When you abuse prescription drugs you are over stimulating regions of your brain that control the pleasure center, emotions, motivations and the movement areas in particular. The neurotransmitter, dopamine, overstimulates the reward section of your brain, as much as ten times that of other normal pleasurable behaviors such as eating or sex.
This is the reward pathway. Given the strength of this reward system, it is easy to see why your behavior, as an addict, lends itself to repetition. The addicted brain continues going back for more, knowing the painful results. Addiction also changes the way the addicted brain functions and once altered it is difficult to change back. Over time and through repeating this cycle of behavior, your body’s natural production of dopamine is reduced and depends upon stimulation through additional drug use for that same level of reward. Over time, the addicted brain seeks additional stimulation to achieve the same results.
Prescription drug addiction is a disease and only recently has been categorized as a brain disease. Most diseases, including prescription drug abuse, have protocols for treatment. Treatment is the best approach and is synonymous with choosing life. Healing the physical damage to your addicted brain is an essential component of your treatment.
Drug addiction is not due to your failed willpower or a weak character though some, even in the medical profession, still ascribe to this notion. There may be a genetic predisposition but addiction is a disease. Using prescribed treatment methods is the best approach and can yield success. Through application of known treatment, the addicted brain can be healed.
Prescription drug addiction can be difficult to overcome, as you know. If you do not slowly taper off the usage in a clinical environment, you can go into seizure or even die, depending on the abused drug.
We all know that successful treatment has been limited and not always available. Use of antagonists, that block the effect of the abused drug has been used to minimize relapse and with success. Some of the side effects have complicated treatment.