Frequently Asked Questions
If you think you are suffering from prescription drug addiction, there are treatment options available to you. Contact us today on 0203 955 7700 to talk through those options with one of our expert advisors.
Can you become addicted to prescription drugs?
How common are prescription medication addictions?
What types of medicines can you be addicted to?
Can you overdose on prescription medications?
Where do people get prescription drugs from?
Why do doctors prescribe medication that is addictive?
How to tell if someone is addicted to their prescription medications?
When should I get help for my prescription drug addiction?
How long should I go to rehab for?
How long will I be addicted to prescription drugs for?
Prescription Drugs – Summary
Are you or a loved one reliant on a drug initially prescribed by a doctor or other medical practitioner? Help4Addiction are available to provide you with the services needed to help you to overcome the feelings of dependency. For immediate help and advice call 0203 955 7700 to speak to one of our experts ready to help.
Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs are currently the fastest growing source of addiction in the country due partly to the fact that NHS data shows 1 in 11 patients are prescribed with medicines that have the potential to become addictive. Moreover, the pharmaceuticals are genuinely needed to treat a condition, which opens the door to drug addiction even in people that would never consider using heroin, cannabis, or other stimulants. Unfortunately, as with any dependence, an addiction to prescription drugs is very hard to beat, with thousands suffering from the negative repercussions on a daily basis.
Thankfully, support is available. If you want it. Whether you know a loved one who is addicted to prescription drugs or have become addicted yourself, Help4Addiction can offer free impartial advice to help you get the necessary support and treatments. Whether it’s talking to someone that can help you stay on the right path or you want to learn about local rehab centres, you’re welcome to seek our non-judgemental advice by calling our agents today on 0203 955 7700.
In the meantime, this guide will provide clarity regarding the signs, symptoms, and repercussions of prescription drug addiction, as well as a little information about the various treatments that may be available. Together, we will beat your addiction.
What Is Prescription Drug Addiction?
While there are many types of substance abuse, prescription drug addiction is the one that carries a unique situation because they are medicines that offer significant benefits when used to treat and manage genuine health conditions. Unfortunately, the way that they make your body feel is also one of the reasons that they are so dangerous.
Furthermore, the fact that they are different to illicit drugs in terms of accessibility and stigma, it can be difficult to know when the use of prescription drugs has become problematic. The drugs usually fall under one of three categories:
Stimulants – which are most regularly used to treat issues like ADHD and narcolepsy.
Opiates – which are most frequently used to treat chronic pains.
Sedatives – which are commonly used to treat mental health issues such as anxiety.
Like any other addiction, prescription drug addiction describes a situation in which a person becomes dependent on the drugs. Essentially, then, addiction stems from taking the medicines in situations in which they aren’t really needed. It can lead to some very serious repercussions.
Prescription drugs can be identified as pharmaceuticals that legally require a medical prescription from a doctor. However, as far as addiction is concerned, it can extend to over-the-counter medicines that can be bought from pharmacies and supermarkets. The most common medicines for people to become addicted to include:
- Sleeping pills.
- Weight loss pills.
- Anti-depression medication.
- Anti-anxiety medication.
- ADHD medication.
Prescription drug addiction may stem from a legitimate use of medicines that spirals out of control or by those that never had to use them in the first place. Either way, it can be very dangerous as prescription drugs are perfectly legal (although the person’s access to them may not be permitted) while the ease of access means that they are very cheap – even on the black market.
Unlike many substance addictions, the situation revolving around prescription drugs is surrounded by ambiguity as there are thousands of people that do need their medication on a daily basis. Even then, though, it is possible to grow a problematic relationship with medicines by taking too much too often.
If you’re concerned that either yourself or a loved one has become reliant on prescription drugs in a manner that does not reflect the prescription itself, Help4Addiction’s free helpline can provide the information and support that you require.
What Causes Prescription Drug Addiction?
Many people ask ‘are prescription drugs addictive?’. After all, if they are designed to treat and manage genuine medical conditions. However, the fact of the matter is that pharmaceuticals they have the potential to be as addictive as any other type of chemical substance.
