Whether it's Xanax, Vicodin, Valium or Percocet, Dr. Oz says more than 50 million Americans have admitted to trying prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.
Dr. Oz believes many people taking prescription drugs—legally or illegally—are hiding from their real problems. Instead of addressing painful emotions or aches, addicts swallow a quick fix.
"We're very comfortable painting over that crack in the foundation of our well-being with pills," he says. "We use these pills to numb ourselves to what's really happening in our life, which is often a wake-up call to make a change."
There are three kinds of prescription drugs that are often misused and abused: opioids, depressants and stimulants. Dr. Oz says Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet are narcotics that fall under the opioid category, while Valium and Xanax are depressants that depress the central nervous system. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are considered stimulants.
"These are effective when dealing with acute problems, but when we mix emotional and physical pain, and we use these pills to numb ourselves to what's really happening in our life … that's a problem," Dr. Oz says. "When we take medications, and we take too many of them, we actually numb ourselves. We become zombies."