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How To Stop Prescription Drug Addiction

What Are The Consequences Of Prescription Drug Addiction

How To Stop Prescription Medicine Addiction

It is hard for many to comprehend the very idea of drug addiction being linked to prescription medication. In their minds, prescription drug addiction is not even a thing because there is no way that something prescribed by a doctor could be dangerous.

The truth is that prescription medication can even cause an addiction when taken exactly as prescribed. It is meant for short-term use only unless the benefits of long-term use outweigh the risks. So, when thinking about how to prevent prescription drug addiction, it is important that all issues are fully considered. Educating individuals on the ways in which medication can be abused is the first step, but people must also know about the dangers of such an addiction and what the consequences are.

Prescription drug addiction is like any other addiction in that it can interfere with daily life. While you may have taken prescription drugs initially to treat a health problem, abusing the medication could very easily lead to other health issues.

Depending on the medication you are abusing, you could end up with both mental and physical health problems. Below we list a few of the symptoms associated with prescription drug abuse:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Depression
  • Breathing problems
  • Vomiting

Analyze Any Possible Risk Factors

Having prior knowledge of any possible drug abuse risk factors makes it easy for you to overcome them. For instance, if your family has a history of people who abuse the substance, then you can promise yourself that you wont follow their footsteps. Also, if youre friends with someone whos a chronic drug abuser, you can decide to break up the friendship than being dragged into his behaviors.

Clinicians Patients And Pharmacists

Physicians, their patients, and pharmacists all can play a role in identifying and preventing nonmedical use of prescription drugs.

  • Clinicians. More than 84 percent of Americans had contact with a health care professional in 201654, placing doctors in a unique position to identify nonmedical use of prescription drugs and take measures to prevent the escalation of a patients misuse to a substance use disorder. By asking about all drugs, physicians can help their patients recognize whether a problem exists, provide or refer them to appropriate treatment, and set recovery goals. Evidence-based screening tools for nonmedical use of prescription drugs can be incorporated into routine medical visits . Doctors should also take note of rapid increases in the amount of medication needed or frequent, unscheduled refill requests. Doctors should be alert to the fact that those misusing prescription drugs may engage in “doctor shopping”moving from provider to providerin an effort to obtain multiple prescriptions for their drug of choice.

Coordinated federal efforts to reduce opioid addiction and overdose are ongoing.

Preventing or stopping nonmedical use of prescription drugs is an important part of patient care. However, certain patients can benefit from prescription stimulants, sedatives, or opioid pain relievers. Therefore, physicians should balance the legitimate medical needs of patients with the potential risk for misuse and related harms.

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Recognize That You Have An Issue

The first step toward quitting drugs is admitting you have a problem. If you’re not sure, consider if you’re taking medicines to get through the day or to get through the morning. Or maybe you are trying to keep it hidden from others? If this is the case, you must acknowledge that you have an issue.

Choose Your Circle Of Friends Carefully

Stop Prescription Drug Abuse Dog Tag

Making friendships plays a major role in your overall health and well-being. However, you need to choose your friends wisely as socializing with the wrong crowd can easily lure into drug abuse.

Make sure you hang out with people who show you love and support and discourage you from attempting substance abuse. Such people also provide a safe environment where theres less likelihood of triggering drug abuse risk factors.

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Dangers Of Prescription Drug Addiction

The dangers that go along with prescription drug addiction are very similar to other addictions. First and foremost, addictive prescription medications have adverse effects on the physical body that directly correlate with the kind of drug being used. The damage can reach everything from the heart to the liver to the brain itself. You should be aware that some of the damage could be permanent if drug use continues for an extended amount of time.

Psychoactive prescription drugs can also harm the mind. Because of the way the drugs interact with the brain, certain chemical changes occur with every use. Those changes can lead to depression, anxiety, and a whole range of psychoses including paranoia and schizophrenia.

A hidden danger inherent to prescription drugs is the misplaced belief that they are completely safe because doctors prescribe them. What must be understood is that these drugs are classified as prescription only specifically because they are addictive and/or dangerous. The very fact that they are only obtainable through prescription should tell you something. Do not believe the myth that they are less harmful or less powerful.

How Do Benzos Work

Benzos tend to operate on a neurotransmitter called GABA. It relaxes us by inhibiting the stress response and allowing us to feel calm and relaxed.

A runners high often involves that feeling of calm and relaxation. This is because GABA, along with endorphins and dopamine, all work together to produce the reward that people look for after an intense run.

GABA works to complete a number of other functions in the body as well. Benzos inhibit the GABA inhibitor, much like dopamine restrictions are lifted when a person takes opioids.

