How To Stop Prescription Drug Addiction

Read on to learn about how prescription drug addiction is a rising problem and how it affects millions of people yearly.

What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?

The use of a drug for a purpose other than its prescribed use is known as prescription drug abuse. Opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety meds, sedatives, and stimulants are the most common prescription drugs that can lead to addiction.

 
Some people abuse prescription drugs because they think they will help them have more fun, lose weight, fit in, and even study more effectively. Some misuse prescription drugs to feel good or get high, unwind or release tension, suppress hunger, or even to boost alertness. 

What Are the Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs?

Some of the most common prescription drugs that can cause substance abuse disorders include:

  • Prescription Opioids: Opioids are drugs used to treat and relieve pain. They have an impact on the brain regions that control emotion and lessen the intensity of pain signals that reach the brain, which lessens the impact of painful stimuli.1
  • Oxycodone: Oxycodone is most commonly known by the brand name OxyContin. It's also marketed as Percocet when combined with acetaminophen. It alters how your central nervous system (CNS) reacts to pain.
  • Hydrocodone: This is an opioid narcotic medication that relieves moderate to severe pain. When taken orally or crushed and inhaled, it induces feelings of euphoria and sedation.
  • Fentanyl: Fentanyl is a type of synthetic opioid. It’s often recommended for acute and chronic pain in cancer patients. It’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and induces a state of exhilaration and relaxation.
  • Codeine: Codeine relieves mild to moderate pain. It’s often used with other drugs to treat cold and flu symptoms and is popular in prescription-strength cough syrup. Codeine-based cough medication has a sedative effect when used in large doses.
  • Co-codamol: This is a combination of paracetamol and codeine, two distinct painkillers. It’s used to treat a variety of aches and pains, including headaches, migraines, and tooth discomfort.
  • Tramadol: Tramadol is a synthetic opioid and acts in the central nervous system to reduce the amount of pain you feel. It is a strong pain medication used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Benzodiazepines and Stimulants

There are two other classes of drugs, benzodiazepines and stimulants, that often get abused as well.

 
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs generally used for treating anxiety, but they also are effective in treating several other conditions such as seizures, acute stress reactions, insomnia, and panic attacks.

The central nervous system is affected by benzodiazepines, which results in drowsiness, muscle relaxation, and a reduction in anxiety. These drugs are often safe and efficient when taken for a brief period of time, but prolonged usage might result in tolerance, dependency, and other negative effects.2

Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines

Here are some common benzodiazepines drugs that people abuse:

  • Diazepam: Diazepam is a long-lasting, rapidly-acting benzodiazepine frequently used to treat seizures, severe anxiety, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and panic disorders.
  • Alprazolam: Anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety brought on by depression are all treated with alprazolam. It functions by reducing excessive cerebral excitation.
  • Chlordiazepoxide: An approved drug for people with mild-moderate to severe anxiety, preoperative anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal is chlordiazepoxide, a long-acting benzodiazepine. Before surgery, it is often used to reduce anxiety and fear.
  • Zolpidem: Zolpidem belongs to a class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. It is a short-acting benzodiazepine prescription pill used to treat insomnia and other sleeping difficulties.
Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription Stimulants

Your body gets a jump start from stimulant medicines, giving you a substantial increase in alertness, energy, and focus. They increase your blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart rate. They also widen your airways and open your blood vessels. Doctors started using stimulants to treat asthma and obesity. They prescribe them for conditions such as ADHD, ADD, depression, and narcolepsy.3

Commonly Abused Prescription Stimulants

Here are the two common types of prescription stimulants people abuse:

  • Methylphenidate: Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat ADHD and sleep disorder (narcolepsy). It is used to increase the ability to pay attention, stay focused, and control behavioral problems.
  • Dextroamphetamine: Dextroamphetamine, known by its brand name, Dexedrine, is a potent Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulant. Dextroamphetamine is prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Dextroamphetamine promotes focus and calm in people with ADHD and energy and wakefulness in those with sleep disorders.

Prescription Drug Abuse Signs and Symptoms

Signs of abuse of prescription drugs can depend on the drug involved. Some of the signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse are:4
  • Dizziness
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Poor coordination
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Upset stomach, vomiting, or constipation

How To Stop Prescription Drug Addiction

Below are some ways for how to stop a prescription drug substance abuse disorder if you or a loved one are experiencing one.

