Tag Archive: prescription drugs

  1. Teens and the Difference Between Prescription Drug Use vs. Abuse

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    The difference between prescription drug use and abuse is important to understand. Learning statistics is helpful when it comes to understanding teen drug use. Learn some suggestions for parents in understanding why teens are attracted to using drugs in the first place and how to notice symptoms of a potential problem in teens.

    Prescription Drugs and Teens

    Prescription drug use ranks second only to marijuana use by teens. Teens sometimes take prescription medication for illnesses and believe the drugs to not pose much risk or danger since drugs are regulated. When doctors oversee use, teens think the drugs are safe. Studies show drugs are being misused at a higher rate among teens than ever before.

    Dangers of Misuse

    According to studies and statistics, 2013 numbers show 4.6% of teens from 12 to 17 years of age misused prescription drugs. Older teens age 18 to 25 used at a higher rate of 8.8%. During the same year, the likelihood of age groups misusing drugs was higher than older adults over age 26. Emergency room visits on a daily basis in 2013 alone were highest for pain relievers followed by antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

    Attraction of Drugs

    Several factors contribute to teen drug use. Misinformation, misconceptions and risk-taking behaviors all increase the likelihood of teen drug misuse or abuse. Other reasons for abuse include:

    • Physical or psychological enjoyment of drugs
    • Peer pressure
    • Ease of availability
    • Perception of safety
    • Perception of non addictive properties
    • Belief it is not illegal to use without prescription

    Suggestions and Tips for Parents

    Parents and caregivers can help teens with understanding prescription drug use better by doing the following:

    • Make sure teens use all medication properly
    • Learn the use of medication with both risk and benefit
    • Acknowledge escalation of risk when abused
    • Understand responsibility when it comes to safety
    • Learning to ask for help if a problem arises
    • Talking to doctors or parents when a teen thinks side effects are popping up


    If a teen is abusing drugs, it is helpful to become educated about what symptoms may arise and be informed. Knowing how to identify prescription drug use is critical to success for the health of a teen. Symptoms may include:

    • Drop in grades
    • Bloodshot or glazed eyes
    • Changes in appetite
    • Continued fatigue
    • General health issues
    • Hidden or secretive behaviors
    • Mood swings
    • Other unexplained behavioral or emotional challenges

    Knowing and understanding a teen’s behavior can be helpful when watching changes that may indicate prescription drug abuse. Attendance at a therapeutic boarding school or recovery program may help a teen get back on track.


    Sustain Recovery helps teens and young people get their lives on track after addiction. Contact us to find out how we can help your teen get back on their feet and live a healthy life in recovery.

  2. How Long Before Zoloft Kicks In?

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    how long before zoloft kicks inAs with many antidepressants, a few weeks of regular use will be required before an individual begins to experience the benefits of sertraline (i.e. the generic form of the drug, Zoloft). The actual amount of time required will vary from individual to individual, and it will be a function of the dosage that each individual is taking. Moreover, some users might experience an immediate positive response that quickly fades until the drug builds up a presence in the user’s system. Sertraline is a solid and effective drug to combat depression, but sertraline users will need to be patient to allow the drug to become fully effective. Physicians who prescribe Zoloft or any generic sertraline will typically want to monitor their patients during the initial usage periods to determine if the prescribed dosage is effective and if the drug is having its intended positive effects.

    Prescriptions for Zoloft

    Physicians usually start their patients on a relatively low sertraline dosage, typically 25 to 50 mg daily. They might eventually increase this dosage up to 200 mg, but low starting dosages are the norm. After a week or two, the typical sertraline user will begin to sense subtle changes in appetite, higher energy levels and better sleep cycles. Sertraline effectiveness will start to top out after three to six weeks of regular usage. At that time, a typical user will see additional positive effects, including improved concentration and mood, higher energy levels, reduced sense of depression and anxiety, and an increased desire to connect with the world around them. These effects are not universal, and a small number of sertraline users will experience adverse effects, including headaches and nausea, restlessness, fatigue, and irritability. Treating physicians who see these symptoms will want to wean an affected patient off of the drug slowly to avoid more severe symptoms.

    Zoloft or sertraline can be used regularly for an extended period of time to combat depression or anxiety. It can also be used as a “maintenance” drug when more severe depression symptoms have been managed and corrected with stronger prescription substances. Sertraline and those other drugs are in a class of products known as “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors”, or “SSRI’s”. They work by blocking an individual’s metabolic absorption of the serotonin neurotransmitter. Clinicians have long recognized that depression and low serotonin levels are related. There is no certainty over whether depression is the cause or the result of those low levels. At least until that connection is better understood, physicians will use SSRI’s to help their patients who are suffering from depression.

    Timing of Zoloft’s Effects

    The lag time between when a person starts using sertraline and when the drug subsequently becomes effective can be a detractor to an individual with extreme depression symptoms. Those individuals will often want an immediate cure for their suffering. Zoloft and sertraline are one of a handful of treatments and therapies that physicians can use. In virtually every case, those physicians will need to impress upon their patients that Zoloft and sertraline can beneficial, but also that  they are not a final answer.   

    Depression and related psychological disorders can present challenges for even the most seasoned psychotherapists. No two individuals who suffer from these disorders will respond to treatments identically. Effective treatment with Zoloft or any other pharmaceutical product requires regular assessment and monitoring of a patient’s condition.

    If you have questions about your own experiences with or use of Zoloft or sertraline, please call Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052. We can provide a confidential consultation to assess your response and reaction to Zoloft, and can recommend alternatives if Zoloft is not right for you.

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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