Addiction to Prescription Medication

Addiction to prescription medication is a serious and rapidly growing problem in Australia and can lead to financial, relational and physical and emotional issues.

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:

      1. Opioids used to manage pain, including oxycodone (Endone etc.), morphine (Kapanol, MS Contin, Ordine etc.) and codeine.
      2. 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.
      3. Stimulants, including methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta etc.), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall etc.), and other medications used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and sleep disorders.

How To Tell If Use Has Slipped Into Addiction

Recognising when the use of medication has become problematic is important, and clinicians use two key indicators to identify prescription medication abuse.

The first is obsession, which refers to the way you think about the medication, the time you spend thinking about your next dose, and the effort you may go to in order to gain your next dose or prescription.

The second is compulsion, which refers to a reduced ability to control your impulses to take the medication, resulting in you continuing to take the medication when it’s no longer necessary, or when you have other good reasons for stopping.

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.

If you’re ready to start your journey out of addiction call us on 1800 063 332 or contact us here to see which of our programs are right for you.

Why Choose South Pacific Private?

Why Choose South Pacific Private?

We Heal Families

With decades of experience, South Pacific Private is Australia’s leading treatment centre for addiction, trauma, depression and anxiety. Our uniquely comprehensive programs change lives, repair relationships and heal families by identifying and addressing the underlying causes laying the groundwork for sustained, long-term recovery.

Would you like to learn more?

Take A Self-Assessment

The goal of our self-tests is not to provide you with a diagnosis for yourself or for someone you care about. Instead, they are an opportunity for you to better understand how a behaviour might be impacting upon your life or the life of your family. Use these tests to enhance your awareness of what the problem might be.

These tests should be answered honestly in order to provide accurate insight and are a chance for you to reflect upon the current situation.

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Contact Us

If you would like more information for yourself or for a loved one, our client care team is available to take your call 7 days a week.

Call 1800 063 332

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A. 24 Beach Street

Curl Curl NSW 2096

P. 1800 063 332

F. 02 9905 9696

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