Prescription drug addiction

Prescription drugs are a valuable resource in modern medicine, helping people manage or cure various health conditions. However, it is essential to recognise that prescription drugs have a dark side, as they can have harmful consequences when misused.

If you’re struggling with prescription drug addiction, understand that hope and support are available to help you overcome this challenge. A life free of prescription drugs is possible, and we’re here to provide compassionate and caring assistance every step of the way.

Prescription drug addiction - range of prescription drugs

What is prescription drug addiction?

A prescription drug addiction refers to the compulsive and excessive use of prescription medications in a way that deviates from the prescribed guidelines. It occurs when prescription drugs are used for non-medical reasons or in higher doses than recommended. This can lead to physical and psychological dependence.

There are many different types of prescription drugs in the UK, with some having the potential for addiction if misused. Here are some of the most common prescription addictions treated at Oasis Runcorn;

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Amphetamine addiction

Amphetamines are synthetic stimulants that increase brain chemicals, such as dopamine, to create a feeling of euphoria. These drugs are addictive because they alter the brain’s reward system, leading to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

Amphetamine addiction →

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Benzodiazepine Addiction

Due to their calming effects, benzodiazepines are primarily prescribed to alleviate anxiety and insomnia. However, they possess addictive properties as they can lead to physical and psychological dependence if misused. Click the button below if you would like to learn more.

Benzodiazepine addiction →

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Opioid Addiction

Opioids bind to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord, blocking pain signals and producing feelings of euphoria. Over time, the brain becomes tolerant of the drug, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect. This can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid addiction →

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Sleeping Pills Addiction

Sleeping pills enhance the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which slows down brain activity and induces sleep. Over time, the brain becomes tolerant of the drug, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect. Click the button below if you would like to learn more.

Sleeping pills addiction →

How do you get addicted to prescription drugs?

Prescription drugs come in many different types, each intended for specific medical purposes. Although guidelines are put in place to prevent prescription drug addiction, sometimes these are ignored, or the effects of the drug are too strong for the user. Here are some of the most common ways an addiction to prescription drugs can form:

Misuse of prescribed medication

When it comes to taking prescription medication, some individuals may decide to stray from the prescribed dosage and take higher doses. They do this in hopes of intensifying the effects of the medication. However, it’s important to note that this behaviour can be dangerous and is not recommended. Altering the dosage without proper medical guidance could lead to a prescription drug addiction.

Using someone else’s prescription medication is also a practice that should be avoided. Even if you have good intentions, such as seeking relief from pain, taking medications that were prescribed to others can lead to a prescription drug addiction. Each person’s medical condition and needs are unique, and what works for one individual may not necessarily work for another.

Recreational use of prescription drugs

Recreational use of prescription drugs is where some purposefully use prescription medications for non-medical reasons. Their primary goal is to experience a euphoric high or alter their mind. This behaviour can be extremely dangerous and is considered drug misuse, which could lead to prescription drug addiction. Prescription drugs are designed to address specific medical conditions and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Medical necessity leading to dependence

Even though you may follow doctors’ guidelines, you can still become addicted to prescription drugs due to their addictive nature and how they affect the brain. Some prescription drugs, when taken for long periods or in high doses, can create chemical changes in the brain, leading to addiction. Proper education and close monitoring can help prevent prescription drug addiction.

Am I addicted to prescription drugs?

It’s crucial to check in with yourself regularly to ensure you’re not developing an addiction to prescription drugs. Take the time to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you take prescription drugs in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed?
  • Have you tried to cut down or stop using the medication but found it too difficult?
  • Do you feel preoccupied with thoughts about obtaining or using the prescription drug?
  • Have you experienced negative consequences in your personal life, work or relationships due to your prescription drug use?
  • Have you noticed an increase in tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability or physical discomfort, when you try to reduce or stop using the medication?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions, it’s advised that you seek medical help as soon as possible, as you may be showing signs of an addiction to prescription drugs.

What makes a prescription drug addiction so dangerous?
Prescription drug addiction can significantly affect both the body and mind, contributing to its dangerous nature. It’s important to note that addiction to different prescription drugs can cause slightly different effects, but here are some of the most common symptoms on both the body and the mind:

Physical effects of prescription drug addiction…

  • Respiratory depression
  • Cardiovascular problems (elevated heart rate, high blood pressure)
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Gastrointestinal issues (constipation, nausea, vomiting)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Muscle weakness and coordination difficulties
  • Dizziness and balance problems

Prescription drug addiction - man struggling with cardiovascular problems

Psychological effects of prescription drug addiction…

  • Impaired cognitive function (memory problems, difficulty concentrating)
  • Mood swings
  • Increased risk of mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, mood disorders)
  • Paranoia or hallucinations (in some cases)
  • Impaired judgement and decision-making abilities
  • Personality changes
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia or excessive drowsiness)
  • Psychosis (in rare cases, with certain medications)

How can Oasis Runcorn help with prescription drug addiction?

At Oasis Runcorn, we offer a specific treatment programme for people struggling with prescription drug addiction. Our programme is designed to provide a clear and focused path towards recovery, free from the distractions and pressures of daily life, allowing you to concentrate on your healing journey fully.

Our detox programme is gentle and effective, eliminating harmful toxins accumulated from prescription drug abuse. Our dedicated professionals provide round-the-clock support, ensuring your comfort throughout the process.

Once detox is complete, our comprehensive rehab programme begins. Through individual therapy sessions and group support, you will explore the root causes of your prescription drug addiction and develop effective coping strategies to support your ongoing recovery.

How can I help a loved one with a prescription drug addiction?

We understand how heartbreaking it is to watch a loved one go through a prescription drug addiction but try to remember that you can do things to help. Below are tips you can follow to help your loved one and yourself during this challenging time:

  • Educate yourself: Learn more about prescription drug addiction, signs of prescription drug addiction and treatment options. This will help you understand what your loved one is going through and how you can support them.
  • Express your concern: Talk to your loved one about your concerns and let them know that you are there to support them. Be honest and clear about the impact their prescription drug addiction is having on their lives and those around them.
  • Encourage treatment: Encourage your loved one to seek professional help for their prescription drug addiction. Point them in the direction of a healthcare professional for further advice.
  • Create a support system: Build a support system for your loved one by involving family members and/or friends who can offer encouragement and support.
  • Practice self-care: Caring for someone with a prescription drug addiction can be challenging and emotionally draining. Make sure to take care of yourself and seek support from others. Consider joining a support group for friends and family members of those struggling with addiction.

What are the next steps?

If you or your loved one is struggling with a prescription drug addiction, know that hope and assistance are available. Although it can be overwhelming, seeking support is the first step towards reclaiming your overall health.

Our team of medical experts at Oasis Runcorn can provide the necessary support and tools to help you overcome prescription drug addiction and achieve a successful recovery. Begin your journey towards a happier, healthier life by taking the courageous step of contacting us today.

Frequently asked questions

Are all prescription drugs addictive?
No, not all prescription drugs are addictive. Prescription drugs are classified into different categories; some are known to have addictive properties, while others do not. If you have concerns about the addictive potential of your prescription medication, talk with your healthcare provider.
How long does it take to get addicted to prescription drugs?
The speed of developing an addiction to prescription drugs hinges on factors such as drug type, personal susceptibility, dosage, usage frequency, and individual circumstances. Typically, prescription drug addiction might take hold within weeks to months of consistent use. Recognising that addiction is intricate and personalised is crucial, implying that not all prescription drug users will inevitably become addicted.