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Prescription Drugs Definition & Overview

Definition

Prescription drug addiction is the compulsive seeking and overuse—despite harmful consequences—of prescription drugs. Addiction can sometimes be difficult to diagnose since patients with chronic pain often do need frequent pain medication, and physical dependence can occur with many drugs taken as prescribed. A drug-addicted body, however, requires the drug regularly to avoid withdrawal symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, and sweating) and to feel good.

Misuse of prescription drugs involves using a medication for a purpose other than which it was prescribed (eg, taking pain medication to aid sleep or ease anxiety , rather than to treat pain). Physical dependence happens with many drugs, even non-addictive drugs, such as corticosteroids and beta-blockers, and is noticeable after a medication is stopped suddenly. Addiction is a much more severe physical dependence and brain disease, marked by an out-of-control need and craving, affecting relationships, and impacting social obligations (eg, work and school).

The most commonly abused prescription drugs are:

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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