Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Prescription Drug Tolerance and Dependence

Prescription drug tolerance and dependenceMany prescription drug users are not aware of the abuse and addiction potential of the medications they take on a daily basis. These drugs are often prescribed by doctors, and patients take them without asking for details about use and side effects. Most addictions to a prescription drug are accidental. The most common prescription drug addictions are those to opiate pain medications. Other drugs with a high addiction potential include central nervous system depressants, hallucinogens, steroids and amphetamines.

Tolerance to Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug addiction begins with tolerance. Tolerance is when an individual’s body begins to counteract the effects of a drug in an effort of self-preservation. This means that the longer a person uses a prescription drug, the less effective it will become. Patients may realize that their normal prescription dose has a diminished effect or cannot be felt at all. Many respond to this scenario by increasing the amount or frequency of their dose to produce the desired effect or level of symptom management. Tolerance continues to increase, as dosage increases. Taking greater amounts of any prescription medication can lead to dependency.

Dependence on Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug dependence is when an individual begins to feel as if he or she cannot function or feel normal without consistent doses of the drug. Dependence is closely related to addiction, as tolerance and dependence can ultimately lead to an addiction that robs an individual of his or her ability to participate in daily life or maintain important relationships. Additionally, many prescription drugs can cause permanent unwanted physical and psychological side effects.

Additional Resources for Prescription Drug Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling under the weight of an addiction to a prescription drug, we can help. We are available 24 hours a day to take your calls, answer your questions and point you toward the quality options for rehab that you seek. All calls are toll free and confidential. Call today, and end prescription drug tolerance and dependence.

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