Due to the growing number of online pharmacies and black market opportunities, there is a small percentage of people that take prescription drugs in an abusive manner from day one. In reality, though, most users that become addicted to prescription drugs do not start taking the substances with any intention of growing a dependence. Instead, they are taken for the intended medical purposes.
However, a large number of prescription drugs (especially those mentioned above) can become physically or psychologically addictive. Like any drugs, they generate physical and emotional chemical reactions, and it is possible to get hooked on them. This is particularly true once you stop the prescription as the body and brain can start to experience withdrawal symptoms. This is what causes prescription drugs addiction.
One of the big problems with prescription drug addiction is that it’s very easy to internally justify the continued use of the medicines. Common excuses:
- Taking the medicine will stop symptoms from returning.
- I need to keep taking the prescription drugs to complete my daily tasks.
- The drugs improve my health without causing damage.
- I’m not going to overdose on the small but regular amounts I’m using.
- It’s saving time, money, and hassle as I won’t need to seek other solutions.
Sadly, lying to yourself is a classic sign of addiction, and the fact that prescription drugs aren’t illicit drugs doesn’t change that. After all, people can get addicted to ingredients like sugar, which are essential for our bodies.
Essentially, addiction usually stems from enjoying the medical benefits gained from taking the prescription drugs, only to find that you cannot cope without them – even after the original condition has been successfully been treated.
To learn more about the causes of prescription drug addiction and the pathway that you are likely to travel, Help4Addiction’s advisors are only a phone call away.
The Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
Everyone requires the use of prescription drugs from time to time, and some people genuinely need them on an ongoing cycle to manage their conditions and afflictions. This is one of the reasons that realising you have a problem can be difficult.
Nonetheless, there are several signs of prescription drugs addiction that can help you identify the issue at the earliest stage. Given that acknowledgement is the first step en route to recovery, ignoring the following elements is simply not an option:
- You feel as though you cannot get through the day without prescription drugs.
- You have built up a tolerance, meaning you need to take larger dosage.
- You think about the prescription drugs throughout the day.
- You find yourself overselling your conditions to get a prescription from the doctor.
- You take them every day, even when the symptoms of your condition aren’t noticeable.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when not taking the prescription drugs.
- You ask others to get a prescription, so that you can top up your dosage.
It can be difficult for an addict to spot the signs of addiction, particularly when dealing with legalised substances. As such, there is an even greater responsibility for loved ones to pay attention and spot those early signs.
Signs of prescription drug addiction will vary depending on the type of drug. If you see any of the following symptoms in a loved one, they may have grown an unnatural dependence on the medicines:
- Saying they’ve lost prescriptions and need new prescriptions.
- Consuming prescription drugs faster than advised.
- Consuming prescription drugs in larger quantities than advised.
- Visiting several doctors to seek multiple prescriptions.
- Stealing prescription drugs from friends or relatives.
- Forging prescriptions.
- Acting secretive and agitated when asked about their prescriptions.
In addition to the direct issues above, prescription drug addicts may show physical and behavioural changes. Here are some of the issues that you may spot in yourself or a loved one:
- Mood swings.
- Changing sleep patterns.
- Drowsy appearance.
- Confusion and agitation.
- Involuntary ticks.
- Unexplained weight loss.
If you are worried about showing the signs of drug addiction, or believe that a loved one is suffering from prescription drug dependence, call Help4Addiction today on 0203 955 7700!
What Are The Effects Of Prescription Drug Addiction?
Prescription drug addiction might not be as instantly dangerous as something like heroin addiction, at least not when you only take moderate amounts of the prescribed medicines. Nonetheless, the side effects of prescription drugs addiction are capable of destroying your life. They can harm your physical health, relationships, and mental frame of mind.
Some of the side effects of prescription drug addiction are characterised by the signs of addiction. This includes depression, ticks, agitation, and altered appearances. However, the list of problems stemmed from addiction is far more extensive. It includes:
- An inability to control eye movements
- Short-term memory loss
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased body temperature
- Paranoia and similar mental health issues
- Cardiovascular problems including cardiac arrest
- Constipation, diarrhoea, and digestive disorders
- Muscle pains and aching
The physical and psychological side effects of withdrawing from an opiate-based drug like Codeine or Tramadol, and also Diazepam and Zopiclone can be incredibly serious. There are very serious physical implications of suddenly stopping taking a medication such as these, amongst others, added to the psychological distress and increased anxiety of doing so, which can be crippling.
