Under normal circumstances, you would consume prescription drugs as directed by your doctor and would not suffer from any severe consequences. However, for a specific group of people, this is not a simple process. After receiving their medications, these individuals may consume excessive amounts of the drug or continue taking the medication when it is no longer necessary. This behavior is a sign of an underlying problem that a multitude of Americans experiences on a daily basis: prescription drug abuse and addiction. While specialists cannot immediately determine if you are a potential abuser, medical professionals have determined that certain groups of people may be more susceptible to this deadly habit than others. Here is a closer look at risk factors for prescription drug abuse.
Drug Abuse vs. Addiction
Before we look at these criteria, let’s determine the main differences between abuse and addiction:
- Drug addiction occurs when you feel an instinctive or programmed urge to consume a drug, despite negative repercussions (e.g. overdose, side effects). Potentially addictive drugs can stimulate the release of dopamine in the reward center of your brain, resulting in a rush of energy (also called a “high”). In this sense, your body and mind have been trained to crave more of this sensation.
- Drug abuse happens when people take excessive amounts of drugs (greater than the recommended dose or the legal limit) to achieve a “high” or a sensation of relaxation. Unlike addicts, drug abusers can recover from their deadly habit without repercussions. Addicts are not labeled as abusers.
Risk Factors for Prescription Drug Abuse
Doctors cannot definitively tell you if you will become an addict or an abuser outright. However, healthcare professionals have proposed that certain genetic and environmental factors could potentially increase your risk for either illness:
- Family History: If one or more of your family members has suffered from addiction or abuse, you may have inherited a predisposition for this behavior. Medical studies suggest a person’s genetic code is a major determining factor for addiction.
- Age: Research has indicated that 12% of juveniles and young adults (ages 18 to 25) may be more likely to experiment with drugs.
- History of Mental Illness: Like addiction itself, if your family members have a history of mental illnesses, you may have a high risk of addiction. For example, if you suffer from anxiety or depression, you may find resolve in the calming effects of prescription drugs.
- Easy Access: If you can access prescription medications, you are already placing yourself at a great risk for developing a problem, particularly if you meet the criteria of family history of addiction and mental illness.
- Recent Addiction Problems: Obviously, if you have suffered from addiction, you are already more likely to develop additional problems than other people.
Always remember that drugs do not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a form of drug addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Oue counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug abuse or addiction troubles today.