Prescription drugs can be beneficial in the treatment of a variety of illnesses. On the other hand, some medications are more prone to misuse than others. Prescription drug addiction happens when medication use is exploited to achieve a high.

When people become obsessed with this high, they may abuse their medication by taking larger doses than those prescribed. Prolonged prescription abuse quickly leads to dependency, as the central nervous system becomes accustomed to the drug and its effects on the brain. If someone suddenly stops taking medicine, they may experience aggravating withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, using the drug for an extended time often results in a person developing a tolerance. The increased tolerance diminishes the effects of the drug and necessitates a higher dose to achieve the desired effects. This can trigger a constantly increasing dosage cycle, which could become fatal.

Prescription drug addiction can have many long-term severe implications, including physical and mental health risks and harmful effects on personal and professional relationships. Because many addictive medications are required to treat a wide range of physical and emotional ailments, the danger of prescription drug addiction is significant.

Fortunately, it is possible to overcome prescription drug addiction with the right rehabilitation program, such as those available at Psyclarity Health facilities. Our experienced team has experienced the difficulty that prescription drug withdrawal can cause. Although it is impossible to eliminate symptoms, we use all available treatments to ensure it is tolerably resolved. We provide our residents with comprehensive detoxification services that make their withdrawals as painless as possible.


Prescription drugs differ from over-the-counter medications available without a prescription, as pharmacies cannot lawfully distribute them without a medical prescription from a certified physician or doctor.

Prescription drugs are grouped into categories, each having its own purpose. As you can imagine, they also have their own distinct attraction to someone looking to abuse them. Certain prescription drugs are not as frequently abused as others due to the drug’s accompanying side effects. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids, stimulants, and central nervous system (CNS) depressants or sedatives. If you or someone you love regularly uses one of these prescription drugs, this indicates prescription drug abuse.


Opioid painkillers are prescription medications that alleviate pain by operating on opioid receptors in the body’s neurological system. Opioids come in various forms, including pills, capsules, and liquids. Due to the potential for addiction, many opioids require a prescription and are not available over-the-counter. Several of the most often prescribed opioid medications (together with their most frequently used brand names) include the following:

• Codeine (Fiorinal)

• Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze)

• Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Zohydro ER)

• Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)

• Morphine (Duramorph, MS Contin)

• Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone)

• Oxymorphone (Opana)

• Tramadol (Ultram)

When used as prescribed by a physician, opioids are exceptionally effective pain relievers. They can significantly enhance the quality of life for patients who suffer from chronic pain, particularly those who have undergone surgery or are undergoing cancer treatment.

People abusing prescription opioids can quickly find themselves in heroin addiction and are at high risk of severe mental health issues, including brain damage or even death. However, tolerance and dependency on opioids can escalate, and addiction can develop within two weeks of consistently using the medication. If dosages are increased excessively, individuals may develop significant adverse effects.


Prescription stimulant medications act similarly to cocaine. They boost energy and alertness while potentially elevating blood pressure and suppressing hunger in some cases. Numerous individuals take stimulants to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a disease characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

While stimulant prescription medications are frequently used in tablet form, others are available as a skin patch or a liquid. Certain stimulants are classified according to their duration of action, with three categories: short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting. Intermediate-acting stimulants have a longer half-life than short-acting stimulants but still require consistent dosing to be effective. Long-acting stimulants do not need to be taken regularly and can remain effective for hours, if not days while enhancing people’s alertness. The typical prescription stimulants are as follows:

Short-acting: amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall), dextroamphetamine sulfate (Dexedrine, Dextrostat), dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), methamphetamine (Desoxyn), and methylphenidate or MPH (Methylin, Ritalin)
Intermediate-acting: methylphenidate sustained release (Metadate CD, Metadate ER, Methylin ER, Ritalin LA, Ritalin SR)
Long-acting: amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall XR), methylphenidate (Concerta), methylphenidate (Daytrana), d-amphetamine sulfate (Dexedrine Spansules), dexmethylphenidate (Focalin XR), atomoxetine (Strattera), and lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse).

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants and Sedatives

Like marijuana or alcohol, central nervous system depressants operate as sedatives or tranquilizers, slowing down brain activity. They are sometimes referred to as “downers” to distinguish them from “uppers,” a term frequently used to refer to other drugs and stimulants such as Adderall and cocaine.

