Prescription Drug Addiction

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Prescription Drugs in Pill Form
Prescription drug addiction is a growing concern in our culture. Hydrocodone, Percodan, Vicodin, Codeine, Morphine, Librium and other types of opioids are becoming more popular substances of abuse. Like other forms of dependency, it knows no boundaries, affecting people of all races, educational levels, and economic backgrounds. Teenagers, adults, and even the elderly are all susceptible to becoming addicted to prescription meds.

Many people become addicted to medications that have been prescribed by their physician for post-surgical pain, pain following an injury, or other valid medical reasons. Problems can develop when these pain relievers are not used as intended by the doctor or when they are used for long periods of time. At times it is most important to have preventative measures in place to address this. Dependence to a prescribed medication is just as destructive as dependence to any illicit substance. Statistics show that individuals who are addicted to these medications are also more likely to use illegal drugs.

Prescription Drug Addiction Symptoms

People who fall into medication abuse and become addicted to drugs develop a physical dependence and will go through withdrawal if they stop using it. The withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and in some cases very serious. Often a medically supervised detoxification program is necessary. Drug detoxification is not a therapy, but it helps people get through the withdrawal symptoms so that they will be ready to participate in an effective addiction treatment program.

Dependency involves not only a physical dependence, but also a psychological need or craving in spite of the negative consequences that come from using it. These negative effects can include loss of control, decrease in social interactions and recreational activities, ineffectiveness and inability to work, an increase in time spent obtaining and using drugs, and risk of overdose. This level of dependency also increases the risk of family struggles, medical complications and developing other behavioral or mental health disorders.

Prescription Drug Types & Medications

Many of the drugs we take each and every day have substances in them that can be habit forming. Cases of hospital visits and drug treatment episodes for prescription medications have grown a hundred fold in recent decades. Prescription painkillers contain synthetic opioids like hydrocodone or oxycodone. The brand names of abused painkillers include: Percocet, Lortab, Vicodin, and OxyContin amongst others. Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety disorders. Stimulant medications are used to help people focus or give them energy. These drugs are also addictive and can result in substance abuse and chemical dependency.

The following table breaks down the many different kinds of medications and their brand names. When used for the right reasons, these prescriptions are miracles. However there are still ingredients in their formulation that make them more addictive and likely to be abused.

Prescription Type Medication Type Associated Brand Names
Opioids Codeine Robitussin, Colrex, Tylenol 3, Soma
Opioids Fentanyl Actiq, Duragesic
Opioids Hydrocodone Vicodin, Lortab, Loricet
Opioids Morphine Duramorph, Roxinol
Opioids Oxycodone OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet
Depressants Barbiturates Nembutal, Luminal
Depressants Benzodiazepines Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Limbitrol
Depressants Sleep Aid Ambian, Lunesta
Stimulants Amphetamine-based Adderall
Stimulants Methylphenidate-based Ritalin, Concerta

Explanation of Drug Types

Counseling Session for Prescription Drugs Opioids

Opioids are a class of prescription drugs better known as OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Vicodin, codeine, and morphine. These drugs are prescribed to help with pain management by blocking the brain's perception of pain. Because of their pain relief capabilities and their release of dopamine it is relatively easy for individuals to develop an addiction to these types of painkillers. Although these drugs are safe when used as indicated in their prescription, they can be very dangerous when used in high doses. Even taking one large dose of these medications can cause respiratory failure and death. The danger of opioids becomes even greater when they are used in combination with other substances or alcohol.

Central Nervous System Depressants

Often called sedatives or tranquilizers, central nervous system depressants slow down the functioning of the brain and can affect people by producing a calm or drowsy feeling. They are used by doctors to treat anxiety and panic attacks. They include barbiturates and benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Librium, and Xanax. Long-term use of this class of medications can lead to a dependency, or addictions to the other medications of this class. Seizures can occur as a result of benzodiazepine withdrawal if people use less of the medication or stop altogether. This can in some cases lead to death.


Stimulants are medications that effect people by making them more alert and have more energy. These drugs are successfully used to treat ADHD, tiredness, fatigue and depression. They include Adderall, Dexedrine, Ritalin, and Concerta. Drugs in this category can give people a sense of euphoria, which leads to risk of increased dosing. When taken, stimulants raise blood pressure and heart rate. Taking large amounts can result in irregular heartbeat and even heart failure. Prescriptions also have many negative effects of stimulant withdrawal when abused, like fatigue, depression and inability / irregular sleep patterns.

Prescription Drug Types: Opioids

Treatment for Prescription Drugs

People who suffer from prescription drug addiction most times will need a professional rehab center in order to conquer their problem. It is a brain disease and can be treated successfully with the program at Cirque Lodge. We are an exclusive mountain location offering a private place for addiction treatment. There are many components to our program such as talking with an individual therapist, working in group therapy with other people who suffer from similar addictions, involving the family members in our family week program, participating in experiential activities, and becoming involved in 12-step programs.

Our drug treatment program will not only help people to stop using drugs, but will provide education on how to live more fully in a recovery program. People who have successfully completed our treatment program have acquired the tools that they need to handle cravings. They have also learned new coping skills that enable them to deal with stressful life situations, along with education to help them recognize the warning signs of relapse. A continuing care plan also provides long-term strategies for recovery and staying clean and sober. We are considered by many professionals as the preeminent treatment center for prescription drug issues.