Any advice given on this site should not be substituted for the advice of a qualified medical professional who is well-informed about prescription addiction and withdrawal. The best combination is to work with both your doctor and Pavilions. You are advised never to stop taking any medication abruptly, and without the consent of a qualified medical professional.

Prescription drug abuse refers to the use of prescription medications for other purposes or ways than prescribed. This includes taking someone else’s prescription medications to relieve the pain for instance, increasing the dose of prescribed medications without doctor’s consent and the use of medications as an alternative to illegal drugs. All three types of misuse of prescription drugs can cause serious complications which can even be fatal, while long term abuse can lead to addiction which changes the function of the brain and causes physical dependence.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs are the following:

  • Opiates - often prescribed to treat pain e.g. codeine.
  • Central nervous system depressants, which are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders e.g. benzodiazepines such as diazepam and temazepam.
  • Antidepressants, e.g. citalopram and mirtazapine.
  • Antihistamines, e.g. chlorphenamine.
  • Stimulants used to treat ADHD, such as dexamphetamine.

 

Many of these drugs have withdrawal symptoms similar, or worse, than the original condition. This might create an involuntary drug addiction.

Prescription drug addiction is often recognized by the doctor before it gets too severe because it typically involves taking higher doses than prescribed. A person who is addicted to prescription medications therefore frequently calls for refills, often “loses prescriptions”, or even steals or forges them. However, many seek prescriptions at other doctors especially when their primary doctors becomes suspicious, while some also take advantage of online pharmacies which do not always ask for a doctor’s prescription. Prescription drug addiction can therefore go unnoticed until it gets serious because most people who have a problem with any kind of addiction refuse to acknowledge it when confronted.

Like other forms of addiction, prescription drug addiction is treated a lot easier if the person receives medical help early. 

Here is a useful resource about opiates and pain: 

http://www.fpm.ac.uk/faculty-of-pain-medicine/opioids-aware