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Long-Term Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

a woman in a hoodie sits down on the ground leaning against a wall appear upset over learning the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse

While prescription drugs seem less harmless because the FDA regulates them, they can have detrimental long-term effects. Unfortunately, prescription drugs can be easy to abuse and highly addictive. Like any addictive substance, prescription drugs like Vicodin, OxyContin, Xanax, and Adderall alter a person’s brain chemistry. This can cause serious health problems, especially when these medications are not taken as prescribed. Medication misuse is best managed through prescription drug addiction treatment which helps clients find holistic alternatives to self-soothing with prescription drugs.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the side effects of prescription drug abuse, you are not alone. Our team is here to help you recover and thrive. A Better State provides holistic trauma-informed prescription drug addiction treatment in New Hampshire. You get the support you need without sacrificing your schedule with daytime and evening partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). Call us now at 781.412.1488 to learn more about the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse.

What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drugs are designed to be taken with specific instructions. Dosage, a patient’s weight, and the time a drug is effective all factor into prescription directions. Unfortunately, for many people, the effects of a prescription can decrease. This is called “drug tolerance.”

Doctors may alter prescriptions and combine prescriptions to make a drug more effective. However, some may choose to self-medicate and adjust dosages on their own. Prescription medications that alter brain chemistry and change how someone feels or experiences the world can ease psychological, physical, and emotional pain. Unfortunately, without healing these underlying issues, prescriptions only serve as a band-aid that can lead to substance use.

Prescription medications alter brain chemistry by releasing dopamine and other chemicals. While the brain makes dopamine daily, extra dopamine from prescription drugs can cause someone to crave more. This is called the “dopamine reward effect,” which makes it harder for someone to stop a medication or avoid addiction. Prescription drug use occurs when someone does not follow prescription directions. This includes mixing pills, combining pills with alcohol, and seeking multiple prescriptions. These are all signs it’s time to get help before long-term health effects take their toll.

Long-Term Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

Side effects of prescription drugs vary. Some medications, like Adderall, speed up messages from the brain to the body and can cause rapid heartbeat and anxiety, while others slow the nervous system. This can lead to confusion, constipation, and fatigue. When taken short-term, many side effects will disappear when someone stops taking a prescription. Unfortunately, when abused long-term, prescription drugs can have lasting effects, including:

  • Changes in brain chemistry
  • Difficulty understanding objects in space
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Mental health problems
  • Organ damage
  • Other substance abuse
  • Self-harm

Opioids can be some of the most difficult medications to stop abusing. Benzos can have some of the most lasting effects on someone’s ability to carry on conversations, understand language, and function in daily life. Unfortunately, when someone stops taking prescription medications alone, it’s easy to relapse, overdose, and suffer prescription drug-related death.

Treatment Can Help with Prescription Drug Addiction Side Effects

Prescription drug abuse can happen quickly, especially for those struggling with mental health and unprocessed trauma. Studies show that at least half of people struggling with substance abuse also have mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. At A Better State, we believe in a different approach to prescription drug treatment. Instead of treating symptoms of addiction and mental health conditions, we help clients uncover and treat the root cause of prescription drug addiction. With a focus on trauma-informed treatment, our programs are here to help you thrive. Our team specializes in the following:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Art therapy
  • Evidence-based therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy

With daytime and evening IOP and PHP programs, our New Hampshire clinic has a program to help you stop prescription drug abuse before it’s too late.

Learn More About the Side Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse from A Better State

Are you worried about prescription drugs? Is someone in your life struggling with abuse? Contact us now at 781.412.1488 to learn more about the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse and our addiction treatment plans.