Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction and addiction to over the counter medicines is becoming more and more common in the UK. It is thought that the number of prescription drug addicts could be just as prevalent as illegal drug addicts in today’s society. The Internet also plays a substantial role in the increase in numbers of prescription drug addicts, as many controlled prescription only drugs can be purchased over the Internet without a prescription. The most commonly prescribed drugs that individuals become addicted to are:

Painkillers containing opiates e.g. Morphine, Co-codamol, Zapain, Tramadol and Dihydrocodeine

Benzodiazepines (used as an anti anxiety medication and muscle relaxant) e.g. Diazepam, Nitrazepam, Lorazepam, Chlordiazepoxide and Temazepam

Sleeping Tablets e.g. Zopiclone, Zolpidem, Nitrazepam

Stimulants (used for the treatment of narcolepsy and ADHD) e.g. Ritalin and Adderall

Most will start using prescription drugs for a genuine physical or mental health complaint, but then continue to use them even once the complaint has been resolved. This is largely due to them developing a physical dependency; they may not even realise that is has happened. Or, they may enjoy the effects of the drug so much that they continue to use them for this purpose. Opiate based painkillers, benzodiazepines and sleeping tablets should not be used for more than 14 days. These prescription drugs quickly lead to the individual developing a tolerance and dependency. This means that to discontinue the drug would result in an intense craving for more as the body goes into withdrawal.

The White Coat Dealers

For many, admitting they are addicted to prescription drugs is difficult. After all, if a qualified doctor prescribes them, it must be ok to take them. As a society, we are conditioned to trust the medical institution with our lives, and we do for good reason. They have the knowledge and power to cure us of our physical ailments and treat conditions that would otherwise end in great pain, disability and even death. Most prescription drug addicts will attribute their addiction to their Doctor and justify their dependence to the fact they are given repeat prescriptions. This is only a fraction of the truth; if you know in your heart you know longer require the medication for an original medical complaint, then why continue to use it?

Are You Addicted?

Ask yourself honestly why you feel the need to continue taking a prescription drug; only you will know the truth. If you are still unsure if you have an addiction ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are your motives for taking the drug centred on fear of withdrawal or wanting to change the way you feel?
  • Do you find yourself lying in order to get more or a repeat prescription?
  • Do you manipulate your doctor or try other doctors to get your prescription?
  • Do you feel fearful of running out?
  • If your doctor refuses to prescribe further, do your resort to obtaining the drug through other means?
  • Do you hide the amount you take from family and friends?
  • Do you take more of your medication than prescribed to gain a greater effect?
  • Do you purchase the drug without a legal prescription?
  • Do you often wish you could stop, or attempt to stop, but fail?
  • Do you feel guilty or ashamed around your prescription drug taking?
  • Do you continue to take the drug despite consequences to you mental and physical health?
  • Has taking the drug negatively impacted on your social life, finances, career or relationships?
  • Do you take prescribed drugs that do not belong to you?

If you answer yes to any one of these questions, it is possible you have a prescription drug addiction and need professional and medical help to stop. Call us now to find out more about our residential medical detox and rehabilitation programme for prescription drug addiction.

Abusing Prescribed Medication

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications should always be taken as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Many individuals do not adhere to these instructions, thinking that they know better, they are unaware of the dangers. Instead they take more than the prescribed dose or mix the medication with other drugs to increase the effects. This is known as prescription drug abuse. It can lead to long-term health implications and put the user at high risk of overdosing – leading to death.

Prescription Drug Dependency

Patients, who become physically dependent on their medication and rely on higher and higher doses to gain the same benefits, have developed a physical addiction to the drug; this is known as tolerance. Their brain and body has adjusted to having a certain amount of the drug present in their system. They are tolerant to its effects. Going without, or taking less will result in withdrawal symptoms. They will find that the originally prescribed dosage does not carry the same desired effect and that they need to take an increasing amount to achieve this. Whether they know it or not, they have developed a dependency and will likely need medical assistance in order to stop the medication completely. Dependency carries both short term and long terms risk to the user. Short term, withdrawal effects can be life threatening from some medications. In the long term, there is the risk of permanent damage to their physical and mental health

Causes of Prescription Drug Addiction

There is no one reason why one individual develops an addiction to prescription drugs and another does not. Those who have mental health issues or addiction in their family are at higher risk. Sometimes an individual becomes dependent but does not abuse the medication. This can happen if they need to take an addictive medication for a longer period of time. Until they try to stop and consequently experience withdrawal symptoms, they may not even have realised that they have developed a dependency. For some there may have been a trauma or event that happened that precipitated them abusing prescribed medication. But whatever the reason, it will only have been a trigger for a deeper-rooted cause. Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease; abuse of drugs can trigger this deadly mental health condition. Sometimes there does not need to be a trigger and the individual will seek ways of escaping themselves and reality as they see it. For permanent recovery from addiction the individual will:

  1. Need to be completely abstinent from drugs
  2. Undergo a sufficient change in their thinking and perception to avoid returning to drugs

Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction

A Primrose Lodge offer a full in-house medical detox and rehabilitation programme to those suffering from an addiction to prescribed drugs. Prescription drug detoxes can take anything from 1 week up to 6 and beyond, depending on the amount you are taking and how long you have been taking it for. Our fully qualified doctor will conduct a full medical assessment on your admission to our clinic. You will then be prescribed a detox regime to help you come off of the drugs at a comfortable and safe rate. Whilst you are detoxing you will receive counselling support and full therapy services to treat the root cause of your addiction. Those that undergo only a short detox are advised to stay for a full rehab programme. Our primary care programmes run from 4 up to 12 weeks. Whilst with us you will benefit from high levels of support, comfortable and beautifully decorated accommodation, full catering and laundry services, regular medical reviews and a personalised therapeutic treatment plan incorporating the best in proven addiction treatments. With our highly skilled and experienced clinical team, we have complete confidence that we can help you to become free of your addiction to prescription drugs on a permanent basis.

“I felt weak and ashamed that I had become addicted to my prescribed medication. It took a lot to admit I had a problem. Primrose Lodge is such a healing and compassionate place. I learned I was suffering from a condition that was beyond my mental control and that I could overcome this by following the suggestions of the Counsellors and Therapists. I haven’t looked back since”

Michael 55

Don't waste another day on addiction
Call Now 0203 553 9263
Call Now 0203 553 9263

Call Now 0203 553 9263

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  • Guildford
  • Surrey GU3 3RF