Prescription Drug Addiction
Addiction is marked by an out-of-control need and craving that affects relationships and social obligations, such as work and school. Prescription medications are drugs given to treat a certain condition. Prescription drug addiction is the compulsive seeking and overuse of prescription medications despite harmful consequences. Some medications have a higher risk of addiction. Even with proper use they are associated with alterations in the pathways in the brain. These pathways influence sense of reward and well-being which can influence addiction.
Medication abuse is inappropriate use of medicine. It may include taking higher dose than recommended, snorting pills, mixing with other drugs and alcohol or using medication for wrong reason (such as using pain medication for sleep). Medication (drug) abuse may only develop because of addiction or the addiction may develop after abuse of a medication.
There are certain prescription drugs that are commonly abused because they are more likely to prompt addiction. These drugs include:
Opioids—used to treat pain, medication examples include
Central nervous system depressants—used to treat
sleep disorders, medication examples include
Stimulants—used to treat
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, medication examples include
The reasons people become addicted to prescription drugs are largely unknown. It is most likely due to a combination of factors. The following may play a role in prescription medication addiction:
- Genetic factors
- Altered pathways in brain caused by addicting medications
- Peer pressure and personality traits
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Last reviewedMarch 2013by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.