Can Age Affect Your Risk For Prescription Drug Addiction?

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Prescription drug abuse is increasingly common, with nearly half of people reporting misusing prescription drugs between the ages of 18 to 50. Recent research shows that a person’s age may affect their risk for developing a prescription drug addiction.

Does Age Affect Risk Of Prescription Drug Addiction

Recent studies in the U.S. have pointed to people being at higher risk for developing substance use disorders if they have abused prescription drugs in the past.

There are several risk factors that can lead someone to drug addiction later in life, including peer pressure, mental health disorders, genetics, and environmental factors.

Here you’ll learn more about:

  • how age affects substance use disorders
  • the most commonly misused prescription drugs
  • symptoms associated with the abuse of prescription drugs
  • current treatment options for substance abuse

How Does Age Affect Your Risk For An Addiction?

New findings suggest that prescription drug abuse at any age, including in young people, can lead to substance use disorders later in life.

The recent study is the first to look at the effects of prescription drug misuse over a 32-year period. The substances included in the study were opioids, stimulants, and various sedatives.

Researchers found that 94 percent of the people who misused prescriptions frequently were at 70 percent greater risk during middle adulthood to develop two or more substance use disorder symptoms.

To contrast this, only 26 percent of people that did not have a history of prescription drug abuse had substance use disorder symptoms between the ages of 35-50.

These findings show that one way to reduce a person’s risk of addiction to prescription drugs would be to increase screening during adolescence.

This way, high-risk people can be identified and treated before an addiction problem persists.

Other Risk Factors For Prescription Drug Addiction

One study conducted by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that over a million Americans aged 12 years and older experience prescription drug addiction.

Those at greatest risk included older adults, females, people in poor health, and people who drank alcohol daily.

In this study, the risk factors for prescription drug abuse were less for people at a young age (under 25) and for people who had full-time employment.

Commonly Misused Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse occurs when a person uses a medication without a prescription, or in a way other than it was intended to be used.

Drugs used to treat chronic pain, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety are the most commonly misused medications, second only to cannabis when it comes to overall rate of abuse.

The types of prescription medications most frequently abused:

  • opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin)
  • sleep medications such as Ambien and Lunesta
  • ADHD stimulants such as amphetamine salts (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin)

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has stated that misconceptions that prescriptions are less harmful than illegal drugs has led to their increased rate of abuse.

Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse

If you suspect that a loved one may be abusing prescription drugs, you may be wondering what kind of symptoms to look for.

Symptoms associated with prescription drug misuse include:

  • people taking opioids inappropriately may exhibit drowsiness, poor coordination, and intense cravings for high dosages
  • anti-anxiety medications such as Ambien will make people confused, unable to concentrate, and have an unsteady walk
  • stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin may cause agitation, anxiety, paranoia, and impulsivity

Causes Of Prescription Drug Abuse

The root causes of addiction are hard to pin down because they are different for everybody. However, risk-taking behavior is most common among teens and young adults.

People abuse prescription drugs for a variety of reasons, including:

Effective Treatment Options For Drug Use Disorders

There are several addiction treatment programs throughout the U.S. that specialize in the withdrawal symptoms and health problems that may arise from prescription drug abuse.

It’s important that when you look for prescription drug use treatment that you find a program that takes an evidence-based approach.

Research-based addiction treatment services may include:

  • detoxification services for methamphetamine
  • dual diagnosis treatment for mental health issues
  • counseling for family members
  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • inpatient rehab programs

Find Treatment Services For Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug abuse can be detrimental to people of any age. Call our helpline today for more information on addiction treatment specialists and treatment options in your area.

For 24/7 Treatment Help Call:
(888) 859-4403

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