Read more about Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
All of these issues can make life very uncomfortable, and may lead you to increasing the dosage quantities and frequencies in order to mask those pains and discomforts. Unfortunately, this only increases the likelihood of growing a serious dependency. Moreover, dulling the effects of the dosage also puts you at risk of overdosing due to the volatile cycle of incremental increases that you’ll inevitably fall into.
The harsh reality is that, before you know it, the prescription drug addiction will cause negative impacts in virtually all aspects of your life. Your personal health (both mental and physical) will suffer as a direct result of the addiction. Personal relationships, friendships, and your career are all likely to see problems. In serious situations financial and legal troubles may follow.
To prevent your prescription drug addiction from taking control of your life, get the support you require with the support of Helf4Addiciton today!
How To Beat Prescription Drug Addiction
Appreciating that prescription drug addictions do exist is one thing, but overcoming them is another challenge altogether. While acknowledgement is a vital breakthrough, you can only beat your addiction after you’ve established your source of motivation.
Incentivising yourself ahead of the journey to come can make all the difference, especially as there will be testing moments along the way. Motivation comes from many sources, but the most effective reasons include:
- Remove the sense of personal guilt or shame.
- Secure a better financial situation.
- Be a better partner or parent.
- Increase your quality and length of life.
- Retain your career prospects.
- Feel like you once more.
Many of the incentives are similar to those used to combat alcoholism and other drug addictions, and that’s because the addiction itself works the same as any other substance dependence. When you truly and actively want to quit using those prescription medicines for reasons other than their intended use, you will instantly have a far better shot at long-term stability.
The next step is to find the right solution on how to fight prescription drugs addiction. There are several options out there, and Help4Addiction can discuss your situation before guiding you towards the most likely solution for your specific requirements.
Prescription Drug Support From Your GP
Talking to your GP is always a good starting point, especially if the prescription drugs have been prescribed by them. Once you start to tell them about the problem, they can look at potential ways around this.
The GP may suggest switching to a different prescription, and could reduce your prescription volumes so that you have to keep going back for repeats. Meanwhile, it may be advised that they are administered by a visiting care provider, which will essentially cut your access to extra amounts.
Depending on the nature of the condition, it may be possible to treat the affliction using an alternative method. Either way, preventing access to excessive amounts of the medicine will give you the best chance of reducing the consumption levels to the intended amount.
However, it may be necessary to detoxify first.
Prescription Drug Addiction Rehab Centres
Prescription drug addiction can be as strong as other chemical addictions. Therefore, spending time in an addiction rehab centre specialising in prescription drug addictions is shown the be the most effective solution.
There are many reasons to choose prescription drug addiction rehab centres over some of the alternative options. Some of the most telling reasons are:
- Access to 24/7 support, if required.
- Take yourself away from your home settings.
- Gain personalised care that’s built around you.
- Receive from a team that specialise in this area.
- Have a team on care for if you experience withdrawal symptoms.
- Gain choices regarding the treatment types.
As with most addictions, the withdrawal symptoms and temptations to start abusing prescription medicines are at their greatest during the immediate aftermath of deciding to give up. Whether you need a few days or a few weeks, a prescription drugs rehab centres are designed to support you through those difficult moments, allowing you to come out of the other side with the best chance of staying away from abusive behaviours.
While the fundamental principles are similar across most prescription drug addiction rehab centres, it’s important to find the right solution. Help4Addiction’s supportive and impartial staff can help you find a prescription drug addiction centre for yourself or a loved one. In doing so, you’ll be able to consider the key focal points such as:
- Prescription drugs rehab process.
- Prescription drugs rehab programs length.
- Prescription drugs rehab cost.
- Prescription drugs rehab centre location.
- Prescription drug rehab aftercare support.
Choosing the right rehab centre connects you to the right support for immediate turnarounds and long-term independence from prescription drugs. From identifying the reasons why you allowed a genuine need for the prescription to turn into an addiction, to understanding how to fight the urges when they resurface, the comprehensive approach will prepare you for sustained success.
With several centres to choose from, finding a prescription drug addiction rehab service that works for you shouldn’t be too hard – not least with Hel4Addiction behind you.
