Prescription Drug Addiction –  Signs, Treatment and Support

Prescription drugs are helpful medications doctors prescribe to patients for any number of reasons. A prescription might be used to battle infection, treat chronic pain, help someone deal with anxiety, and so on. These medications are safe and effective when used as directed by a physician. But some of the medications doctors prescribe are highly addictive, leading to prescription drug addiction.

The whole purpose of the government classifying some drugs as ‘prescription only’ is to protect consumers from the adverse effects that may result from unsupervised use. Opioids are an excellent example. These are restricted to prescription use because they are highly addictive and potentially deadly. Therefore, using opioids without a prescription is unwise. People who do use them should only do so under the direct supervision of a doctor or qualified nurse.

Should prescription drug addiction be a problem in your case, we can refer you to a treatment provider ready and willing to help. Treatment for prescription drug addiction is found throughout the UK at private clinics, outpatient facilities, and more. You need only contact us to get an immediate referral. We also offer prescription drug assessments and other advice free of charge.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

There are two primary kinds of prescription drug addiction that treatment providers deal with. The first is an addiction that develops as a result of a patient being given prescription medications by a doctor for a legitimate medical use. Being prescribed painkillers following surgery is a good example. A patient who takes those painkillers long enough may develop an addiction to them.

The second kind of prescription medication addiction is related to those who take the drugs without ever having had a legitimate prescription. They purchase the drugs online from overseas suppliers or from street dealers who steal or buy them. People who become addicted to prescription medications in this manner are sometimes deceived by the illusion that prescription drugs are not as dangerous as their illicit counterparts.

Regardless of the roots of one’s addiction, the signs and symptoms addiction produces are the same. People who are addicted to prescription drugs may experience any of the following, depending on the drugs being used:

  • Constipation, nausea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Irregular heartbeat; higher heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Mood swings that may include anxiety, agitation, and depression
  • Confusion and poor concentration
  • Poor coordination (including unsteady walking)
  • Poor decision-making
  • A tendency to ‘doctor shop’ for additional prescriptions
  • A tendency to buy unusually large quantities of drugs online
  • Taking higher doses of medication than recommended
  • Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions.

Certain kinds of prescription medications manifest themselves in physical symptoms that are unique to those drugs. For example, stimulants produce paranoia in some individuals where opioids and sedatives do not. It is helpful to know what your friend or loved one might be taking if you suspect prescription drug addiction.

Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

There is always a valid reason to be concerned when someone is abusing prescription drugs. Like any other potentially addictive substance, prescription drugs do not create addiction instantly. Addiction is a problem that develops over time. When prescription drugs are abused, they always carry with them the eventual risk of addiction if taken long enough.

Above and beyond addiction is the obvious fact that prescription medications do have an adverse effect on human health. Even opioid painkillers can cause physical and mental damage if it is taken long enough and in large enough doses. A number of recent celebrity deaths are proof of that. The fact is opioids kill.

Prescription drug addiction can also lead to:

  • severe financial problems
  • an inability to work; loss of a job
  • loss of family relationships
  • loss of outside social interaction
  • long-term relational and financial

Prescription drug abuse is every bit as serious as the abuse of things such as heroin, alcohol and cocaine. It should never be taken lightly. Anyone struggling with prescription medications – even to the slightest degree – should get help from a professional as soon as possible.

Prescription Drug Abuse and the Family

One of the things we do is advise family members struggling to live with a prescription drug addict. We know first-hand that addiction is a family problem that affects spouses, children, and extended family members as well. Suffice to say that a person abusing prescription drugs is negatively impacting family members whether he/she knows it or not.

Kids are the most vulnerable in addiction situations because they are virtually helpless to do anything about the problem. They must watch in silence as parents lose control, eventually becoming entirely dependent on the drugs they are abusing. And, unfortunately, some of the loss of control can be manifested in violence toward innocent children.

Prescription drug abuse also separates partners and spouses. When one abuses prescription drugs to the point of being controlled by them, that person tends to take out unhappiness and frustration on the other. The abuser may withdraw as well, causing the spouse or partner to feel completely isolated even though both are living in the same household.

If things get bad enough, it is not uncommon for spouses to walk out on partners and take the children with them. Costly and painful divorce or separation may follow, leaving the drug abuser all alone. Extended family members and friends may eventually abandon the drug abuser because being around that person is no longer bearable. The result is complete and total isolation from everyone except other drug abusers.

Prescription Drug Abuse and the Community

A community is simply a collection of the individual families within it. Therefore, prescription drug abuse does have an adverse impact on entire communities. Where drug abuse is prevalent, family instability and crime also tend to be problems. Poverty is another consideration as well.

Please understand that you are harming your family and community if you are abusing prescription drugs. You may not see that harm now, but it exists nonetheless. Do yourself, your family and your community some good by seeking help from a professional. The sooner you get off prescription medications, the sooner everyone around you will be better off.

Treatment and Support

Treatment for prescription drug addiction is available throughout the UK. Treatment takes many forms, depending on the kinds of medications being abused, so it’s not possible for us to provide a detailed picture of what any given treatment programme would entail. However, we can provide some general guidelines.

Prescription medications that create physical dependence require a treatment programme that involves a combination of detox, rehabilitative therapy, and ongoing support via aftercare. Detox is the shortest of the three components, with completion possible within 7 to 10 days. The duration of rehabilitative therapy and aftercare varies by individual and drug type.

Prescription medications that do not create physical dependence generally do not require detox to beat. Patients go directly into rehabilitative therapies designed to address the emotional and psychological issues relating to drug abuse. Aftercare is also provided once rehabilitative therapy is complete.

In terms of support, it is made available through counselling and support groups. Private counsellors work with patients and their families to overcome the harm caused by drug abuse and addiction while support groups help participants cope with future temptations to return to drugs. The combination of both has proven vital for many prescription drug addicts who have successfully overcome their issues.

Let Us Help You

Our primary function is to act as a referral service to clients and their families struggling with drug and alcohol issues. We can help you if you are willing to get in touch with us. The first step in getting you the help you need is to assess your situation in order to determine how serious your drug problem is. From that assessment, we can put together a list of treatment providers from which you can choose the most appropriate treatment.

We usually recommend inpatient treatment at a private clinic for the most severe cases. Inpatient treatment offers the most concentrated care in an environment that is very conducive to recovery. For those who do not need inpatient treatment, there are numerous outpatient options including private clinics, private counsellors, support groups, drug and alcohol charities, and NHS services.

As an organisation, we are devoted to refer our clients to any provider that we believe is best suited to their requirements. Please note that all of our services are absolutely free and completely confidential. You have nothing to lose by contacting us and speaking to one of our trained counsellors. If we can help you, we would like to do so today.