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West Virginia Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is a form of substance use disorder that causes harm to many addicts and their loved ones annually. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources officials stated that in 2014, West Virginia prescription drug addiction caused around 31 deaths out of every 100,000 people. The overdose rate for West Virginia was higher than in any other state during 2014. According to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the state of West Virginia had more than double the drug overdose death rate than the national average that was 13.4 deaths per 100,000 people.

What is prescription drug addiction?

People who suffer from prescription drug addiction in West Virginia typically abuse prescription medication such as amphetamines or opiates (painkillers). For prescription drugs to be abused, the user needs to consume the drug in a method that is not prescribed or if the dosage as stated by the prescription is exceeded. Prescription drug addicts can frequently be seen seeking the same prescription from multiple doctors to fuel their drug needs.


What causes prescription drug addiction?

Prescription drug addiction occurs when the user becomes physically dependent on the substance that they are repeatedly abusing. Although it is not as frequent in its occurrence, prescription drug addiction has been known to occur as early as the initial abuse of the drug. Regardless of how long the addiction has lasted, it is always treatable by means of drug treatment programs such as the ones found at inpatient, outpatient and partial hospitalization centers.

A physical dependence occurs when a person’s body becomes accustomed to functioning while having the abused substance in it. This causes the user to suffer withdrawal symptoms upon ceasing consumption of the drug that can lead them to abusing the substance again in order to self-medicate their suffering. People who have a physical dependence tend to feel like they are not able to get through an average day without abusing substances. Physical addictions are known to cause addicts to gradually increase the dosage of their abused substance due to their body building a tolerance to it. This can result in dangerous side effects such as overdose and death.

People can also be mentally dependent on a substance whereby they feel like they cannot get through an average day without self-medicating. People who have a mental dependence typically repeat a cycle of substance abuse due to emotional problems such as extreme depression or anxiety that may be experienced once consumption of the drug is ceased. People who suffer from a mental dependence do not necessarily suffer from physical withdrawal symptoms such as shivering and muscle pains but they still self-medicate repeatedly to improve their mood and state of mind.

What are the common prescription drugs of abuse?

Prescription drugs can be broken up into three main categories: stimulants, sedatives and opiates. Below is a list of the categories with descriptions of each and examples of the medications that are abused:

∙         Opiates: Opiates are typically prescribed to patients for the relief of severe pain. Vicodin, Oxycontin, morphine and Codeine are all types of opiates that are widely abused by people aged 12 and older across America. According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources officials, out of the 628 drug overdoses in West Virginia during 2014, more than half of them were related to prescription painkiller abuse.

∙         Stimulants: Stimulants are intended to help patients who suffer from mental illnesses that affect one’s ability to focus, such as ADD (attention deficit disorder). Metadate, Ritalin, Concerta and Focalin are a few of the medications that are frequently abused by prescription drug addicts. If these medications are abused, they can have an effect on the user resulting in a feeling of euphoria that is commonly referred to as getting “high”. Stimulants are sometimes used to treat cases of depression if other treatments prove to be ineffective.

∙         Sedatives: Sedatives are also known as depressants. They are prescribed to patients with sleeping disorders or anxiety problems. The medications typically have a tranquilizing effect on the user causing it to be widely abused. Valium, Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin are some of the sedatives that are frequently abused.

Symptoms of prescription drug abuse

Some of the symptoms that are displayed by prescription drug abusers can be seen in any type of addict regardless of the substance abused. These symptoms include a general decline in their appearance, an inability to focus as well as withdrawal from social interactions to hide their addiction.  Below is a list of specific symptoms that may be evident depending on which prescription drug is abused:

∙         Stimulants: Stimulant abuse can cause an increase in body temperature and blood pressure as well as heart palpitations. Some other symptoms that may be evident include dilation of the addict’s pupils, breathlessness and a sudden but temporary increase in physical activity because of the increased energy they feel.

∙         Sedatives: Sedatives can leave users with a lack of energy, inability to focus during important events such as meetings or appointments and a decline in their self-awareness and physical appearance. People who abuse sedatives typically appear tired more frequently despite sleeping an appropriate amount on a daily basis.

∙         Opiates: Opiate abuse can result in severe and sudden mood swings that can be accompanied by physical side effects such as nausea, constipation, breathlessness and confusion.


What are the treatment options for West Virginia prescription drug addiction?

People who have fallen victim to West Virginia prescription drug addiction can complete a drug treatment plan such as outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation programs that are designed to treat people who are suffering from substance use disorder. During the treatment program, patients typically complete behavioral therapy and alternative treatments such as biofeedback and equine therapy. Furthermore, relapse prevention skills are taught to patients during their treatment programs so that they are able to further maintain their abstinence during and post-treatment.

Recovery from prescription drug addiction can be difficult, but it is possible with a motivation to succeed. Completing a drug treatment program at drug rehabilitation centers is strongly recommended because it gives an individual a much higher chance of success by receiving help from professionals who have experience in treating substance use disorder. Get in touch with an addiction specialist today if you or someone you know is suffering from prescription drug addiction. Finally live the fulfilling life you’ve been searching for.