes.”

Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics

NIDA-based research studies show that prescription drug abuse remains a significant problem in the United States. In 2009 approximately 7 million people abused psychotherapeutic drugs for non-medical reasons. The medications most commonly abused are as follows:

  • Pain relievers: 5.3 million abusers
  • Tranquilizers: 2.0 million abusers
  • Stimulants: 1.3 million abusers
  • Sedatives: 0.4 million abusers

Prescription abuse problems cover the range of every of age, gender, cultural and socioeconomic groups, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the following groups had the highest increases in deaths by drug overdose between 1999 and 2004:

  • Females: 103%
  • Whites: 76%
  • Persons in the southern United States: 114%
  • Persons aged 15-24 years: 113%

Prescription Drug Overdose Symptoms

Overdose symptoms vary based on the prescription drug being used. The three most common categories of prescription drugs present the following overdose symptoms:

  • Amphetamines: excitability, rapid pulse, hallucinations, coma, convulsions, shaking
  • Barbiturates: slurred speech, coma, constricted pupils
  • Antidepressants: confusion, vomiting, headaches, agitation, unconsciousness

Immediate attention to an overdose is the difference between life and death. The overdose patient requires emergency medical attention immediately. While waiting for an ambulance, it is important to try to keep the user awake by talking to him, walking him around, and applying cool, wet cloths to the person’s face. The specific treatment protocol that the emergency personnel will use will vary based on the prescribed drug abused, but the focus regardless of the drug is to counteract the abused drug and attempt to remove the ingested drug from the body as quickly as possible.

Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction

Addiction is a brain disease like other chronic diseases, but it can be treated effectively. While no one treatment is appropriate for all people, a successful treatment plan will use a variety of therapies including detox and counseling. By using behavioral treatments such as individual counseling, group and family counseling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy a patient will receive the following:

  • Encouragement to stop drug use
  • Education on how to function without drug use
  • Strategies to handle cravings and avoid relapse
  • Assistance in understanding relapse and what do to should it occur

Get Help for Prescription Drug Addiction

Finding the right recovery program to meet your needs or the needs of someone you love can be an overwhelming experience. You need help determining the most appropriate prescription drug addiction treatment for you. Call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about prescription drug addiction, overdose prevention, rehab and more. We are here to help.