Addiction is an illness that is surrounded by stigma and feelings of guilt and shame, so those affected often do not want to admit to having a problem. And while most people assume that addiction is something that affects only those who abuse illegal drugs or alcohol, the reality is that any pattern of behaviour that causes negative consequences can be classed as an addiction. This includes gambling, sex, shopping and even taking prescription drugs. Here at Primrose Lodge, we often get calls from individuals asking us what is prescription drug addiction? It is difficult for most people to comprehend that such an illness actually exists.
Those who have developed an addiction to medication prescribed by their doctor are usually horrified to be told that they may need to complete a programme of detoxification and rehabilitation to get their lives back on track. This is particularly so for those who have never touched an illegal drug and who only drink alcohol in moderation.
The very idea that a prescription drug can cause addiction is incomprehensible to many individuals, but the reality is that many of these medications are highly addictive. Indeed, most people do not even understand what is classed as prescription drug abuse.
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
When it comes to the question of what is prescription drug addiction, we must first look at what is classed as prescription drug abuse as most sufferers do not realise they are guilty of this. There is a common misconception that prescription medication is completely safe, and while it is deemed as safe to take exactly as prescribed by a medical professional, deviating from these instructions can be dangerous.
There is a very good reason that doctors and other medical professionals study for a long time before being certified to prescribe medication. Many of the drugs we take are very dangerous when abused. Most prescription medications are designed to be used over a short period of time for the symptoms that over-the-counter medication cannot relieve. They should never be used for a prolonged period as doing so can lead to addiction.
The mistake that most make is to assume that taking more of a prescription drug is okay. What tends to happen is that after a while, the body gets used to the presence of the prescription medication and will adapt by producing fewer ‘feel-good’ chemicals in response to it. This may mean that the individual feels as though he or she is not getting the same benefits from the medication that they did when first taking it. The temptation to up the dosage can quickly lead to a physical dependence, which can in turn result in a full-blown addiction. It is often the case that the individual has no idea of his or her dependence until trying to stop taking their prescription drugs. At that point, he or she will already be in need of professional help to quit.
Another form of prescription drug abuse is to take medication that was prescribed for another person. It is common for individuals to assume that medication that was prescribed for one person is okay to take if they believe they are suffering from the same medical condition. For example, if one person has taken a strong painkiller prescribed by their doctor for back pain, they may offer this to a friend or family member for the relief of their back pain. This is dangerous as there is always the risk that the pills may interact with other medications the person is taking, or that they could be in danger of having an allergic reaction.
What is the Negative Impact of Prescription Drug Addiction?
As with any other type of addiction, a prescription drug addiction can negatively affect the life of the individual as well as the lives of those around them. As the person becomes ever-more dependent on the drugs he or she is taking, their behaviour will begin to change. It is likely that he/she will start to neglect other responsibilities in their lives.
The individual will probably lie to their loved ones to hide their drug abuse, and if their prescription is stopped by their doctor, they may be tempted to source their pills elsewhere. This can be dangerous as many of the pills sold online are fake. Some people with prescription drug addiction may also be tempted to take alternative street drugs such as heroin if they are unable to get their hands on the medication they have come to rely on.
Prescription drug addiction can lead to poor physical and mental health, the breakdown of relationships, and financial struggles. Nevertheless, with the right help and support, it is an illness that can be overcome.
Where to Find Help for Prescription Drug Addiction
If you need help for a prescription drug addiction, it is essential to reach out as soon as possible. There is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about your predicament. There are many people throughout the United Kingdom going through the same thing as you right now, and here we have already helped many to overcome their illnesses.
We know that early intervention is key, and we want you to know that doing nothing now will only make your situation even worse. A prescription drug addiction will not go away by itself. If you have developed a physical dependence on your medication, you will need to complete a detox to help you break the cycle of addiction.
Once you are clean, you can then start the process of rehabilitation, which will help you to get a greater understanding of your illness and why you became addicted in the first place. Our professional counsellors and therapists will work with you throughout your treatment programme to help you learn positive alternatives to your addictive behaviour.
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All you need is a real desire to change and the motivation to make the call in the first place. You have nothing to be afraid of. Call us today to find out more about how we can help you get better.