06 Jun

Prescription Medication Addiction: What You Need To Know


Insight into medicine addiction

One of the most dismissed chemical dependencies is prescription medication addiction. As implied by the name, prescription medication is a drug that is regulated by law and requires a doctor’s instruction. Prescribed drugs work by either promoting or suppressing chemical reactions in the brain.

The primary behavioural warning signs of prescription medication addiction:

  • Requesting replacement prescriptions regularly
  • ‘Losing’ prescriptions
  • Requesting refills frequently from a physician
  • Breaking or crushing medication
  • Stealing prescriptions
  • Talking medication from family members and friends
  • Visiting multiple doctors for the same or similar medical conditions
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Ordering medication over the internet
  • Mood swings
  • Change in sleep patterns

The three most addictive types of prescription medication:

  1. Stimulants: These are ‘ uppers’ usually prescribed for ADD or other hyperactivity disorders.

Stimulants are prescribed to assist people who suffer from hyperactivity disorders.

Popular amongst students, these drugs keep the user up for days at a time.

Symptoms of stimulant abuse:

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Heartbeat irregularities
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Rising hostility
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Weightloss
  1. Sedatives/ tranquillizers: Prescribed to treat sleep or anxiety disorders.

Sedatives are used to treat anxiety. This is something that is easily diagnosed, thus many believe sedatives to be the ‘norm’.

Symptoms of sedative/ tranquillizer abuse:

  • Woozy and drowsy appearance and physicality
  • Confusion
  • Unsteady movements
  • Involuntary eye movement
  • Poor decision making
  • Memory loss
  1. Opiates: These are ‘downers’, usually used to treat chronic pain.

Opiates are prescribed to patients seeking treatment for chronic pain or psychiatric relief. Opiates are highly addictive and once abused, withdrawal symptoms occur when the user tries to stop taking the drug.

Symptoms of opiate abuse include:

ConfusionDisorientationConstipationDepressionDecrease in blood pressure
Shortness of breath

Withdrawal symptoms from opiates include:

  • Involuntary leg movements
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes
  • Bone and muscle pains
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Seizures

To receive more information on treatment for prescription medication abuse call 079 770 7532.

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