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What Are the Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs?

a man stares at his reflection in his bathroom mirror presumably after abusing common prescription drugs

Prescription drug misuse is all too common in today’s day and age. Millions of people in the United States are battling an addiction to prescription opioids or opiates. This is highly due to the fact that they are more easily accessible than illegal street drugs, and they have a long history of being overprescribed by medical professionals.

The list of commonly abused prescription drugs is long and includes painkillers prescribed after an injury, stimulants to improve attention spans, benzos to treat seizures, and hypnotics to help people sleep. To learn more about prescription drug addiction treatment options, contact us at 760-359-2180.

The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

You might be surprised to know what the most commonly abused prescription drugs actually are. They are not drugs found on the streets, but rather ones that were given to you freely by doctors you trust and available to anyone with access to your bathroom medicine cabinet.

Painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Codeine are synthetic opioids that affect the same part of the brain that street drugs like heroin do. They depress the central nervous system and release chemicals that create a numbing high. It really doesn’t matter if the drug comes from a natural source (opioid) or is chemically manufactured (opiate), as their potential for abuse and addiction is the same.

Stimulants like amphetamines and methylphenidates are drugs that affect the speed of our brain processing. Commonly used to improve attention spans, they can easily be overused and cause dangerous health issues. Long-term use can permanently affect both the heart and respiratory systems.

Depressants include benzos, barbiturates, and hypnotics. Barbiturates are among the highest-risk drugs but are commonly prescribed as a depressant. Along with benzos and hypnotics, barbiturates create a feeling of relaxation and euphoria. Benzos are commonly prescribed to treat insomnia, seizures, anxiety, and panic attacks. Hypnotics are commonly prescribed as a sleep aid, like Ambien.

Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs include:

  • Opioid pain relievers like OxyContin and Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzos
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • Amphetamines
  • Methylphenidate
  • Sleep medications
  • DXM (cough medicine)

What Are the Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?

In many cases, when a person is prescribed medication by their doctor, they never think that they could become addicted. In fact, they may look past even the most obvious signs of drug abuse simply because of the fact that they believe the drug use must be safe if prescribed by a medical professional they trust. It only takes a few days of use for the potential for addiction to present itself.

Some of the general warning signs that you could be abusing prescription drugs include:

  • Problems at home, work, or school
  • Unexplained absences from important engagements
  • Extreme weight loss or change in physical appearance
  • Sudden mood swings and behavioral changes
  • A decline in motivation
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Taking drugs secretively
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Shutting out close friends and surrounding yourself with questionable people
  • Ignoring responsibilities and obligations

Find Effective Prescription Drug Treatment at Palo Verde Wellness

Palo Verde Wellness is able to offer treatment for prescription drug abuse in a healing environment where each individual receives a customized treatment plan designed just for them. Our goal is to provide you with the greatest chance at lifelong recovery. A combination of clinical, holistic, and experiential therapies make up the treatment experience on our campus in Palm Springs. Our clinicians have first had experience dealing with addiction, and many are in recovery themselves.

Programs and services at Palo Verde Wellness include:

  • A 12-step approach
  • Motivational incentives
  • Nutrition education and counseling
  • Yoga Therapy
  • Life skills training
  • LGBTQ-friendly environment
  • Luxury sober living

Contact our team today at 760-359-2180 to see what treatment options are the right fit for you or a loved one, or fill out Palo Verde’s online form, and we will get back to you.