Prescription medication addiction

When pain management becomes addictive and unmanageable

Prescription medications are just as addictive as other substances. The Hader Clinic helps patients break the cycle of addiction with specialised clinical treatments.

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We can start treating prescription medication addiction immediately. Get in touch with The Hader Clinic for a Free 60-Minute Consultation. If the patient is in crisis, give us a call. We accept immediate admissions.

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How we treat prescription medication addiction

The term 'prescription medication' covers a range of legal drugs provided by medical and allied health professionals. These are usually administered to address pain, anxiety, and a range of physical, emotional, and psychological afflictions. However, when these active drugs are used outside of legitimate prescriptions, they become prone to abuse and addiction.

Our holistic addiction treatment program takes place at our private hospital. Each patient receives a personal treatment program, made up of different therapies and costs. This highly personal approach to treatment gives each patient the best possible chance at long term recovery.

The Hader Clinic’s Jackson Oppy explains how addicts are not able to predict how much they are going to use once they start using or control their use.

The effects of prescription medication addiction

Abusing prescription medication outside of their recommended usage can have a range of effects. These will vary from drug to drug. Here's a general overview of some effects of addiction.

Physical

  • Increase in blood pressure and blood sugar
  • Irreversible brain damage or heart attack
  • Slow, struggled breathing
  • Blurred vision and problems focusing
  • Impaired coordination
  • Blacking out and coma
  • Nausea and constipation
  • Changes in the structure and function of the brain
  • Disturbed sleep and eating habits
  • Cravings and unmanageable tolerance

Psychological

  • Psychosis and hallucinations
  • Decreased cognitive function
  • Triggers, compulsion, and obsession
  • Compulsive lying and denial

Emotional

  • Fatigue and listlessness
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Memory loss and mood swings
  • Paranoia, fear, psychosis and aggression

Social

  • Doctor shopping to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • Asking others for their scripts
  • Increase in risky behaviour
  • Financial problems
  • Sexual and romantic issues
  • Lack of interest in activities, work, and friends
  • Damaged relationships
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Complete ignorance of obligations

Spiritual

  • Damaged self-esteem and self-worth
  • Damaged relationship with self
  • Inability to function without prescription medication
  • Continued use despite negative consequences

Withdrawing from prescription medication

Withdrawals from prescription medication can vary from drug to drug. The body's reliance on prescription medication can be especially dangerous to withdraw from, and can often result in seizures, coma, and even death. Respiratory failure is also possible for opioids and benzodiazepine.

Other withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Confusion or delirium
  • Drowsiness or inability to stay awake
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Depressed, or slowed breathing
  • Nausea and constipation

Fortunately, these side effects can be managed and treated. The Hader Clinic employs a highly specialised, multidisciplinary team to help address the physical symptoms of withdrawal, and get started on tackling the psychological machinations of ongoing addiction.

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Frequently asked questions about prescription medication

What are the different types of prescription medication?

There are three main types of prescription medication that are highly addictive and easily access, leading to a high chance of abuse. These are opioids and opiates, benzodiazepine, and prescription stimulants.

Opioids and opiates

Opioids and opiates are derived from the sap of the opium poppy plant, and are in the same family as morphine and heroin. In medicine, they are typically used to treat severe or chronic pain. They can also make users feel very relaxed with a warm high, which is why they are abused outside of a medical setting.

Here are some of the most common types and brands of opioids:

  • Hydrocodone and oxycodone (Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, and Endone)
  • Oxymorphine (Opana)
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
Benzodiazepine

Benzodiazepine is prescribed to treat a variety of mental disorders and illnesses, including anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and even withdrawal from other depressants. Overconsumption and abuse of benzodiazepine can lead to an alcohol-like buzz.

Some common brands of benzodiazepine include:

  • Valium
  • Atvia
  • Klonopin
  • Halcion
Prescription stimulants

Prescription stimulants can be used to a range of illness, as well as attention disorders like ADD and ADHD. They can aid concentration when taken in the correct doses. When abused, they can lead to psychosis, anger, paranoia, and organ problems, even heart attacks and seizures.

  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta)
  • Amphetamines (Dexedrine and Adderall)

Can you take prescription medication with alcohol?

It is incredibly dangerous to combine alcohol and strong prescription medication. Alcohol can amplify the effects of prescription medication in unpredictable ways. Poly drug use of prescription medication and alcohol can lead to dangerous side effects like:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat and blood pressure
  • Respiratory arrest and cardiovascular instability
  • Disinhibition and abnormal behaviour
  • Loss of consciousness or coma

Even small amounts of alcohol mixed with prescription medication can result in a fatal outcome. Alcohol and prescription medications enhance the other by significant degrees. In this situation, dangerous intoxication is made much more likely, leading to overdose and death.

What's the safest way to take prescription medication without risking addiction?

The safest way to take any medication is precisely as the doctor ordered. Upping your dosage or decreasing the time between doses can be a slippery slope towards addiction. Like many other drugs, the more prescription medication you take, the more you need to feel its effects.

If you feel like you are becoming reliant on prescription medication, or you are no longer feeling its effects, talk to your GP. They'll be able to give you options to look at to ensure that you remain free from addiction to prescription medication.

How did my loved one get addicted? They are usually so smart.

Addiction has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. It has nothing to do with race, religion, gender, income, or upbringing. It does not discriminate, and at The Hader Clinic, we see people afflicted with prescription medication addiction who come from all walks of life.

It's important to remember that addiction is just that — an affliction. It is a disease that is diagnosable and treatable. The Hader Clinic is a fully accredited private treatment facility that addresses all stages of recovery, from the first stage of withdrawal and detox, to ongoing outpatient support.

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