Depressants are the most commonly prescribed prescription medication for those struggling with sleep or anxiety disorders. The following are the most prominent:

• Eszopiclone (Lunesta)

• Zolpidem (Ambien)

• Pentobarbital (Nembutal)

• Alprazolam (Xanax)

• Clonazepam (Klonopin)

• Diazepam (Valium)

• Lorazepam (Ativan)

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter that acts as a signal to increase inhibition and decrease excitement in the brain and body. Depressants block the effects of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate by interacting with GABA receptors or otherwise enhancing GABA transmission. As a result, this can aid in reducing anxiety, sleep, and sedation. Depressants are separated into two main groups, Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates, also known as Z-drugs.

Benzodiazepines, often called benzos, such as Valium and Xanax, are psychoactive medications that psychiatrists prescribe to those suffering from acute stress responses, panic attacks, or severe anxiety and sleeplessness. Benzos aren’t only used to treat psychological problems. They can also be used to help people who are having difficulties physically. Benzos can work to treat convulsions in persons with cerebral palsy or relax a patient before undergoing surgery are among them. However, when misused consistently, benzodiazepines can become highly addictive. If not used properly, Individuals might develop a substance use disorder, and in some cases, the substance abuse can end up being more dangerous than the anxiety disorder itself.

Barbiturates, such as phenobarbital and pentobarbital, are used for their anxiety and seizure-control effects. They’re also given to patients before certain treatments to sedate them. In recent years, barbiturates have been replaced with benzodiazepines, which have fewer risks and adverse side effects. Barbiturates are a high-risk drug class because of their addictive properties. Barbiturate tolerance develops quickly in those who use the drugs regularly. Tolerance to barbiturates can develop even with one dose. When people become tolerant of barbiturates, there is an increased risk of physical and psychological dependence and overdose. Certain components make barbiturates far more toxic than benzodiazepines. If someone overdoses on barbiturates, there is a significant danger of death.


The function of the brain is controlled by chemicals released into the body by various organs, glands, and other parts. Drug use may be either reinforcing or inhibiting certain bodily functions. Therefore, over time, the person may depend on the drug for the body to operate correctly. The effects of prescription medicines are highly variable. Unfortunately, so too are the symptoms. However, some symptoms can be observed in all situations. People have even become addicted while taking medicine as prescribed by their doctor.

Psychological symptoms of prescription drug addiction

Some common psychological symptoms of prescription drug addiction include feeling paranoid, feeling anxious or agitated, experiencing mood swings, and suffering from delusions or hallucinations. Additionally, those addicted to prescription drugs may have difficulty concentrating, focusing on tasks, or remembering things. They may also fall into risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Finally, people with prescription drug addictions may isolate themselves from friends and family or develop criminal methods of getting money to buy drugs.


Problematic prescription drugs are not always easy to detect. The fact that a person may have an adverse reaction to any medicine does not necessarily mean that they have mistreated the substance. Using prescription medications is a serious problem putting people with stout mental health conditions at risk of developing substance abuse disorders. The following are some things to look out for if suspecting misuse:

• Stealing prescription medication

• Collecting prescriptions from multiple doctors

• Unreliability (neglecting responsibilities and obligations)

• Fabricating circumstances to justify getting more medication

• Experimenting with usage to achieve a more intense high

• Denial, justification, and other skittish behavior


Prescription drug abuse or addiction is just as dangerous as illicit drug abuse. Misusing prescription drugs can have serious consequences such as overdose, other mental health disorders, and even death. Psychoactive substances can reduce impulse control and increase the risk of unsafe behaviors such as having unprotected sex, which can result in sexually transmitted diseases. Taking sedatives or opioids can decrease cognitive function and reaction time, increasing the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents. Prescription drugs may produce or aggravate unwanted side effects at higher doses or when used differently than intended—for example, by crushing and snorting a pill rather than swallowing it.

Taking opioids at higher doses or mixing them with other substances, such as alcohol or CNS depressants, can slow breathing and heart rate to dangerous levels. Combining depressants with other medications that cause drowsiness, even certain over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines can cause the heart breathing to stop altogether, killing you. Misusing prescription stimulants can lead to dangerous increases in blood pressure, body temperature, and heart problems. Chronic, high-dose use of prescription stimulants may cause heart disease, seizures, intense agitation, panic and paranoia (feeling like someone is going to cause them harm), psychosis (hearing and seeing things that aren’t there), aggression, and suicidal or homicidal behavior.


First off, drug rehab or treatment facility like Psyclarity Health is always the best option when attempting recovery from drug abuse and prescription substance abuse disorder. Addiction treatment centers have the full capability to help you recover from your dependence and any other co-occurring conditions or mental illness.