Recognize That You Have An Issue

Firstly, you need to recognize the effects of abusing prescription drugs, understand that you have a problem, and be ready for help because this will go a long way to help you recover from drug addiction.

Talk To Your Doctor

It is always advisable to consult with a specialist before discontinuing the use of prescription drugs. What works for one individual might not work for another.

Do Some Counseling And Change Your Lifestyle

You can avoid prescription drug addiction by identifying the warning symptoms and understanding when to seek counseling and change your lifestyle.

Go To A Rehabilitation Center

By going to a rehabilitation center and undergoing a detox, you will never feel alone or depressed. You will be surrounded by people who want to get prescription drug addiction treatment. Being surrounded by people who want to get better from the use of addictive medicine can be the stepping stone to your complete recovery.

Causes Of Prescription Drug Abuse

Below are some of the common causes of prescription drug abuse.

To Feel Good or Get High

A lot of people abuse drugs just for the feeling that it gives them. This happens mainly among the youths, and most believe that prescription drug use makes them feel good and high.

To Relax or Relieve Tension

While some abuse drugs to feel good and high, others abuse the drug to relax and ease tension.

To Reduce Appetite

Prescription drug abuse has been a way for some people to reduce their appetite and the level of their food consumption. Many use it to try and maintain weight loss.

To Experiment

Others abuse the drug to test the mental effect of the drug and how active the substances can be.

To Prevent Withdrawal

Many users, once they know they might have a substance abuse disorder, simply keep using the substance in order to prevent a withdrawal from their drug dependence and the feelings they get from using the drugs. This can therefore lead to serious complications.

To Be Accepted

Pills addiction and negative peer group pressure are often linked. This type of peer pressure leads to undesirable habits such as using illegal prescription drugs, overuse of drugs, or alcohol abuse. Several youths become addicted because that is the only way to be accepted among their peer groups.

Complications Of Prescription Drugs Abuse

Many people are ignorant about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs or choose to ignore them because of the feelings they get from them. Medication misuse has its fair share of complications. On the other hand, excessive abuse can cause severe complications to the user.


Here are the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.

Medical Consequences

Some of the severe medical complications of prescription drug addiction include low breathing rate, heart problems, high blood pressure, hallucinations, seizures or tremors, paranoia, dangerously high temperature, coma, or lead to death.

Physical Dependence and Addiction

People who are physically dependent on a drug may require higher doses to achieve the same results and may have withdrawal symptoms when they go for prescription drug treatment or discontinue the substance.

Engaging in Risky Behaviors

Due to the feelings and effects a person gets from pills addiction, they may make wrong decisions that could lead them into trouble. They will also engage in risky behaviors due to the effects the drugs have on them.

Using Illegal or Recreational Drugs

Prescription drug addiction leads to using other potentially more harmful chemical substances for pleasure or recreation rather than for medical causes.

Being Involved in Crime

Those who are addicted to substances often commit crimes to pay for their narcotics, leading to danger not only for themselves but for friends, family, or other bystanders as well.

Prescription Drug Addiction

Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

Here are some ways to help prevent prescription drug abuse:5

Get the Right Medication

Make sure your doctor understands your situation and the indications and symptoms. Inform your doctor about your medicines, herbs, supplements, and drug and alcohol usage.

Check In With Your Doctor

Consult your doctor frequently to ensure that the medication you're taking is effective and that you're taking the correct dose.

Follow the Directions

Use your medicine exactly as directed. If a drug doesn't seem to be working, don't stop taking it or modify the dose unless consulting your doctor first.

Know What Your Medication Does

To know what your drug does and what to expect from your drug, consult your doctor or pharmacist before use.

Don’t Use Someone Else’s Prescription

The health issues are different. Even if you have a comparable medical condition, the medicine or dose may not be appropriate for you. Do not use a drug that has not been prescribed for you.

Don’t Order Online

Some companies sell harmful imitation prescription and nonprescription medications. Taking such a drug can cause a lot of damage to your health.

Get the Help With Prescription Drug Addiction at San Diego Detox

It's essential to understand that it's not your fault if you're battling prescription drug addiction. You are not alone if you are feeling hopeless or lost.

 
At San Diego Detox, we provide a variety of prescription drug treatment programs to help you safely detox and overcome your addiction.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in living a happy life in recovery.

Learn More About San Diego Detox

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