Parallels of Grief and Loss- Related to Prescription Drug Addiction


According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health , the percentage of adult youth that use non-medical prescription drugs was 5%, 5.3% and 4.8% in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively. The survey also determined that the period between 2002 and 2010 recorded lower rates ranging from 5.5 to 6.5%. However, among the adults with ages of 26 and above, the rate of using non-medical prescription in 2013 was 7.3% and 7% in 2012. In this category, the rates were lower between 2002 and 2011 which recorded a range of between 5.5% and 6.6%. Analytically, it is clear from the above survey that the rates of drug abuse is higher among the young adults than the adults of over 26 years. Additionally, the above survey indicates that the rate of prescription drug misuse has been increasing from 2002. The percentage of individuals misusing prescription drugs have been increasing from that time. In this regard, it can be assumed that rate of prescription drug misuse will increase exponentially in the next decade. However, it is important to note that the major causes of this problem are related to grief and loss in life. Addicted individuals are mainly from the category of people that have suffered from loss of loved ones or property in life.

Grief consists of sorrow that results from the death of a loved one in life. It is notable that the pain of losing a loved one in life can have adverse effects in the lives of people. In this regard, individuals that have lost their relatives or friends tend to face pain during such moments. The pain can have emotional consequences such as depression, anxiety, or anger disorders. However, it is medically possible to alleviate or reduce the impacts of such pain through the administration of prescription drugs from the doctors. Drugs such an opioids have the ability to relax the brain muscles leading to reduction in anxiety, stress and depression. Individuals with such subscriptions from the doctors receive dosages of these drugs that details the number of times they should use them. According to Fine, Mahajan, and McPherson, opioid therapy used in the management of noncancerous pain has been widely approved due to the awareness from data publications that demonstrate its efficacy in various pain condition such as neuropathic pain, osteoarthritis, and the lower back pain.

However, it is important to note, these drugs can be addictive especially if the users develop the habit of frequently using them in life. It should be noted that these drugs bring a relaxation to the body organs that makes it easy for those taking them to get addicted. Despite these addictions, it is clear that they are not curative. They are mainly used to manage anxiety disorders. In other cases, such addictions have caused death among the victims. It is worth noting anxiety medicine among the individuals that have suffered loss and grief can be dangerous especially if the persons suffer from other diseases such as cancer. As a result, individuals suffering from grief are highly at risk of death when they get addicted to the anxiety, stress and depression medicines.


Purpose of Review

Significance of Identifying Grief and Loss

The study will aim at investigating how prescription drug addiction can be reduced among individuals suffering from grief and loss. It is clear that grief and loss are inevitable in life. In this regard, individuals are continually going to face these situations in life. The prescription drugs given to such individuals when facing grief and loss can be highly addictive. However, if left unchecked, this kind of addiction would lead to drug overdose and ultimate death of adults in the society. Additionally, the review will be help in understanding the use and effects of opioids by the individuals suffering from loss and grief. Arguably, while there are limited literature sources that talk about how grief and loss lead to addiction to prescription drugs, the available materials of on the subject discuss about specific drugs such as opioids and how they increase addiction. According to Deneshvari et al., using opioids in noncancerous pain treatment has increased tremendously over the past years due to under-treatment of this pain. The authors also indicate that there have been recorded increases in the deaths related to misuse and about of opioids. As a result, this review will help to shed light on how opioids has affected individuals suffering from loss and grief with respect to addiction to the addiction to prescription drugs. Arguably, this information is relevant in social work profession since it provides social workers with adequate information that can help to monitor individuals dealing with loss and grief. The social workers can monitor and regulate their dosage of opioids to ensure that victims do not overdose leading to death. Additionally, the information will help the social workers to provide moral support to these victims of loss and grief as a way of providing alternative treatment method other than the prescription drugs.

