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Illinois Prescription Drug Addiction
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Illinois Prescription Drug Addiction

Many people do not realize that prescription drugs are just as addictive, or more addictive, than many illegal drugs. Illinois prescription drug addiction is becoming an epidemic. In fact, millions of people nationwide are suffering from Illinois prescription drug addiction. However, many do not realize that they can seek out treatment for their addiction. A dependency to prescription drugs is nothing to ignore. Most people do not realize that their seemingly harmless habit has the potential to take a deadly turn. If you have an Illinois prescription drug addiction, treatment centers can help.


Illinois prescription drug addiction is becoming increasingly more common in the state, as well as in the rest of the nation. The Illinois Department of Public Health shows Illinois prescription drug addiction to be a leading substance abuse problem in the state. It affects all ages and backgrounds and often accompanies other deadly drug or alcohol dependencies. The Illinois poison center has recently released reports revealing that prescription drug overdoses now outnumber those deaths caused by cocaine and heroin combined. Illinois prescription drug addiction is a widespread problem in Illinois and it must be controlled.


What Is Illinois Prescription Drug Abuse?


Many people are unaware of the many ways in which prescription drugs may be abused. In fact, when a person first begins to abuse prescription medication, they often do not realize or believe that they are abusing the drug. Instead, they may think that they are using the drug in an appropriate and necessary way, or that they are just having recreational fun with no potential for negative consequences of any kind, let alone the development of an addiction. However, there are numerous behaviors that could constitute Illinois prescription drug abuse.


In general terms, Illinois prescription drug abuse can be defined as the misuse and overuse of a prescription drug. However, to fully understand this, a few detailed scenarios are necessary. First and foremost, if a person uses a prescription medication that has not been prescribed by a licensed professional, this is considered abuse. Even if this person believes that they are using the drug appropriately for a medical condition, without a legitimate prescription from a doctor or other medical professional, they are abusing the drug.


Additionally, if a person with a prescription to the drug is taking the drug in higher doses than originally intended by a medical professional, this can also be considered Illinois prescription drug abuse. Overusing a particular medication can cause anyone to develop a dangerous dependency.


Regardless of if a person has a prescription for the medication or not, taking the substance in a way that was not intended by a doctor also reflects abuse. For example, snorting or injecting a substance that should be swallowed is a sign of substance abuse. Shooting up or crushing a pill into powder form allows the drug to produce a quicker and more intense high. This high is usually only sought out by irresponsible recreational users, as it can be associated with both mental and physical health risks.


Common Drugs of Abuse


There are certain types of drugs that are more often abused than others, due to the type of high they produce. Some of the most common prescription drugs of abuse include:


Prescription Opiates


An opiate is a type of prescription medication that is extremely addictive and has powerful effects on the brain and body. These drugs, also known as opioids or narcotics, are developed from a substance found in the opium poppy plant. They are often prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain because they block pain receptors from receiving pain signals from the nervous system. In addition to blocking out pain, opiates also slow a person’s rate of breathing and their heart rate. This results in feelings of relaxation and calm. Opiates can cause a person to feel euphoric because of a large release of dopamine in the brain. Yet, this euphoric state is quickly accompanied with adverse effects.  


Examples of Opiates


  • OxyContin
  • Codeine
  • Vicodin
  • Demerol
  • Morphine


Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Abuse


  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Abnormal sleep patterns
  • Financial trouble
  • Legal issues
  • Seizures
  • Trouble at work/school
  • Constricted pupils
  • Lethargy and tiredness


Withdrawal Symptoms


  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Fever or chills 


Prescription Sedatives


Sedatives are drugs that are designed specifically to slow or suppress the activities performed by the central nervous system. What this means is that the drugs are designed to calm activities in the brain and body. Because of these effects, the drugs are most often prescribed for the calming and relaxing effects that they have upon the mind and body. Conditions that may require prescription sedatives include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic and acute anxiety.


Examples of Sedatives


  • Xanax
  • Klonopin
  • Ativan
  • Ambient
  • Valium


Signs and Symptoms of Sedative Abuse


  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Increased anxiety
  • Financial and legal problems
  • Work and school issues
  • Loss of interest in previous activities
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow breathing and heart rate


Withdrawal Symptoms


  • Irritability
  • Anger/Aggression
  • Sleep disturbances such as nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Hallucinations


Prescription Stimulants


Prescription stimulants are a type of drug that has the opposite effect of sedatives or opiates. Instead of trying to slow things down in the nervous system, these drugs excite (or stimulate) the nervous system into action. Surprisingly, this has an effect of increased attention, focus, and even retention (memory). As such, prescription stimulants are often used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). They may also be used to treat seizures or seizure disorders. These drugs also have effects such as increased energy and a loss of appetite as well as insomnia and sleeping difficulties.


Stimulant Examples


  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Biphentin
  • Concerta


Signs and Symptoms of Stimulant Abuse


  • Increased heart rate
  • Faster breathing
  • Manic behavior
  • Insomnia
  • High energy levels
  • Sudden energy crashes
  • Appetite changes
  • Paranoia


Withdrawal Symptoms


  • Increased paranoia
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Aggression and violence
  • Excessive sleepiness and exhaustion


Health Risks from Illinois Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction


Short-term Health Risks


  • Increased blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations and arrhythmias
  • Psychosis


Long-term Health Risks


  • Heart problems or failure
  • Kidney or liver damage
  • Respiratory illness
  • Increased risk of certain cancers
  • Transmission of bloodborne pathogens (hepatitis, HIV, etc…)


Treatment Options


For any Illinois prescription drug addiction, the first step of treatment is detoxification. Detox removes toxins from the body that substance abuse has left behind. It is vital that the addict be clean and sober before treatment continues. Medical detox is the best way to go through the detox process. During medical detox a doctor can treat any withdrawal symptoms that may become too severe and potentially fatal. They may use approved medications in order to make the detox process gradual rather than sudden, further reducing the chance of severe reactions.


After detox, the addict will continue with individual and group therapies. In addition to those forms of therapy, a recovering addict may engage in other treatments such as art and music therapy, restorative yoga, family therapy and SMART Recovery.


You do not have to deal with an addiction to prescription drugs on your own. Treatment programs are readily available to help you overcome your addiction and regain control of your life. It is never too late to make the decision to turn your life around and get the treatment that you deserve and so desperately need.