Prescription Drug Overdose
Prescription Drug Overdose
A prescription drug overdose can be very dangerous. Read on to learn more about their signs, symptoms, and treatment options.
Table of Contents
What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
Why Do People Abuse Prescription Drugs?
Commonly abused prescription medicines excite the brain’s reward system, which may lead to physical dependence and addiction.
What Does a Prescription Drug Overdose Look Like?
Can a Person Overdose on Prescription Medicines?
It’s possible to die from a prescription drug overdose. In the United States, forty individuals lose their lives every day due to an overdose on drugs, which are mainly narcotic prescription medicines.
The American Public Health Association observes that the following prescription medications are the ones that are misused the most frequently:2
- Opiates used to treat pain, such as codeine and Vicodin
- Xanax and Valium, which are drugs used to treat anxiety and depression problems and also help people sleep better
- Stimulants, including Adderall and Ritalin, which are for the treatment of ADHD
The Most Common Signs of Prescription Drug Overdose
- Stupor (the person appears conscious but doesn’t respond to any stimuli)
- Hallucinations, delusions
- Fluctuations in core temperature (hypothermic/hyperthermic)
- Alterations in one’s mental state, such as muddled thinking, foggy perception, meandering or quick speaking, or hyper-attention
- Extreme drowsiness
- Racing pulse
- Irritable bowel syndrome or discomfort in the abdomen
- Chest pain
- Nausea and throwing up
- Falling unconscious
- Changes in breathing patterns, such as shallow breaths or a quicker breathing rate
- Changes in one’s emotional state, such as depression, rage, or euphoria
Drugs That Can Cause Addiction
Opioids are a class of drugs that includes compounds like hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), and meperidine (Demerol).3
Although opioid analgesics can treat coughs and diarrhea, they primarily manage severe pain. Opioids bind to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord’s central nervous system, blocking the brain from receiving pain signals.
Central Nervous System (CNS) DepressantsAlprazolam, phenobarbital (Luminal), Xanax, and diazepam (Valium) are a few of the types of CNS depressants.
Depression medications are typically prescribed to treat anxiety, stress, and insomnia. These medications work by boosting the action of a neurotransmitter known as GABA, which is known to calm down neural activity. These result in a soothing or sleepy feeling depending on how much you have been prescribed.4
Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine often sold under the brand name Adderall, as well as methylphenidate (Ritalin), are examples of stimulants.
Medical professionals commonly use stimulants to manage both narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Because they boost brain activity, stimulants help people stay awake, focused, and energized throughout the day.
Causes of Prescription Drug Abuse
- The desire to be accepted by one’s peers
- To experience euphoria or a high
- To test how the medication affects one’s mind
- Decrease cravings for food or boost mental focus
- To put one’s mind at ease
- To enhance one’s ability to focus and do well in school or the workplace
- To continue engaging in addictive behavior while avoiding experiencing withdrawal
Complications of Prescription Medication Abuse
Always be sure to take your medications in the manner that your physician has prescribed. Abusing prescription medications, such as exceeding the recommended dosage, may result in a wide variety of adverse outcomes, including but not limited to the following:
- Respiratory depression and multiple organ failure
- Physiological and physical dependence, as well as addiction
- Indulging in dangerous behaviors such as unprotected sex and drunk driving due to a lack of judgment
- Using illicit substances or pharmaceuticals for recreational purposes while you cannot have your prescriptions refilled
- Participating in illegal activities
How to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse
- Check that you are being prescribed the appropriate medicine. Only pick up medications from a qualified pharmacist if you have a valid prescription from your doctor.
- Consult with your primary care physician first before taking any chemical substance, whether prescription or over-the-counter.
- Always use prescription medicine for the reason it was intended.
- Learn the purpose of the drug you take. Check with your medical professional on the potential for the medicine to have adverse effects and how you are likely to feel while taking it.
- Never use a prescription that a doctor wrote for someone else
- If you must acquire prescription medications online, be sure to do so only from reputable pharmacies.
Get Help with Prescription Drug Addiction at Arrow Passage
A prescription drug overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency that can occur with little warning. You need to be alert to the warning signals of overdose symptoms and move promptly to take action. In most cases, medical attention from a professional is required, and quickly acting might be the difference between life and death.
Help is readily available for those struggling with drug use. Arrow Passage is here to walk you through your recovery journey. Contact us if you have more questions or concerns about our prescription drug rehab and other treatment options. Please don’t wait for any sign of overdose on medicine before taking action. Instead, reach out today for immediate help.