Understanding prescription medication Addiction
It can be difficult to admit that a medically prescribed medication which may have assisted your quality of life or helped you cope has now become a problem. Usage of prescription medicine often starts out as justifiable, necessary and important to improving quality of life, making it all too easy to excuse ongoing use.
Addiction can come in the form of either regular, consistent use, or in binge drug use behaviour with periods of non-use in between. Both situations are problematic and can create cycles of dependence, tolerance and compulsivity accompanied by negative health impacts and feelings of shame and guilt.
There are three primary groups of medication individuals often find themselves dependent on:
- Opioids used to manage pain, including oxycodone (Endone etc.), morphine (Kapanol, MS Contin, Ordine etc.) and codeine.
- Sedatives, depressants and anti-anxiety medications, including benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax, Ralozam, Kalma, Alprax etc.) and diazepam (Valium, Antenex, Valpam etc.) or hypnotics, such as zolpidem (Stilnox, Ambien, Dormizol, Zolpibell etc.), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
- Stimulants, including methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta etc.), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall etc.), and other medications used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and sleep disorders.
Indicators of prescription medication abuse
There are a number of behaviours which indicate obsessive, compulsive behaviour related to medication use, any combination of which signal the need to reach out for professional advice and support.
- Experiencing cravings for medication
- Lying or exaggerating to a healthcare provider
- Wanting to cut down, or planning to cut down, but failing to do so
- Increasing the dosage to achieve previous levels of effect
- Neglecting other areas of your life in favour of taking medication
- Continuing to use medication despite problems it may cause for work or your relationships
- Continuing to use medication against medical advice, or if it may put you in danger
As addiction progresses, negative consequences, which will vary depending on the medication, may begin to mount. These may include paranoia, aggressiveness, impaired judgement, impulsiveness, loss of self-control, financial losses and growing impacts on your social relationships and work life.
If you’re concerned you may have a problem with prescription medication use, you can use our self-assessment tool here to gain a better understanding of whether key indicators of addiction apply to your situation. To schedule a free, confidential, professional phone assessment, call our team seven days a week on 1800 063 332.
Your journey to recovery
South Pacific Private is an accredited private hospital, and we understand the serious nature of prescription medication addiction. We provide onsite supervised medical detoxification as well as an intensive therapeutic program geared toward treating the prescription medication addiction itself as well as the underlying drivers of addiction.
Admitting you have a problem with prescription medication can be a painful and frightening first step, but at South Pacific Private, we want you to know we’ll be by your side every step of the way.