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Prescription Drug Addiction in Louisiana

Prescription drug addiction is all too often overlooked when it comes to drug addiction in the United States. The reasons for this boil down to the easy accessibility of prescription drugs and the fact that they’re legal to use when taken as prescribed.

Despite much of the public overlooking their seriousness, the abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise. Indeed, prescription drug addiction in Louisiana is now one of the state’s most serious forms of drug addiction. People from all age groups and all backgrounds are turning to these prescription medications to get high.

Unfortunately, the most commonly abused prescription drugs are all extremely addictive. They create both physical and mental dependencies in users, making it even more difficult to quit. Add in the serious withdrawal effects experienced when drug use is discontinued and it’s even easier to see why prescription drug addiction in Louisiana is one of the state’s largest problems.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is more difficult to define than most other types of drug abuse. The reason for this is that prescription medications are legal in and of themselves. When they are taken according to the instructions of the prescribing doctor, prescription medication is completely legal.

Yet this also lays down the groundwork for the definition of prescription drug abuse. To put it simply, it is when the medications are taken in a manner that wasn’t intended by the prescribing doctor. This consists of the medication being taken by someone other than the patient they were prescribed to. It can also consist of taking too much of the medication or taking it too frequently.

So why do people abuse these prescription drugs in the first place? The reason for their abuse is often similar to the reason behind any type of drug abuse. People want to get high, reduce pain, and increase performance. Prescription medications help them do this.

Which Prescription Drugs Are Abused?

Any and every prescription medication can be abused when taken incorrectly. However, there are a handful that are much more commonly abused than others. Because of their extreme addictiveness, these commonly abused prescription drugs are also those with the highest correlating rates of addiction.

Perhaps the most common type of prescription drug addiction in Louisiana is addiction to opioids. Indeed, rates of opioid addiction are very high around the country. Opioids consist of prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Fentanyl, Codeine, Morphine, and Oxycontin.

Sedatives are another commonly abused type of prescription drug in Louisiana. They are prescribed by doctors to help with sleeping problems. Examples of commonly abused sedatives include Xanax, Lunesta, Ambien, Nembutal, and Valium.

Another type of prescription drug with high rates of addiction are stimulants. Though the levels of abuse have gone down in recent years, stimulant abuse is still a major problem. The drugs are members of the amphetamine family. Examples include Adderall and Ritalin. Fortunately, these medications are rarely prescribed due to their extreme addictiveness.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction is the key to seeking treatment and overcoming the problem. Indeed, recognizing the problem in its early stages will make the overall recovery process all the easier.

Fortunately, the signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction are relatively easy to spot. If you notice these in yourself or in a loved one, it’s time to look for help. As we mentioned above, the earlier you begin prescription drug treatment, the better.

Opioid abuse often brings about symptoms including depression, sweating, confusion, constipation, and low blood pressure. Sedative abuse will show itself through unsteady walking, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and poor judgment. Stimulant abuse is highlighted through irrational behavior, rapid weight loss, restlessness, and irritability. Finally, the appearance of being high is a sign of prescription drug abuse of any kind.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

Today there are more treatment options available for prescription drug addiction than ever before. Indeed, there are literally dozens of options available in Louisiana alone. This gives prescription drug addicts the ability to select a treatment program that specifically suits their needs and preferences.

While every drug rehab program is different, they all consist of the same basic steps. These include medical detox, inpatient treatment, and continual therapy. The best treatment centers incorporate all of these steps into a cohesive whole.

Medical detox comes first. It is the process of weaning the addict’s body off of drugs. This is done in a controlled medical environment. A team of doctors monitors the withdrawal symptoms, using special medications to help ease the withdrawal pains if needed.

Once medical detox is complete, the patient enters inpatient treatment. During this step of the recovery process, they live in a residential treatment facility. They attend therapy and counseling sessions multiple times per day. The goal here is to teach them the life skills needed to prevent relapse once they return home.

Continual therapy is the final step of most treatment programs. Yet it often lasts the longest. Recovering addicts are encouraged to attend therapy sessions several times per week for long periods of time. Many recovering addicts attend these sessions for the rest of their lives while others only need to attend for several months or years. These therapy sessions help ensure that the patient doesn’t relapse when they are once again exposed to their normal everyday lives.

Get Treatment

You’re not alone when it comes to prescription drug addiction. Whether you’re struggling with opioid, stimulant, or sedative abuse, there is help out there. Contact a Louisiana drug treatment center for more information on the drug rehab programs available in your area. A habit can be broken.