GABA is allowed to run free, calming the individual and reducing the physical and psychological manifestations of stress and anxiety. Benzos produce a psychological sedative as well as a physical reduction in stress.

This is because the body distributes GABA receptors differently in its different parts. The receptors in the lower body might deal with the physical end of stress, while the receptors in the brain might act on the amygdala and frontal cortex.

When all of those receptors are plugged to let GABA flow, the result is a very pleasurable and anxiety-free experience. Different types of benzodiazepines include:


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Signs And Symptoms Of Abuse

If youre someone who suspects their loved one is abusive prescription medication, there are some signs and symptoms you should be looking out for. Typical signs and symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions Taking higher doses than prescribed Excessive mood swings or hostility Increase or decrease in sleep Poor decision-making Appearing to be high, unusually energetic or revved up, or sedated Continually losing prescriptions, so more prescriptions must be written Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor

Prescription Drug Addiction And Abuse


This Page was last reviewed and changed on September 30th, 2021

On 3 August 2020, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence updated their guidelines on the treatment of chronic primary pain, recognising that prescription medication contributes to addiction. The new guidelines state that GPs should not prescribe opioids or other medicines like paracetamol to patients because they could be harmful and cause addiction.

Although paracetamol itself is not addictive, the new guidelines recognise that prescribing it for chronic primary pain encourages the reliance on pills.

Here is an extract from the guidelines:

Do not offer any of the following, by any route, to people aged 16 years and over to manage chronic primary pain:

  • Opioids
  • Antipsychotics

Full details of the guide can be found in this document.

Prescription medications are different from illicit drugs in that they have legitimate medical purposes. Yet this clear benefit of prescription drugs is also its biggest trap. The fact that the drugs are prescribed for real medical problems does not make them any less addictive than their illicit counterparts. And unfortunately, prescription drug addiction is every bit as real as addictions to alcohol and illegal drugs.

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Ways To Prevent Drug Abuse

Statistics released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2017 show that approximately 19.7 million Americans aged 12 years and older suffered from a drug addiction disorder.

Other statistics show that of all 21 million people who suffer from substance abuse, only 10% of them receive treatment. Whats more shocking is that drug abuse has resulted in over 700,000 deaths from 1999 to 2017.

Having a family member or a close friend suffering from substance abuse leaves you with only

one thought, how to eradicate drug problem. But what if you can find ways to prevent drug abuse before it becomes a problem?

Before we look at how to prevent substance abuse, lets look at what triggers their use.

Where To Get Help For Drugs

A GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment.

They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drug service.

If you’re not comfortable talking to a GP, you can approach your local drug treatment service yourself.

Visit the Frank website to find local drug treatment services.

If you’re having trouble finding the right sort of help, call the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600. They can talk you through all your options.

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Medications To Help You Quit

Medications for opioid addiction can help with detoxification, the process of allowing the body to rid itself of a drug while helping prevent or ease withdrawal symptoms. These drugs also can help reduce cravings. Detox is not a treatment for addiction itself, but it is a useful first step when followed by treatment with a behavioral-based therapy and/or medication.

Increasing evidence shows that medically assisted treatment a combination of medication and psychosocial treatments is most effective for opioid use disorder. A study of MassHealth patients found that patients on medication treatments like methadone or buprenorphine are 50% less likely to relapse. Other studies have shown that patients treated with these medications are 50% less likely to die.

Although sometimes criticized as replacing one addiction with another, these medications can restore normalcy to peoples lives, stabilize their home and work life, and enhance their motivation to change.

What Does It Mean To Be Addicted

How To Stop Prescription Drug Addiction

When taking a drug for an extended period of time, the body can develop a physical dependence on the drug. This means that the body doesnt function in the same way when use is paused or ended. Abruptly quitting a stimulant drug after a long-standing period of abuse will almost certainly result in withdrawal symptoms .

Addiction to prescription stimulants is also often marked by severe lifestyle changes. For example, an addict may not feel able to meet simple, everyday responsibilities such as work or family obligations without using the drug. They may also suffer from intense feelings of anxiety or dread at the thought that they might be forced to stop taking the substance.

Beside these anxieties and fears, previously positive activities, like hobbies or spending time with friends, may no longer feel worthwhile. For an addicted person, it may seem that use is essential to daily functioning or even happiness, making it very difficult to stop.

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Teens Often View Prescription Drugs As Safe

One of the reasons for prescription drug abuse among youth is that teens view prescription drugs as safe. Since the medication is prescribed by a doctor, a figure they see trustworthy, they may think that prescription medications cannot be bad for you. They may not consider that prescription drugs need to be used at certain doses or on a certain dosing schedule. Many prescription medications are highly addictive if they are not taken as prescribed. Therefore, teen drug use, even of prescription medications, can lead to teen addiction.

