Prescription medications are an important part of treating many health issues and are used effectively by millions of people; however, when misused they become a problem instead of a solution. “Misuse” is when a person uses a prescription drug that is not intended for them, or uses a prescription in a way that is different than how the doctor indicated. The numbers are staggering: 12.5 million people misuse opioid pain relievers, 6.1 million misuse tranquilizers, 5.3 million misuse stimulants, and 1.5 million misuse sedatives.
Opioid pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives all have the potential to lead to addiction. Prescription drug misuse may cause people to experience symptoms of mental health disorders or sleep or sexual troubles. These symptoms generally improve after a person stops using the drugs, but may take a month or more to go away completely. Drugs that slow down or calm people can cause symptoms of depression when misused. If a person goes into withdrawal from these drugs, they are likely to have anxiety. Drugs that act as stimulants can cause symptoms of psychotic and anxiety disorders when misused. If a person goes into withdrawal from stimulants, they are likely to have symptoms of major depression.
Persons misusing these drugs should seek professional medical advice. Addiction treatment is a covered benefit of our benefit plans.