Prescription Drug Abuse Withdrawals
Prescription drugs are chemical substances that are issued with instruction for use to treat illnesses and afflictions. Mostly referred to as medication, prescription drugs are only meant to be taken by the people they have been prescribed to in the quantities and frequencies that the doctor/ qualified personnel has instructed.
Generally, drugs are chemical substances which alter the chemical composition of cells in the body and mind; in effect altering their functions. Different drugs have different effects in the body and mind depending on their chemical composition, the dosages they have been taken in and the means of administration into the body.
There are two major drug categorizations: prescription/ medicinal value versus recreational drugs and depending on the effects they have on the body and mind.
Under the category of the effects that drugs have on the body and mind are: stimulants – which speed up brain and central nervous system functions, depressants, which slow the same, and hallucinogens which affect cognitive processes, altering thinking.
Under the medicinal value category of drugs there is: prescription drugs and recreational drugs (which contain a lot of the so called hard drugs). Prescription drugs are prescribed for minor and major ailments and only qualified medical personnel has the disposition to authorize what doses of the drug should be taken and for how long (after a medical examination – verbal or physical). Recreational drugs are only taken for the effects they have on the body and mind and such drugs include alcohol and cigarettes (which have less legal restrictions) and illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana and phencyclidine etc.
Prescription drugs are supposed to be taken in the quantities, intervals, for treating ailments and the period they have been prescribed. Any use of the drug against the doctor’s instructions is abuse. To be specific, prescription abuse comprise:
- Too much intake of the drug against what has been prescribed
- Taking the drug in a shorter intervals than instructed
- Mixing the drug and taking it together with other substances that amplify or reduce its effects, not to mention substances which may combine with the drug to make another compound that is more harmful to the body and mind than the drug itself
- Altering the original form of the drug and administering it in a different manner
Prescription abuse and addiction
Some prescription drugs can be habit forming which can be worsened by abuse – unregulated intake of these drugs. These medications alter the chemical composition of cells in the body and mind and as such, prolonged use can increase tolerance and develop physical dependence.
Addiction is a physical and mental compulsion for the drug; distinguished by its ability to trigger withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withdrawn. Addiction to prescription drugs keeps one hooked to the drug and the effects keep affecting the body and mind adversely which disables one/ hinders one from functioning normally; to take care of themselves and others.
Drug withdrawal is the process or act of stopping intake of a drug that one has been taking. Withdrawal is deemed fit because it helps the body eliminate drug residue that is in the system and thus save the body and mind from the adverse effects of that drug.
Withdrawal is usually part of the addiction treatment. Treatment of prescription drugs addiction and dependence involves two major processes; one being the detox and the other being therapy.
Detox, or drug detoxification is the process through which a person is assisted to stop further intake of the drug (withdraw from the drug) to help the body eliminate all the toxic residue of the drug in the body. Detoxification, almost always, will also include the use of a drug with similar effects on the body and mind to help deal with withdrawal symptoms of the drug one is trying to get off.
Withdrawal of the drug should be done gradually to prevent a violent onset of withdrawal symptoms which can be fatal to the body. A gradual withdrawal of the drug ensures that the exhibited withdrawal symptoms are monitored and handled effectively and on time without hurting the body and mind.
The use of the other medication for treating withdrawal symptoms, should only be chosen and used depending on the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. If used for a prolonged period of time, this other drug should also not be stopped abruptly as the body and mind might have developed some dependence on it and an abrupt withdrawal might cause withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from any drug, which is constantly used, is the only way to avoid developing further dependence and increasing its toxicity in the body.