Drug Addiction: Commonly Abused Prescription Medication

Posted on 09/18/2020

Drug addiction need not manifest in the abuse of substances such as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. Instead, others turn to prescription medication with addiction-forming characteristics. These typically include painkillers, prescribed only for a set period. If you’re suffering from an injury and authorized to purchase a particular amount of medication, always abide by your doctor’s orders. 


What are the Most Typically Abused Prescription Drugs?


You should never take more medication than prescribed by your healthcare provider, nor should you stop taking them before you have to. As some drugs are habit-forming, developing dependency is all too easy. 


The process typically begins when a patient seeks more of the medication to receive the same level of treatment. The more you consume a prescription drug, the less effectively it performs. As a result, patients exploit high dosages to mimic the initial dulling or enhancing sensation. 


Below are the most ordinarily abused types of prescription drugs: 



  • Depressant Drugs


Psychiatrists will prescribe depressant drugs to allow patients to blunt instances of anxiety and improve sleep quality. Some act as sedatives when patients become uncontrollable or manic. Generic depressants include: 


  • Barbiturates (Amytal, Seconal, Phenobarbital)
  • Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin)
  • Sleep medications (Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata)
  • Opioids and morphine derivatives



  • Opioids


Opioids are a pain-relieving substance made from poppy plants. When the medication travels through your bloodstream and attaches to receptors in the brain cells, they release signals that hinder your perception of pain. In low doses, opioids tend to make patients sleepy or calm. In higher doses, they can affect breathing and heart rate, eventually leading to death. Common types include: 


  • Codeine (Tylenol, Empirin)
  • Morphine (Duramorph)
  • Methadone (Methadose, Dolophine)
  • Fentanyl (Sublimaze, Actiq)
  • Other stimulants



  • Stimulants


Often referred to as “uppers,” stimulants temporarily work to improve awareness and boost energy. Following the initial “up,” stimulants can leave patients feeling exhausted, apathetic, and depressive. If abused over time, stimulants can create feelings of hostility or paranoia, leaving patients to become a danger to themselves and others. Usually-prescribed types are: 


  • Amphetamines (Dexedrine, Adderall, Biphetamine)
  • Methylphenidates (Concerta, Ritalin)


How to Discern Whether You’re Experiencing Drug Addiction


When prescribed a foreign substance by your doctor, always adhere to the given instructions. Pay close attention to how the medication makes you feel—do you get drowsy or irritable? Do you feel the need to take more than the prescribed dose? If so, give your doctor a call. 


Depending on the severity of your forming addiction, they might recommend an intensive outpatient program or more straightforward at-home medical detox. 


Mental Illness and Drug Addiction


For thousands of individuals, mental conditions can exacerbate dependency on particular medications. In this case, it’s best to seek out the appropriate treatment program from your healthcare provider. Should they need to, they can recommend a dual diagnosis treatment for mental illness and substance abuse. 




If you’re experiencing drug addiction or witnessing a loved one struggling with it, never delay reaching out to a professional for help. Your healthcare provider can set you up with a suitable program and get you on the path to recovery. 


At Aspire Treatments, we approach drug addiction with empathy, expertise, and experience. We prioritize building trust and fostering a productive relationship with patients. If you’re ready to work towards a life of sobriety, give us a call today.