Prescription Drug Abuse: Am I Addicted?

When visiting the doctor for a condition that involves moderate to severe pain, one might expect to be prescribed stronger painkillers than those available over the counter in a local pharmacy. Prescription medication is generally prescribed for short-term pain relief for a variety of conditions, and most people assume that it is safe to take. And it is; provided it is not abused. Sadly, prescription drug abuse is very common, and many people do not even realise that the way in which they take their medication constitutes abuse.

There is a reason certain medications can only be prescribed by a doctor, and this reason is that it is dangerous and highly addictive, especially when not taken as directed by the GP. These drugs are effective when it comes to pain relief but they are still highly addictive so should only be taken temporarily or there is an increased risk of addiction.

What Is Classified as Prescription Drug Abuse?

Most people assume that medication prescribed by a doctor is entirely safe to take. They do not even consider the fact that it could be harmful because, in their mind, the doctor would not prescribe it unless it was one hundred per cent safe.

The fact is that some medication can be dangerous, even when prescribed by a GP. It is always wise to read the instruction leaflet thoroughly when taking new medication and to only take it exactly as prescribed by a doctor.

Taking higher doses of a medication than advised to by a physician is classed as prescription drug abuse. It is also abuse to take medication that has been prescribed for another person or taking the drug at increasingly frequent intervals, meaning taking more of the drug in a twenty-four-hour period than advised by a GP.

How Prescription Drug Abuse Can Lead to Addiction

While prescription drug abuse can often result in an increased tolerance to the effects of the drug, so too can taking the drug over an extended period of time. Prescription medication is designed for temporary use due to its addictive nature.

When it comes to prescription medication, most doctors will only prescribe it if the benefits outweigh the risks. For example, it will be prescribed if they the GP believes that a patient needs relief from moderate to severe pain for a short period of time.

Nevertheless, the more of the drug the patient takes, the more his or her body will adapt to the effects. After a while, the patient may begin to feel as though the medication is not working anymore. Chronic pain sufferers often find that prescription medication stops being effective the longer they are taking it. This is because their body has become tolerant to the effects of the drug and has adapted to its presence.

After a while, the body comes to expect the drug, and if it does not arrive, it must adjust again and try to get back to normal. This can result in various physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. Those who have become physically dependent on prescription medication may experience mood swings, sweating and headaches when they stop taking their tablets.

Signs That You May Be Addicted to Your Prescription Medication

You may be of the opinion that it is impossible to become addicted to drugs prescribed by your doctor, until, that is, you stop taking them and realise that you ‘need’ them. You may start experiencing withdrawal symptoms when your pills have run out, and you are feeling anxious and irritable while fretting about where to source some more pills.

The type of prescription medication addiction symptoms will vary depending on the medication you have been using, but if you are worried that you may have become addicted, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you find that you are taking higher doses of your medication than prescribed by your doctor?
  • Do you feel that you need to take your medication more regularly than you used to?
  • Have you visited more than one doctor for the same prescription?
  • Have you bought or have you thought about buying your medication online or on the street?
  • Have you taken prescription medication that was prescribed for another person?
  • Do you take prescription medication to alter your mood?
  • Do you feel irritable or anxious when your prescription is running low?
  • Do you feel guilty about the amount of prescription medication you are taking?
  • Do you hide your prescription medication or lie about your use to concerned family members or friends?
  • Have your loved ones expressed concerns that you may be abusing your medication?
  • Do you continue to take the medication even though it affects your ability to function properly?
  • Do you continue to take your medication even though it is having a negative impact on your everyday life?

If you have answered yes to two or more of the above questions, you may be guilty of prescription drug abuse and could indeed have an addiction that requires professional help.

Help for Addiction

Although you may find it difficult to see yourself as having an addiction, you need to accept this as a possibility if you are to get back to normal. As with other addictions, a prescription drug addiction is one that will worsen unless it is treated. Addiction is a progressive illness and it usually requires professional help.

One of the dangers of prescription drug addiction is the fact that those who are affected may become so desperate to get their hands on the drug that they may source fake versions online. These fake versions often contain a number of harmful chemicals that can be fatal. There is also the risk that the addicted individual will turn to street drugs such as heroin if unable to source medication.

If you are concerned about your prescription drug abuse or that of a loved one, contact today, before the problem spirals out of control. We can assess your situation and provide information regarding treatment providers to suit your needs. Our service is free and completely confidential, so nothing you say will be shared with anyone else without your explicit permission.

close help
Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 0324