Prescriptions Drugs

What are Prescription Drugs?

Prescription drugs are medications that are used to treat pain and certain medical conditions. The benefits for why a person takes prescription medication is generally to alleviate mild to severe pain and to live a more comfortable life.

When prescription drugs are used for purposes other than prescribed, it can become addictive. A person may also use prescription drugs for other reasons than prescribed, for example recreationally, for the effects the drug causes. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 52 million Americans older than 12 have used prescription medications nonmedically at some point in their lives.

Although, a person who abuses prescription medications might think that their habits are not dangerous, taking the pills can result in serious negative consequences or harm. Sometimes, people who abuse these drugs need the help of addiction professionals to recover.

Types of Prescription Medication

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The most common three categories of prescription drugs include opioids, depressants and stimulants. The different types of prescription drugs are:


Opioids are a class of prescription drugs better known as Percocet, Vicodin, Morphine, Codeine, OxyContin, and Percodan. Prescription opioids are medications that are primarily used to treat pain, but they do not treat infections, reduce inflammation, or provide any real physical change to help a person feel better. Rather, these medicines will “trick” your body into ignoring the symptoms of pain to get by and make things a bit easier to manage.

The way that the drug works is by making chemical changes in the brain, by prompting it to produce higher amounts of dopamine, the chemical release of reward and pleasure. These same boosts of dopamine can be incredibly addictive.


Morphine is the major psychoactive chemical which can be found in the opium poppy plant. It is the same plant used to create other commonly abused opiates. As an opiate, morphine is extremely addictive.


Codeine is part of the group of medications called narcotic analgesics that acts on the central nervous system and is used to treat mild to severe pain.


Fentanyl is like morphine and is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic. The difference is that it is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is considered a Schedule II prescription drug and is used in treatment for patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery.


Brand names like Vicodin, are combination prescription opioids that contain hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is used to treat pain and is available in the form of a syrup, pill, capsule, or tablet. Doctors will prescribe this medication to treat patients who suffer from mild to severe pain. When prescribing this medication to a patient it is important to understand that it could lead to abuse.


OxyContin is a powerful prescription drug that is most commonly used for the treatment of postsurgical pain or chronic pain. It is an extended-release version for the narcotic drug oxycodone medicine, which is also the main ingredient in various other drugs, such as Percocet.

Both oxycontin and Vicodin are prescription opioids that when taken frequently are commonly abused and can lead to addiction. The risk in taking these medicines is extremely high, so caution must be taken and one should be aware of the doses to ensure safety.


CNS depressants are medicines that are used for treatment of anxiety or panic disorder. Depressants work by changing chemicals in the brain which slows down the body. They work by adjusting the brain neurotransmitter gamma-amniobutyric acid (GABA). This chemical substance is used in the brain’s communication system.

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Stimulants are medicines used for managing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Central nervous system (CNS) depressants treat panic, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Like the given name, stimulants tend to boost or “stimulate” the brain. These boosts come from the added release of the chemical dopamine in the brain, which has to do with reward, focus and attention.


Adderall is a prescription drug composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is primarily used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. People who take Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, have seen positive effects from the drug such as enhanced attention, focus, and alertness. 

Young adults may use this prescription drug inappropriately, in higher doses or for reasons other than what the drug is prescribed for. Young people in college may use the drugs to stay awake and study for longer periods of time.


Ritalin is a prescription stimulant drug, that is prescribed to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The use of this drug has been linked to episodes of addiction to people in the U.S. and all over the world. Currently, there are no medications approved for the treatment of Ritalin addiction.

Side Effects

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Taking prescription drugs as directed generally does not cause a long list of side effects but taking them in a different form than intended could cause some serious complications. If prescription drugs are taken with other substances, such as alcohol the effects are intensified and could lead to dangerous effects such as overdose or even death.

The most common side effects from taking prescription medicines include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Lack of coordination
  • Disorientation
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Overdose or death (in serious circumstances, especially when combined with alcohol)

In some other cases patients who misuse depressants regularly and then stop suddenly may experience seizures. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms from prescriptions or other substances, please contact a health professional right away.

Dangerous Drug Interactions

Taking prescription drugs in combination with other medicines or drugs can cause serious health concerns depending on the specific drugs you are taking. A pharmacist can tell you what other drugs are safe to use with specific prescription drugs.

Like most drugs, there is potential for dependence and prescription drug abuse. It is important to be aware of the risks, even when a prescription drug is given to you by a doctor. Many pills look the same, so ensuring you know what you are taking is key. It is extremely dangerous to take any pill that you are uncertain about or was not prescribed for you.

Continued use despite negative consequences: Continuing to use the drug or medicines despite how dangerous they are. Engaging in activities that pose risks including stealing, cheating, or participating in uncharacteristic life events

Tolerance: Tolerance means a person needs to use more and more of a drug to feel effects that once came with a smaller dosage of drug use.

Withdrawal: People will experience withdrawal symptoms, for example they feel physically or mentally ill, when they try to stop using the drugs or medication.

Intense focus: For someone like this, nothing is as important as the drug. Family, friends, careers, hobbies, and pets are all less important than using the substance.

Loss of control: An inability to control when the use happens or how much a person takes characterizes a loss of control.

Inability to stop use: It is almost impossible to quit using the drug or medicines, despite how much the person might want to cut back or quit.

Addiction Treatment at La Hacienda Treatment Center

Addiction is a serious health condition that affects many individuals around the world daily. The best way to treat an addiction is to seek treatment at a substance abuse facility that specializes in drug and alcohol abuse.

La Hacienda Treatment Center is a leading drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, located in Hunt, TX and treats patients who are in the grips of a substance abuse and need immediate help. The atmosphere at our facility is serene, calm, and therapeutic, allowing the patient to get to a place of balance. Some of our specific services include medical detox care, prescription drug dependence, treatment for co-occurring disorders, Christian focus groups, family program, therapeutic activities and many others included on our site.

Our dedicated addiction staff will obtain detailed information about the patient before determining a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan. We work together to create an individualized strategy based on the needs of the client. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, including prescription drugs, please contact our staff. We offer a range of services and will work with you and your family to helpb you move towards recovery.