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Prescription Drug abuse

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It is not just alcohol and illegal drugs that can lead to complex addiction issues. Some prescription drugs can also be highly addictive and a dependence on these types of substances presents its own unique set of challenges. As ever, this can be a particularly difficult and upsetting experience for you or a loved one to manage. One way to manage this sort of addiction, would be to find rehab close to you, or further afield if you would prefer some time away to focus on your recovery.

What are the most commonly abused prescription drugs?

  • Opiates: like codeine, which are prescribed to treat pain.
  • Antidepressants: including citalopram and mirtazapine.
  • Central nervous system depressants: including barbiturates and benzodiazepines like diazepam and temazepam, which are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
  • Stimulants: used to treat ADHD, such as dexamphetamine.
  • Antihistamines: such as chlorphenamine.

If you, or someone you know, is abusing any of the above medications, or are concerned about dependency, you may identify with some of the following signs and symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse

Essentially, if you feel like you cannot cope without a drug, and have a desperate need to obtain and consume that drug to soothe uncomfortable feelings, then you may have a problem. Equally, you may be suffering from an alcohol problem, in which case you may need help finding an alcohol rehab facility.

You may also observe one or more of the following:

  • You need to take more of the drug to achieve the desired effect.
  • You ask for repeat prescriptions before they are due.
  • You have difficulty moderating or stopping.
  • You feel guilty about your drug use.
  • You have experienced problems with work, money or legal issues due to your drug use.
  • Your are secretive about your drug use.
  • You have arguments or disagreements with your family about your drug use.
  • You use other medications to alleviate the side effects of prescription drugs.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping/reducing the drug.
  • You continue to take the drug despite actual or likely negative consequences.

Over the counter drugs

What over the counter drugs can people become addicted to?
These are mainly codeine based analgesics such as:

  • Ibruprofen and codeine (Nurofen Plus for example) and paracetemol and codeine (Solpadeine for example).
  • Some cough medicines (for example some types of Benylin) also contain codeine.
When do you classify usage as addiction?
A physical dependence on codeine, resulting in withdrawal symptoms if ceased, can arise from regular and prolonged use of codeine. Unfortunately it is also possible for a psychological dependence to form, particularly when the drug is used as a coping strategy to combat anxiety. An awareness that excessive and continued use of a drug can in some cases increase anxiety, causing a vicious cycle of addiction.
What are the signs to look out for in yourself/ others?

Some common indicators to look out for are:

  • You deviate from the recommended dose and use the drug to change the way you feel or get high (rather than treat a genuine symptom).
  • You continue to increase the dose.
  • You keep the use of the tablets a secret from others.
  • You visit several different pharmacies to buy the drug.
Do you have any questions?
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  • All our call handlers are themselves in recovery
  • We visit all clinics in our network to understand what’s most suitable for you
  • We can organise same day admission
  • Let us help you and your family find freedom from addiction today

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We’re specialists in UK rehab options and can advise you on alcohol rehab in the North West, drug rehab in the North West and other addiction support services in the area.