Are you worried that you or someone close to you is suffering with prescripion drug addiction?  Help is at hand. Here we tell you a little about codeine, what to look out for and how we can get you or a loved one the best possible treatment for prescription drug addiction such as codeine addiction.

What is prescription drug addiction?

Prescription drugs are legal drugs that people are prescribed by their GP or physicians. Just because they are prescribed legitimately, this does not mean that they are not addictive. It’s all too easy for individuals to develop a physical and psychological dependency on prescription drugs. People can become addicted to the effect produced by prescription drugs, particularly those that produce a feeling of sedation or a “high”. Others become tolerant to the effect of the drug and need an increasingly high dose to obtain the same feeling. The initial condition can also worsen as a result of prescription drug abuse and individuals may take larger doses to counteract this.

Addiction to prescription drugs is on the increase due to easy access to legal drugs via the Internet. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are painkillers, sleeping tablets, anti-anxiety pills, anti-depressants and medication for ADHD. These include analgesics with codeine, benzodiazepine such as valium and temazepam, and stimulants such as Ritalin.

Signs, symptoms and risk of prescription drug addiction

Abusers of prescription drugs can become as devious as those who use illegal drugs. It’s not unheard of for prescription drug users to register with more than one GP and to visit a number of pharmacists to cash in their prescription. The effects and risks of prescription drug addiction vary depending on the particular drug. For example, abuse of codeine can result in constipation, nausea, breathing problems and even seizures. Benzodiazepine addiction can lead to amnesia, irritability, confusion and aggression. Stimulant abuse can result in feelings of paranoia and hostility, convulsions and cardiovascular problems. In addition, mixing prescription medication with illegal drugs or alcohol can be lead to an overdose and, ultimately, death.  Many people use prescriptions drugs to counteract the effect of illegal uppers such as cocaine and ecstasy and downers such as heroin and alcohol. This combination can be lethal.

Treatment for prescription drug addiction

Getting someone who’s addicted to prescription drugs to admit that they need help can be difficult. The image of a “drug addict” conjures up someone who is “shooting up” in a seedy environment, not someone who is simply “popping” a couple of legal pills a day. But addiction to prescription drugs is very real, and needs medical and psychological treatment. Withdrawing from prescription drugs can be just as traumatic and uncomfortable as withdrawing from illegal street drugs, with symptoms ranging from headaches to seizures. Withdrawing from benzodiazepine is particularly difficult. Detox from prescription drugs must be medically managed by a GP, in a residential detox centre or in a carefully supervised home detox programme.  Many users require help beyond management of withdrawal symptoms and are treated with a range of therapies and counselling in a residential rehab centre or as an outpatient. At Addiction Helper, we’ll guide you through the treatments available for your circumstances, and provide you and your family with ongoing support and advice.