Prescription Drug Addiction Therapy & Group Therapy
In addition to time in a prescription drug rehab centre, you may find that therapy is the ideal solution. This can be used as a post-treatment solution or even as an alternative to it. There are essentially two options:
- Solo sessions with a psychologist or addiction rehab specialist.
- Group therapy with other recovering addicts.
The idea of solo sessions with a psychologist can help you get to the root of your individual relationship with prescription drugs, which should enable you to employ the right behavioural tactics to keep the threats at their lowest. Meanwhile, the ongoing one-to-one support combined with the encouragement should go a long way to helping you steer clear or the environments and behavioural traits that are likely to lead you back to abuse of prescription drugs.
In many ways, prescription drug addiction can feel like an even lonelier place than traditional drug abuse as not many people understand how prescription drugs can be addictive. Only other recovering addicts can truly relate, which is why you may find strength in numbers with group therapy or meetings.
These meetings take place up and down the country in a number of venues. Help4Addiction can help you research the nearest ones to you while providing the emotional support you need to take those first steps. Nothing pushes you in the right direction like knowing that you are on the same journey as someone else. You can provide mutual inspiration and motivation for long-term sobriety and independence from prescription medicines and other pharmaceuticals.
Reversing Opiate Overdoses
Finally, in addition to knowing how to beat prescription drugs addiction on a long-term basis, you must take it upon yourself to know the best methods for treating overdoses of opiates and stimulants. This is especially true when dealing with a loved one as it’s possible that you may be called into action even years after they’ve seemingly beaten the addiction. After all, relapsing is an ongoing threat.
Naxalone is an opioid antagonist that can be used to restore and regulate breathing after an addict has overdosed on those prescription drugs, but is accessed as a prescription medicine. If you do not access, or even if you do, call the emergency services immediately.
And if the user has only just swallowed the tablets, it may be possible to force them to vomit them back up. This action can stop the chemicals from being absorbed, and could potentially save their life. Follow this up by getting support for your loved one using the treatments above.
Help4Addiction isn’t only for addicts. Our advisors are happy to provide support to friends and family throughout every step of helping a loved one through the prescription drug rehab process. From interceptions to preventing relapses, don’t be afraid to seek our free and impartial advice in confidentiality.
What If Prescription Drugs Are Still Needed?
One of the biggest complications with getting free from prescription drug abuse is that it’s very possible that you will require them in the future, potentially on a regular basis only on a smaller dosage than you’ve been using. Therefore, it may not be possible to go cold turkey in the way you would treat alcohol addiction or addiction to illicit drugs.
There are ways to overcome this problem, including using different prescriptions or treatment methods. Alternatively, it may be possible to have the drugs administered by a medical profession or a family member. When taking this route, the medications won’t be on your possession, allowing you to stay true to the intended dosages and hopefully embrace an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude.
Help4Addiction will be here to support you throughout the ongoing battles, even after you’ve stopped your dependence. This includes using future prescriptions in the intended manner. If you have any fears about the threat of relapsing, do not hesitate to contact the team right away.
How To Get Help
While most people are capable of using prescription drugs for their intended purposes, there is no doubt that they have the potential to cause addiction just like any other drug or substance that creates a chemical reaction in the body or brain. Worse still, the fact that they are manufactured and prescribed with genuine medical benefits in mind means that literally anybody can, under the right set of circumstances, be at risk of allowing their prescription to turn into an addiction.
There should be no shame in admitting that you are addicted to pharmaceuticals, particularly if the use of those medications started as a treatment to a medical condition. Likewise, there is no shame in seeking prescription drugs addiction treatment using any of the methods mentioned above.
No two cases of prescription drug addiction are identical while everybody that sufferers from them is an individual with unique situations too. Therefore, discovering where to get help for prescription drugs addiction is probably the most significant step en route to recovery.
Help4Addiction is a free helpline that provides a friendly, unbiased, and non-judgemental service that aims to get to the root of your problems and help you gain support from the best prescription drugs rehab programs and treatments in the country.
The road to a life of using prescription drugs exclusively in the appropriate situations and to the right dosage levels starts here. Take the first steps today by calling 0203 955 7700!