Prescription Drug Addiction Overview
We place our trust in physicians to provide us with the pharmaceutical products that help heal us, make us feel better, and fight disease. Yet many prescription drugs have a high potential for addictionwhen used incorrectly or abused—or even when used correctly. If your prescription drug abuse is controlling you and not just the symptoms of your illness, it is time to seek help from a recovery professional.
How Prescription Drug Addiction Takes Hold
Abuse of prescription drugs is a common problem that can affect anyone, especially those looking for physical, mental, or emotional pain relief. Some prescription drugs, such as opioids, stimulants, and anti-anxiety or central nervous system depressants are known to be addictive. Even some over-the-counter medications contain addictive substances.
Your physician will prescribe a certain amount and dosage of the medication and monitor your use to ensure that you don’t become addicted. How do you know if your prescription drug use is moving toward the danger zone? Here are some signs that it is time to check in with your doctor and get help:
- If you take more than the prescribed amount or take it more frequently or longer than prescribed, you are setting yourself up for addiction.
- The condition the medication was prescribed for has improved or healed, and you are still taking the drug.
- You have cravings for the drug that take precedence over other areas of your life. Obtaining the drug and taking it consumes you and you are losing sight of the important things, such as family, work, and your passion for living.
- When you don’t take the prescription drug, you experience withdrawal symptoms, which can vary depending on the drug but can include physical flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, constipation, diarrhea, and insomnia. You may experience emotional symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, paranoia, and confusion.
- Your doctor refuses to prescribe more, so you look for alternative avenues to get the drug, such as doctor shopping (visiting more than one physician), online pharmacy shopping, asking your friends for their medications, buying it illegally from drug dealers, or stealing drugs or prescription pads to forge prescriptions.
Catching these symptoms early and realizing that the prescription drug you have been taking is no longer a healing tool but a harm is important for recovery.
Addictive Prescription Drugs
Many people don’t read the inserts that come with their prescription drugs or heed the warnings of addiction. If you are taking any of the following medications, you should be monitoring your own use and collaborating with your doctor on your program of care. Click on the links below to learn more about the potential for addiction with each drug:
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Recovery from Prescription Drug Addiction
When someone who doesn’t take street drugs and doesn’t have a problem with alcohol or any other substance becomes addicted to prescription drugs, it can come as a shock. You or your loved one may be embarrassed to admit that you have a problem. Facing those red flags of addiction is the first step toward healing. There is no shame in admitting that the drug that was supposed to help you has now become another kind of health crisis.
Addiction to prescription drugs can become so powerfully overwhelming that you can suffer physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal that require a medically supervised detox. Once the drugs are safely gone from your system, it’s time to heal the emotional part of you. An addiction to prescription drugs is like any other in that there may be other reasons you turned to the drug—stress in your life, unresolved feelings, a co-occurring disorder, such as depression or anxiety or PTSD.
A 30-day or 90-day program of recovery can help you find your true healing path free of the prescription drug that has taken hold of your spirit. There are other ways of treating the physical and emotional health problems that led to your prescription abuse. A holistic approach to recovery helps you learn how to overcome those problems while freeing yourself from the bonds of prescription drug addiction. A healthy life is possible again. Take that first step out of addiction and into recovery.