What is Prescription Drug Addiction?

Prescription drug addiction is when a person develops an addiction to a drug that should only be obtained and used through prescription.

This is often to prescription pain killers such as morphine, codeine and co-codamol.

Just like any other drug addiction, addiction to prescription drugs can be very dangerous and quickly spiral out of control. It is not uncommon for people struggling with this addiction to break the law either by illegally buying more drugs on the streets or by lying to multiple doctors for multiple prescriptions.

An addiction is formed when your body is introduced to a chemical or stimulant that causes a change in its chemistry. It creates a rush of dopamine entering your brain leading you to feel pleasure, joy and euphoria.

In controlled amounts, prescription drugs are very good for you as they can help you manage pain, treat mental illness and fight off infections. But when they are abused, it is only a matter of time before your brain gets used to the extra dosage of dopamine.

It won’t be long until your brain believes it needs prescription drugs in order to produce any dopamine and cause you to feel depressed or anxious if you go to log without any. You will start to experience cravings as your brain believes you need the prescription drug to survive.

Ignoring these cravings causes you to, in many cases, experience withdrawal symptoms which can be very dangerous if experienced alone. The withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle spasm
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dehydration
  • Seizure

It is recommended that if you experience any of these withdrawal symptoms after going an extended period of time without drugs, you make your way to a medical facility to receive prescription drug addiction treatment.


Physical Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is not something you can hide. While at first, it may not be noticeable, as time goes on, the symptoms will become obvious to other people and yourself.

You should be careful and be on the lookout for any of the following symptoms to track to see if your prescription drug use has developed into an addiction.

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dilated eyes
  • Lethargic or manic
  • Appearing drunk
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Hostility
  • Odd sleeping patterns
  • Odd eating patterns
  • Intense cravings

When these symptoms appear, you can’t just ignore them. You have to take a long hard look inside yourself and ask if this is how you want to be living your life.

Or if you want to be prescription drug abuse free and not have to worry about your friends and family finding out.

There are options available to you if you want to start the journey to long-term recovery such as private drug and alcohol rehab. It won’t be easy, but it will give you the best possible chance at achieving long-term recovery and living the life that you deserve.


Signs That I am Addicted to Prescription Drugs

At this point, you may not be sure if you actually do have an addiction and if you simply have a bad habit that you need to work on.

Well, there is a simple series of questions you can ask yourself in order to see if you have, in fact, developed a prescription drug addiction.

The questions are:

  1. Have you ever stolen from a loved one in order to access prescription drugs? Be it by stealing their money or stealing their prescription.
  2. Do you feel the need to hide your prescription drug abuse from people who care about you? Either through hiding it altogether or just the amount that you take.
  3. Are you continuing to take a prescription drug that you no longer need? For example, painkillers for an injury that has long since healed.
  4. Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms after missing a dose of your prescription drug?
  5. Have you ever become distressed, defensive or aggressive when someone has commented on your prescription drug use?
  6. Do you think that there is something wrong with you and you need help?

If you ask yourself if you need help, then more often than not, the answer is yes, you do. You know your mind and your body, and you know that something isn’t right. That’s why you are here.

You are taking that first brave step towards a better future. We know this is scary, but everything will be ok. You have options available to you and ways to deal with your addiction before it is too late – call us for help on 0800 012 6088.


How is Prescription Drug Addiction Treated?

Prescription drug addiction is best treated in a drug rehab centre where you can receive the treatments you need one after the other.

The first treatment you will need is prescription drug detox. The detox is designed to allow your body to safely rid itself of all toxins, which include prescription drugs.

It does this over a ten-day period during which your progress is monitored by the rehab’s medical team to make sure you are safe. You will be safe as there is no risk of danger from the withdrawal symptoms. You will be provided with medication to relieve the symptoms before they can progress too far.

Following the detox, you should be able to concentrate on learning how to manage your addiction without the distraction of your cravings getting in the way.

You have to learn how to manage your addiction through therapy, where you will work with a therapist to understand the cause behind your prescription drug addiction. This is so that you can learn strategies to help you avoid triggers for your cravings when you leave the rehab.


Get Help Today

At Addiction Advocates, we can help you get started on your journey through our self-referrals.

Simply visit our self-referral page and we will handle the rest.

We understand that not everyone wants to be open about their addictions with their loved ones, and that is perfectly fine. However, it is your recovery, and you have to do what is right for you and your needs.

Contact us today to start your recovery. You can also call on 0800 012 6088 or text HELP to 83222.