Seek Help For Your Prescription Drug Addiction

It is important to understand that without professional help, your prescription drug addiction symptoms may become progressively worse over time, and have a detrimental effect on your health, wellbeing and general quality of life.

Additionally, as your dependency develops, you may find that you need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effect. Untreated prescription drug addiction may also lead to the development of alcohol addiction and other drug addictions and behavioural addictions, causing a whole host of additional problems.

It is never too late to seek help for your prescription drug addiction contact Priory today to start your journey towards regaining control, and returning to the healthy, fulfilling, and addiction-free life that you deserve.

This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Niall Campbell in June 2020, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in June 2022. To view all Priory prescription drug addiction specialists, please

All of the addiction treatment that we offer at Priory is underpinned by the well-known 12-Step addiction treatment approach. This world-renowned model was first popularised by the organisation Alcoholics Anonymous and is an abstinence-based philosophy that focuses on your motivation to change your addictive behaviours, whilst also drawing upon elements of spirituality in the treatment journey.

Our leading prescription drug Addiction Treatment Programmes consist of:

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The First Step To Overcoming Drug Abuse And Addiction

Developing an addiction to drugs isnt a character flaw or a sign of weakness, and it takes more than willpower to overcome the problem. Abusing illegal or certain prescription drugs can create changes in the brain, causing powerful cravings and a compulsion to use that makes sobriety seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems or how many times youve tried and failed before. With the right treatment and support, change is always possible.

For many people struggling with addiction, the toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change. Its normal to feel uncertain about whether youre ready to start recovery, or if you have what it takes to quit. If youre addicted to a prescription drug, you may be concerned about how youre going to find an alternate way to treat a medical condition. Its okay to feel torn. Committing to sobriety involves changing many things, including:

  • the way you deal with stress
  • who you allow in your life
  • what you do in your free time
  • how you think about yourself
  • the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take

Its also normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you know its causing problems in your life. Recovery requires time, motivation, and support, but by making a commitment to change, you can overcome your addiction and regain control of your life.

What To Consider When Quitting Pills

Program trying to prevent prescription drug abuse

Many times when people are fed up with their own prescription drug abuse, theyll decide that theyre simply going to stop. Theyll grit their teeth and resist the urge to take a pill, thinking that going cold turkey is the only way to do it. Are they ever right about that? Often times this painful process can lead a user right back to where they left off taking the pills, sometimes even worse.

Before you can fully quit taking pills, there is something fully important that must come within you. You have to have the desire to quit. You have to want to quit. You also have to stick to it. This can be a very hard and tedious process. Most addicts have very situational minds and like to justify things. How many have ever thought that it would be okay to take just one more today, and take one less tomorrow? When quitting pain medication, it is very important to stick to a plan. Deviating from your plan will more or less delay the process and make your withdrawal last longer.

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Prevention Strategies For Substance Abuse In College

Because prevention is so important, it is frequently discussed and researched. Data on success rates can be hard to confirm, so many colleges will take multiple preventative measures to see what works. Some of the most popular forms of college drug abuse prevention include:


Informing students of the negative health effects of drinking and substance abuse can help them make educated decisions regarding their alcohol consumption. After understanding what excessive alcohol can do to their bodies, college students may choose to limit how much they drink.

Law And Rule Enforcement

Many laws already exist to limit underage drinking and dangerous substance abuse. Enforcing the legal drinking age has been one of the most effective ways to reduce alcohol-related problems. Retailers and school administrators can help cut down on the amount of alcohol and substance-related problems by enforcing laws and campus rules consistently.

Restrictions On Bars

One way to reduce excessive and underage drinking is through limiting the proximity of bars and liquor stores to each other and to campus. Studies have shown that alcohol-related incidents are more common in areas where drink specials are highly advertised, especially when advertising targets college students.

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Clinically Reviewed:

David Hampton

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

What Causes Opioid Addiction

Opioid drugs alter your brain by creating artificial endorphins. Besides blocking pain, these endorphins make you feel good. Too much opioid use can cause your brain to rely on these artificial endorphins. Once your brain does this, it can even stop producing its own endorphins. The longer you use opioids, the more likely this is to happen. You also will need more opioids over time because of drug tolerance.

Drug tolerance is when your body, over time, gets used to the effects of a drug. As this happens, you may need to take a higher dose of the drug to get the same effect. When you take opioids over time, you need a higher dose to get the same pain relief.

If you stop using an opioid for a period of time, your tolerance will begin to fade. If you need to begin taking it again, you most likely will not need your former higher dose. That can be too much for the body to take. If you stop taking a medication, and then resume, talk to your doctor about dosage.

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