There are three classes of medications that may increase the risk of severe substance use disorder.
Opioid painkillers are often a gateway for many people who suffer from drug use or alcohol abuse problems. Addictions to medications such as fentanyl, OxyContin or morphine often make people seek other substances if they’re unable to access the original medication that led them down the path of substance use.
Stimulants are prescription medications doctors prescribe to treat ADHD and similar mental health disorders. If you’re required to take stimulants for a long time, you could develop a physical or psychological dependence on them. Some people use stimulants for other purposes, such as weight loss, to get high or because the brain’s reward system calms them when they take their next dose.
Taking drugs meant for ADHD when you don’t suffer from the condition can have negative consequences, especially on your heart, brain and nervous system.
These medications are used to help people relax, such as when they suffer from anxiety, PTSD or insomnia. Prescription medicines used to treat these conditions aren’t meant to be used long-term because it’s possible to develop dependence. They offer relief from mental health problems long enough for people to seek the therapy they need and address the underlying cause of their anxiety or restlessness.
Your mental health professional may monitor your progress with a depressant to make sure you aren’t tempted to misuse drugs as a coping mechanism.