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The Different Types of Prescription Drug Addiction

Nicholas Conn
Nicholas Conn

Nicholas is a leading addiction expert UK's go-to man on related matters for the national press, TV and radio.

The Different Types of Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug misuse and addiction can be a difficult topic to talk about and a difficult issue to address, especially if you think you are recognising a problem in someone else.

If you think you think you or someone you know might have a problem with prescription drug abuse or addiction, then learning about it is the first step to recognising the problem so you can therefore do something about it and reach out for support and guidance. There are experts near you that want to help.


Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction can be a daunting thing to come to terms with. Here at Rehab Centres UK, we can provide you with the right help so you can help yourself to overcome your psychological and physical dependence on prescription medication.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today and keep reading to learn more about prescription drug abuse and addiction.


Can You Be Addicted to Prescription Drugs?

Yes, it is possible to become addicted to drugs that have been prescribed by a doctor. Just because prescription drugs are legal does not mean these substances can not be addictive. Prescription drugs should only be taken only under doctors’ orders and should never be abused – just because they are prescribed doesn’t mean they are safe.

Addictive prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as other substances including illegal drugs if you abuse your prescription or are taking them long-term.


What Are the Main Types of Addictive Prescription Drugs

There are several different types of commonly abused prescription drugs that can lead to addiction including drugs such as some of the ones listed below.



Diazepam and other Benzodiazepines – these drugs help to relax your muscles to treat anxiety in extreme cases but these are highly addictive.



Drugs used to treat severe pain such as Codeine, Morphine, Tramadol, Oxycodone/Oxycontin and Hydrocodone are all examples of chronic pain medication. These drugs lower your reaction to pain and relieve it. Being addicted to opiates/prescription opioids may put you at risk of an overdose.



Stimulant examples include Concerta, Ritalin, Dexedrine and Adderall which increase your attention span as well as heighten your energy and alertness. They are typically used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy. Addiction to stimulants can result in a tolerance build-up and therefore lead to misuse and then a disorder.



Antipsychotic medications alter brain chemistry which helps reduce psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking such as paranoia and hearing voices. Addiction to these substances can cause drug dependence on them and can have nasty prescription drug withdrawal symptoms.


Antidepressants and Anti-anxiety Medications

These drugs can be very addictive if taken long-term, when someone stops taking antidepressants after long-term use they may experience antidepressant discontinuation syndrome which can impact their physical and mental health.

Why Do Prescription Drugs Cause Addiction?

Many may often wonder, why and how someone can become addicted to prescription drugs if they are firstly legal and secondly have been purposely prescribed to benefit someone, not to cause them harm.

Long-term usage of prescription drugs can allow the taker of the drugs to become reliant on them and develop a physical and/or psychological dependence. This can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug or lower your dosage – which in turn, leads to addiction.

You can become addicted to prescription drugs, even if you don’t abuse them or misuse them. Some common contributing factors to prescription drug addiction include if you have a history of other types of addiction including illicit drugs, alcohol or tobacco/nicotine – or if you have a family history of addiction or substance abuse you may be more likely to fall into the same pattern.


How to Reduce the Risk of Becoming Addicted to Prescription Drugs

To reduce the risk of becoming addicted to prescription drugs then you must carefully follow the instructions given to you by your doctor on how to take your prescription medications and the quantity of them.


The Signs of Prescription Drugs Addiction

Signs of prescription drug addiction can vary and depend on different factors, including the individual and the type of prescription drug they have been consuming. Prescription drugs can also affect various areas of your life such as relationships, finances and your health both physical and mental.

Some of the most common signs to look out for in prescription drug abuse and addiction include some of the following:

  • Hiding drug use from others
  • No longer partaking in hobbies you once enjoyed
  • Visiting multiple doctors to try to obtain multiple prescriptions you don’t need
  • Consuming prescriptions faster than instructed to
  • Stealing or forging other people’s prescriptions
  • Asking others for their prescriptions
  • Finding you are unable to stop taking prescription drugs, even when you want to
  • Feeling defensive about your prescription drug use


Prescription Drug Abuse

To abuse prescription drugs is slightly different from being addicted to them, although they are both forms of substance disorder.

Abusing prescription medication involves taking them in a way other than the right way it has been prescribed. If you abuse prescription drugs you may:

  • Crush tablets up or empty capsules to snort
  • Mix prescription medications with alcohol or other drugs
  • Take your prescription to get high or experience euphoric feelings
  • Take someone else’s prescription
  • Take a higher dose or more frequently than recommended
  • Take your prescription more


Getting Help for Prescription Drug Addiction

If you can relate to this page and the symptoms of prescription drug use then remind you of someone you know then there are dedicated places to help with this kind of substance abuse.

The weaning-off process will involve detox from the prescription drug(s) in question, this is where you will learn to stop becoming reliant on the drug. This stage is likely to give unpleasant and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Sometimes the detoxing person must be accompanied by a medically trained professional as the detoxing process can be so dangerous and additional support is needed.

Detox will be followed by therapy, and different variations of therapy will be available depending on different rehab centres. Therapy is important as it deals with the psychological aspects of addiction and will aim to build on your strength, resilience, confidence and mental health.

Aftercare or secondary treatment is the third and final stage of overcoming your addiction, it helps to you ease back into society and back to a new and improved life.

Rehab Centre UK can help and connect you with the best treatment centre for you in your local area, whether it be on an inpatient basis at a residential facility or as an outpatient.

Need Help With Your Addiction?

If you are looking for rehab for your addiction, contact our 24/7 support line for help at 0808 175 7225 today.