Prescription drugs are often missed by young people in a plethora of ways. The three types of prescription drugs are stimulants, depressants and opioids. Stimulants help in managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder while depressants treat panic, anxiety, and sleep disorders. On the other hand, opioids are typically used to handle severe pain. Misuse has become a large health problem and can lead to addiction and even possible overdose.
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly misused substances by Americans age 14 and older, after marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco (cigarettes). Prescription drugs that effect the brain can cause physical dependence and lead to addiction. Misuse can change the reward system. Changing the reward system makes it harder for a person to feel good without the drug and possibly leading to intense cravings. Intense cravings also make it hard to stop using. A person may need larger doses of the drug to get the same initial effects. This is known as “tolerance.” It is also important to note that not all medications pose a risk for addiction. Prescriptions such as antibiotics or drugs used to treat heartburn are not addictive.
How are prescriptions misused?
What happens to your brain?
When a neurotransmitter attaches itself to a receptor it sends a message to the brain to carry out a function. Each class of prescription drugs works differently on the brain and effect these neurotransmitters.
What happens to your body?
Each class has different effects on the body. When using opioids, you begin to feel sleepy, nauseous, and constipated. At higher doses, opioids can make it hard to breathe. Using stimulants like adderall or ritalin can make you feel paranoid. It can also cause your body temperature to rise and heart begin to beat very quickly. While using depressants, like barbiturates, the drug can cause slurred speech, disorientation, and lack of coordination. People who regularly misuse depressants then stop may experience seizures.
Additionally, misusing OTC (over the counter) drugs that contain DXM can also produce dangerous effects.
Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young. It is very important to know that help is available. Just like all chronic diseases, setbacks happen. It is wise to know that relapse is a very real possibility in recovery. It does not mean that treatment failed, but rather that you need to try again and adjust your treatment plan.
As a teen dealing with addiction, it is important to reach out to your parents or guardian to seek treatment. Be certain to be honest with your loved ones and schedule an appointment with your family doctor to discuss drug use as well as mental health issues you may be experiencing.
To help better understand treatment, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publication and find the best option for your age group https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-adolescent-substance-use-disorder-treatment-research-based-guide/principles-adolescent-substance-use-disorder-treatment