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Significance of Abuse and Addiction

The purpose of the current review is also to investigate ways of stopping misuse and abuse of prescription drugs for individuals that are addicted and how mechanisms can be employed to stop this problem in the society. As a result, this review is intended to produce probable causes of misuse of prescription drugs among this category of people. There is limited current literature that provides information regarding how abuse and addiction among individuals suffering from grief and loss can be stopped. In this regard, the information in this review will provide an avenue for social workers in various organizations to formulate intervention measures that can help the victims of these drugs. Consequently, the social workers can formulate ways of ensuring public awareness about this problem. They can also contact the government and present their findings regarding this developing problem within the American society. In this regard, it would be possible for the social workers to push the government to create and implement policies that can be used within the medical industry to stop addictions from prescription drugs. Similarly, the social workers will provide information to the government to help in finding ways of capturing and rehabilitating the addicted individuals in the society.

Literature Review

Key Terms: Emotional support involves moral guidance and a demonstration of affection and love for individuals suffering from grief and loss. Grief is a negative emotion resulting from a tragic incident in life. Loss is used to refer to a consequence of something or someone leaving a persons life. Prescription drugs are medicines for dealing with grief and loss that are given to individuals suffering from grief.

Goodwin and Stein conducted a study to investigate the existing relationship between various anxiety disorders and the dependence on substances. They used U.S. adult population data from National Comorbidity Survey for individuals between the ages of 15 and 54. In their findings, they noted that substance abuse temporarily precedes anxiety disorders. They concluded that for any anxiety disorder, there is substance abuse that occurred subsequent to the anxiety. Additionally, they noted that there is an existing evidence to prove that some associations that exist between the dependence of subscription drugs and anxiety. According to them, these relations are independent of sex effects and comorbid disorders. They could be naturally causal and deserving of a given attention within the clinical settings. Lastly, they indicate that there is need to address various mechanism of relations of anxiety with different substances in the future studies.

Manchikanti and Singh in their study noted that the abuse and use of therapeutic opioids alongside nonmedical usage of the other psychotherapeutic drugs reveal an exponential growth in the last few years leading to massive controversies. They indicate that despite contributing only 4.6% of the worlds population, Americans consume an approximate 80% of the worlds opioid supply, as well as 99% of the global hydrocodone. The authors also consume at least two-thirds of worlds illegal drugs. They add that the increased use of the therapeutic opioids has led to increased abuse by patients. In their analysis, they indicate that therapeutic opioids have increased exponentially with regards to Schedule II drugs. They indicate that these drugs have massive negative consequences apart from acute pain. These side-effects include immune and hormonal consequences, addiction and abuse, hyperalgesia, and tolerance. The authors also say that patients with long-term opioids have shown signs of increases in overall costs of disability, healthcare, surgery rates, and late usage of opioid.

On the other hand, Manchikanti, Fellows, Ailinani, and Pampati say that despite increasing abuse and use of the therapeutic opioids, the scientific evidence released approximately 20 years later reveals that there is lack of clarity regarding opioids causing chronic non-cancer type of pain. They indicate that despite contributing only 4.6% of the worlds population, Americans consume an approximate 80% of the worlds opioid supply, as well as 99% of the global hydrocodone. The authors also consume at least two-thirds of worlds illegal drugs. They add that recent surveys regarding the nonprescription abuse of drugs, unintentional deaths resulting from prescription controlled substances, and the use and abuse of therapeutic opioids are still increasing. The authors says that there is a continued concern regarding the efficacy and the problematic physiological effects including hypogonadism, hyperalgesia and sexual dysfunction. Adverse effects result from potential abuse and misuse leading to an increase in the opioid-related deaths.

On the other hand, Amy et al.engaged in the examination of the association between the recommended dosage for opioid and the risks related to the opioid overdose causing deaths among patients suffering from chronic pain, cancer, acute pain, and other substance use disorders. In their study, they used the Veterans Health Administration as the setting with 750 unintentional prescription overdose for opioids. They also randomly sampled 154,684 patients with medical history of having received pain opioids therapy for the period between 2004 and 2005. According to their results, the frequencies for fatal overdoses in the study period for patients that underwent opioids therapy was approximately 0.04%. On the other hand, risks for death related to overdose was directly proportional to maximum prescribed opioid medication daily dose. As a result, they concluded that high opioid doses were linked to increased risks of death due to opioids overdose for patients that were receiving prescriptions of pain for opioids.

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