Prescription medication addiction can be embarrassing, and it may be hard for some to seek treatment. But if left without treatment for an extended period, prescription drug abuse may be detrimental to the individual and their family members, friends, and society. It wreaks havoc on relationships and robs one of their integrity and self-esteem. In some cases, it could go on to ruin lives.

As a first step toward recovery, the addict must acknowledge that they cannot manage their drug use and require assistance. This sounds relatively straightforward, yet drug misuse weakens one’s judgment, and most addicts live in denial. Even when they are deeply addicted and aware of the harm their drug abuse is inflicting, a sizable number will continue to claim they are in control of the substance or are not misusing it. Fortunately, treatment programs such as the ones available at Psyclarity Health assist those who may be dependent on prescription medicines in regaining control of their lives. If you are battling addiction or know someone who is, now is the time to get addiction treatment.


The prescription drug addiction recovery programs at Psyclarity Health combine counseling, a supportive atmosphere, and the skills of certified medical professionals to map out the best treatment plan to help people rise above the need to misuse drugs. The individual’s unique circumstances determine the most appropriate prescription drug addiction treatment program and the type of drug abused. Addiction treatment choices can vary. However, we recommend prescription drug detox to start.

Withdrawal from prescription medications

When not supervised by medical professionals, it may be very uncomfortable to quit taking medications and may lead to serious health issues. Physical symptoms usually overlap and can cause severe pain, sleep disorders, and even temporary psychological issues. At Psyclarity Health, we provide our residents with comprehensive prescription drug addiction treatment, including medical detox services and the emotional support to make their withdrawals bearable.

Detox from prescription substances

When starting the detox process from narcotics and prescription drugs, it’s important to understand how the process works to ensure that the recovery journey will be smooth and seamless.

An evaluation is essential to determine the treatment plan needed for each client. This is a valuable part of the recovery process as it gives our medical professionals at Psyclarity Health an idea of what treatment options will work best. After the evaluation, the detoxification process can start. During this time, we evaluate symptoms, medical history, and the severity of narcotics or prescription medication addiction. Our team will then create a unique treatment plan for each individual to make the detox process as manageable as possible.

The detox process is completed under medical supervision at one of our treatment centers. The detoxification process will start automatically when an addicted person stops using drugs. During the process, the body works to remove the drugs in their system. The most effective form of detox is one that is medically supervised and assisted.

Once the process is completed and withdrawal symptoms are subdued, our team can guide the client through the following steps in their addiction treatment. Usually, the options are to combine behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment with the option of group counseling, inpatient rehab, or outpatient programs. Group therapy is utilized when clients feel they cannot complete the procedure alone – typically due to a high level of dependence. Sometimes family therapy may even be used to treat substance use disorder effectively.

Inpatient vs. outpatient programs

One of the first questions is whether you want inpatient or outpatient care. You’ll find that you have a lot of options when it comes to treatment. Outpatient programs are beneficial, but they might put you in the midst of a drug-abusing environment if you pick this option. Many individuals with severe addictions who experience numerous triggers at home will choose to start their recovery in an inpatient setting for this reason.

You may get help from a therapist or addiction treatment professional. During an evaluation, they may inquire about how long you’ve been using drugs, their impact on your life, your physical health, if you have any additional mental health issues (or dual diagnosis disorders), and so on. They could use the following criteria for substance use disorders to see how much your drug abuse is harming you and how aggressive your therapy must be.

The diagnostic criteria usually look like this:

You have used more of the substance than you intended, or you’ve used it for longer than planned, knowing it’s dangerous are causing difficulties with your medical or mental health. It’s interfering with your job, relationships, and social obligations because you’re using drugs. You’ve tried to stop taking pills or other medications but haven’t been able to due to a lack of willpower.

You have a dependency on prescription medicines. You spend a significant amount of your time obtaining, using, and recovering from prescription drugs. You consume prescription medications even when it’s possible to cause severe damage, such as when driving or operating machinery. Due to tolerance build-up, you must keep increasing your dose to get the desired effects. When you try to decrease your dose or stop taking the medication, you experience withdrawal symptoms.

It can be beneficial to complete both our inpatient and outpatient treatment options. Often people who complete the inpatient program will continue therapy on an outpatient basis to maintain their momentum. Your honesty in this assessment will guide our team in determining the most appropriate option for your addiction treatment.

If you are caught in addiction, it is time to seek professional help. Rehab can provide you with the tools and resources you need to overcome your addiction and get your life back on track. Don’t hesitate to call us. We will help you get started on the road to recovery.


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