Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment, What Is It and When Is It Needed?
After alcohol and marijuana, prescription drugs are the most abused drugs in America, among people 14 years and older. Teen prescription drug abuse treatment is needed for the use of any drug outside the specific prescription limits including the use of a drug without a prescription. Therefore, abuse includes taking someone else’s medication or taking the medication for the “high,” rather than the intended purpose. It’s important to understand that though prescription drugs are not illegal substances, using drugs that were prescribed for someone else, or using them differently than they were prescribed, is illegal and has serious health risks, including addiction. As of 2011, 25% of people who started taking non-prescribed medication at 13 years or younger were addicted at some point in their lives.
The three most common prescription drugs abused are: opioids, stimulants, and depressants. Sometimes over-the-counter drugs, which don’t need a prescription, are also abused by being purchased and taken for reasons outside of the intended use.
What It Looks Like
Teen prescription drug abuse can look very different, according to each individual situation. However, there are some general factors and symptoms that reveal the danger and nature of prescription drug abuse, as a whole.
First of all, one of the biggest problems and dangers of people taking medicine that wasn’t prescribed for them, is they most likely do not have proper information on the drug (such as possible side effects) nor how the drug might potentially affect them (according to such personal data as weight, other medications, and their likelihood of becoming addicted). When prescribing medication, a doctor takes many different factors into consideration, both in deciding the correct medicine and the proper dosage. By ignoring such considerations, people are putting themselves at risk for negative health effects including seizures, coma, or even death.
Secondly, medication dosage is prescribed according to a Doctor’s knowledge of how the drug works, and the timeline along which the medication affects the body. When people administer prescription drugs to themselves, without a complete understanding of how the drug works, they’re putting themselves at risk for adverse, unintended effects, increased side effects, and overdose.
Lastly, people who abuse prescription drugs are likely to develop addiction. These drugs are potent and the prescriptions are put in place for a reason, both to treat the intended ailment, as well as protect the patient from addiction or harm. However, because people abusing the drugs are operating outside of these limits, they’re likely taking the drugs more often and in larger quantities than advised, therefore putting themselves at risk to develop a dependency and even addiction. Teen prescription drug abuse is as serious an addiction as any, and can lead to disruptive, problematic effects in all areas of the person’s life. Beyond this, addiction becomes a serious illness that makes the treatment needed a much more serious endeavor.
Similar for treatment for any sort of substance abuse, the most effective treatment addresses the physical, mental, and behavioral effects of the drug abuse. Because addiction can occur so easily and severely in users, it’s common to need oversight and support, especially while stopping use, as well as experiencing any symptoms of withdrawal from the substance. Therapists can provide this support by assuring that this transition is as manageable as possible, which will help people through this first challenging stage, as quickly as possible.
There are also a number of mental and behavioral considerations that therapists help people address, including the underlying reasons as to why they began using in the first place, and what factors led to the continued use to the point of addiction. Even in cases where a person may have been prescribed the medicine to begin with, but then began abusing the drug by using it beyond its intended scope or use, a therapist will help the person to address what this process involved. And, in order to not return to using the drug, therapists will help people to create healthy and useful habits and resources to turn to as ways to deal with stress, conflict, or other life situations, so that they feel empowered to make positive decisions, without needing the substance to cope.
What if I just use a drug once in a while, to help me with school?
Even if you’re just using a prescription drug once in a while, because they’re such strong drugs, you’re risking negative health effects and addiction. If you need help concentrating or staying focused in school, you should make an appointment with a doctor to see if you should get the help of a prescribed medicine, or if not, there may be other healthy options to help you. Overall, the risk of becoming addicted, and all the consequences that entails, far outweighs the temporary benefit of what you view as positive effects.