Prescription Drug Overview: Addiction Signs, Withdrawal and Treatment

Not everyone who takes prescription drugs will become addicted, but long-term use or misuse of prescription drugs can spiral into addiction before the person even knows its happening. There is also an alarming number of people who are abusing these types of drugs without a prescription simply to get high.

Prescription drug abuse can lead to serious health consequences and addiction if left untreated. If you or someone you love is misusing prescription drugs, a prescription drug rehab can help you break your addiction and regain control over your life. The first step is knowing the signs of prescription drug addiction, withdrawal and how to get help.

Which Prescription Drugs are Most Abused?

* Opioids. Opioids are medications normally prescribed to treat pain. Common opioids are Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Darvon (propoxyphene), Diluadid (hydromorphone), morphine, fentanyl, codeine, and other related medications.

* CNS depressants. CNS depressants are medications prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. They are tranquilizers or sedatives that slow normal brain function and include barbiturates (e.g.; Mebaral and Nembutal), benzodiazepines (e.g.; Valium and Xanax), and sleep medications such as Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta.

* Stimulants. Stimulants are medications prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. These include amphetamines (e.g.; Adderall and Dexedrine) and methylphenidates (e.g., Concerta and Ritalin).

Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

* Continued use of the drug, even after the pain it was prescribed for has ceased.

* Mood and behavior changes, such as becoming hostile, volatile, agitated or anxious.

* Secretive or deceitful behavior in order to obtain the drug. Having multiple prescriptions from more than one doctor or buying it off the street is a good indication that an addiction has started.

* Physical withdrawal symptoms when doses are missed. Flu-like symptoms such as joint and muscle aches, night sweats and insomnia are very common.

* Developing a high tolerance so that more pills are needed for the same desired effect.

* Withdrawal from friends, family and society, especially if people close to say you have a problem.

* Financial problems associated with having to purchase more and more pills.

Prescription Drug Withdrawal

Long-term use or abuse of prescription drugs can lead to physical dependence, which means that physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms will occur if the drug isn’t taken. The psychological symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal include anxiety, depression, insomnia and intense psychological pain that causes the person to falsely believe that they have to take painkillers in order to survive. Physical withdrawal symptoms from prescription painkillers include nausea, cramping, vomiting, hot/cold sweats and joint and muscle pain.

Prescription Drug Detox

Prescription drug detox is an essential part of any recovery program. Without it, residual drug toxins can remain in the body and cause cravings long after the drug use has ceased, putting the person at risk for relapse. Detoxification flushes out all of the painkiller’s toxic residue and purifies the person’s body so the unwanted effects of the drug are not present and the person can focus on the treatment program.

The second step of prescription drug detox is treating the mental addiction to painkillers. Even when the addict wants to be sober, the mind will tell the addict it needs more pills in order to function. Undergoing addiction treatment at a prescription drug rehab will provide a safe, supportive environment free of temptation and access to pills so that the mental addiction can be broken.

Prescription Drug Rehab

There are many different types of drug rehabs, but the best type of drug rehab for prescription drug abuse is residential treatment. Residential treatment for prescription drug abuse provides a structured environment that’s free of temptations and distractions, and provides round-the-clock care and support to help the individual focus on recovery. Residential treatment programs will provide supervised detoxification from the prescription drug’s harmful toxins, individual and group therapy to learn new behavior skills, and holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation and equine therapies to heal the spirit and mind as well as the body.

Don’t let prescription drug abuse define who you are any longer. Get the help you need and deserve at a quality prescription drug rehab. Call Casa Palmera today.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.