Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

How to Reduce Your Prescription Drug Addiction Risk

How to Reduce Your Prescription Drug Addiction RiskMany people become addicted to prescription drugs each year, and may do so by following their doctor’s orders. Several medications can be habit forming, including the following substances:

  • Painkillers (opiates)
  • Antidepressants (benzodiazepines)
  • Sleep aids
  • Stimulants for attention deficit hyper activity disorder

Although it is possible, users are unlikely to develop an addiction to a prescription drug if they have no history of substance abuse, take their medications exactly as prescribed and discontinue use as early as possible. But, some individuals are born with a biological predisposition toward addiction, and any drug use can trigger addiction for these people.

How Does Prescription Drug Addiction Happen?

Prescription medications provide feelings of wellness or euphoria, but these effects fade as the body develops a tolerance to the drug. If a patient takes higher or more frequent doses to feel these original effects, she greatly increases her likelihood of becoming addicted. Individuals who struggle with co-occurring psychological disorders are also at much higher risk of becoming addicted. The following disorders can increase a patient’s risk of prescription drug addiction:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating, self-injury or other behavioral addictions
  • Depression
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder

Patients struggling with both addiction and a psychological disorder will need specialized care to recover.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

The following symptoms may indicate that a person has developed an addiction to prescription drugs:

  • Manipulating doctors or pharmacists to obtain additional drugs
  • Defensiveness when approached by friends, loved ones or medical professionals about medication use
  • Constant concern about having a supply of medication
  • Taking more than prescribed or more frequently than instructed
  • Mixing prescription drugs with other drugs or alcohol to intensify the effects

If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, get help immediately.

How to Treat Prescription Drug Addiction

Once a prescription drug addiction is established, specialized help is needed. The programs with the highest recovery rates treat each patient based on his unique, individual needs. This usually involves any or all of the following therapeutic elements:

  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Support groups
  • Healthy activities
  • Emotional support
  • Identification and treatment of any co-occurring psychological disorders

Prescription drug addicts can get clean with the right help.

Tips for Reducing the Risk of Prescription Drug Addiction

The following tips will help you avoid falling into an addiction to prescription drugs:

  • Tell your doctor about any history you have with substance abuse or chemical dependency
  • Share any history of mental or emotional disorders with your doctor
  • If you feel tempted to take your pills early or to take more than you should, call for help
  • Do not mix prescription drugs with alcohol unless your doctor specifically authorizes it
  • If you feel tolerance building, share your concerns with your doctor

Prescription Drug Addiction Help

If you are concerned that you or someone you love has developed a prescription drug addiction, please call our toll-free helpline any time. Our addiction counselors are ready to answer your call 24 hours a day, and they can give help you get clean. Don’t be discouraged by previous failed attempts. With the right support you can get and stay clean for good.

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