A guide to overcoming prescription drug addiction

Sometimes, when dealing with prescription drugs, it may feel as though they act like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You might have seen in the news that some countries have been and are currently battling a prescription drug crisis, with millions suffering from the effects of addiction. Perhaps you, too, have unwittingly formed an addiction to these types of drugs.

In this blog, our aim is to promote awareness about the dangers of prescription drugs, highlighting the potential risks they carry, as well as providing information on treatment options available at prescription drug rehab centres.

Which prescription drugs can be addictive?

When it comes to most doctor-patient interactions, many patients will implicitly trust their doctors with whatever is being prescribed. After all, they are the experts. However, it’s important to remember that you also have a role to play, namely, being cautious with prescription drugs.

Once we recognise that some of these medications can be addictive if not monitored and closely tracked, we understand that they could pose a danger. This is not to scare you away from taking your prescribed medication but rather a gentle reminder to be vigilant when taking prescriptions.

Below are two types of popular prescription drugs that have the potential to become addictive if not closely monitored by both the patient and the doctor.

Benzodiazepine prescription drugs

Benzodiazepines are medications that help calm your brain and nerves by boosting the action of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps slow down thought processes and feelings of unease. They’re often prescribed for dealing with anxiety, sleep issues, agitation, seizures, muscle spasms and help with alcohol withdrawal. They’re also used to relax patients before some medical procedures.

However, benzodiazepines have the capacity to be addictive. Over time, your body might need more of them to get the same effect, leading to physical dependence. Stopping them suddenly after long-term use can cause severe withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, seizures and in rare cases, even death.

The longer you use them and the higher the dose, the greater the risk of becoming dependent. There’s also a chance of psychological addiction, where people start relying on them to deal with everyday stress and anxiety.

Opioid prescription drugs

Opioid prescription medications are powerful painkillers that work by latching onto specific receptors in your brain, blocking pain signals and releasing large amounts of dopamine, which can create a feeling of euphoria. They’re typically prescribed for moderate to severe pain, especially after surgery or for chronic pain conditions.

However, opioids come with a significant risk of addiction. This is because the boost in dopamine can lead to a craving for that euphoric feeling, pushing people to use more than prescribed.

Over time, the body adapts to the drug, requiring more to achieve the same pain relief or high, leading to physical dependence. If someone tries to quit after becoming dependent, they might experience intense withdrawal symptoms, including severe pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and strong cravings.

The longer and more you use opioids, the higher the chance of developing an addiction. Plus, there’s the risk of turning to stronger opioids or even illegal drugs like heroin if prescription opioids become too hard to obtain.

Case study: Stacy’s story

In a 2011 YouTube interview, Stacy shares her journey of becoming addicted to prescription drugs after her doctors prescribed them for shoulder pain. Although she never mentioned the specific name of the drug, she described it as a powerful painkiller.

She discusses how she forged prescriptions to obtain more of the drugs until the police eventually caught her. Stacy recalls that was the moment she realised she had an addiction.

She decided to seek help from a prescription drug rehab centre and shared her experience:

“When I entered treatment, I expected to be treated like this awful, horrible person that I thought I was. And I think learning that, through the treatment and my therapy sessions, the things that I did are things that I did. They were a way in… and I lost a lot of trust with my husband. My children are just now, after almost a year clean, starting to get their mother back.”

After completing prescription drug rehab, Stacy reflected on her sober life:

“I wake up every day so unbelievably grateful for the (prescription drug rehab programme), for everything that I’m going through, for the (rehab) programme, the aftercare program, my therapists… It’s held me accountable but it’s saved my life. I don’t know where I would be today without it. I know that I could not have saved myself.”

What can we learn from Stacy’s story?

Stacy’s story is a heartfelt reminder that it’s never too late to turn your life around, even when addiction leads you down a path of crime and damaged relationships. Her struggle with prescription drug dependency, a misguided attempt to manage pain, spiralled out of control, but her journey didn’t end there. By embracing treatment at a rehab clinic, Stacy found her way back.

Her experience shines a light on the reality that, regardless of how deep you’ve fallen into the grips of addiction, there’s hope. With the right support and a dose of courage, reclaiming your life and healing broken bonds is possible. Stacy’s transformation is a testament to the power of help and healing.

What can I expect to happen at prescription drug rehab?

If you’re currently struggling with prescription drugs, you may have been inspired by Stacy’s story to get help or at the very least, learn how the treatment process works. Below, we take a look at each stage of the prescription drug addiction treatment stages to show you how it unfolds.

Beginning with detox

The road to recovery starts with detoxification—a crucial, albeit challenging, phase that paves the way for genuine healing. Detox is about more than just clearing drugs from your system; it’s the foundation upon which your recovery is built. It’s necessary because it addresses the physical hooks these medications have on your body, making it possible to focus on the psychological aspects of addiction without the full-blown effects of withdrawal symptoms. But this doesn’t rule out the possibility of experiencing withdrawal symptoms entirely.

Prescription drug withdrawal

The experience of withdrawal can vary widely, depending on the drug at hand. Symptoms might range from sleeplessness and anxiety to physical discomfort and mood swings. Though daunting, these signs are the body’s way of readjusting to a new normal.

What makes this stage manageable is the unwavering support from medical professionals, available 24/7. They’re there to ensure your safety, keep discomfort at bay with medications if needed and offer reassurance that you’re not alone in this.


Post-detox, you will enter the therapy side of recovery—both in one-on-one and group settings. Techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) are mainly used, offering tools to unearth the root causes of addiction, forge new coping strategies and resist the urge to fall back into old habits.

Holistic methods

For some, the path to prescription drug misuse might have started recreationally. Here, rehab centres offer holistic therapies like yoga, meditation and art, inviting a deeper exploration of the self. These practices aim to heal not just the addiction but the person as a whole, encouraging a journey inward to confront underlying issues.


The journey doesn’t end at the rehab centre’s doors. Aftercare is the bridge back to everyday life, offering a safety net to those stepping back into the world. Whether it’s through ongoing therapy, support groups or other resources, this phase is about ensuring the road to recovery is one you don’t have to walk alone.

Starting this journey is acknowledging the need for change and the courage to pursue it. It’s about facing challenges head-on, with the promise of growth and healing at every step. With commitment and the right support, this path leads to a place of strength, health and renewed hope.

What are the next steps?

If you or a loved one is facing prescription drug addiction, remember that recovery is within reach with the right help. At UKAT, our prescription drug addiction treatment centres are here to offer you a full range of treatments, guiding you or your loved one towards rehabilitation and a fresh start. Our dedicated team provides personalised support, ensuring the journey to recovery is fully supported at every step. It’s time for a new chapter. Reach out to us today and begin your journey to recovery at our prescription drug addiction rehabilitation clinic.

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