prescription drug addiction

What is Prescription Drug Addiction?

In 2017, the National Survey of Drug Use and Health found that six million Americans over the age of 12 had misused psychotherapeutic drugs such as pain relievers, stimulants, tranquilizers, and sedatives in the last month alone. The survey revealed prescription pain relievers, such as opioids, to be the most commonly misused with 3.2 million people abusing them and 53.1 percent getting the pills from a friend or family member.
Prescription drug abuse is using a prescription drug in any way other than how it was prescribed. This includes taking more than prescribed, taking more often than prescribed, taking for longer than prescribed, taking a prescription written for someone else and more. However, prescription drug abuse and addiction are not the same. The National Institute on Drug Abuse characterizes addiction as a disorder that causes people to continue to seek out and use drugs even in spite of negative consequences. When addicted, a person feels like he or she must have the drug. If you feel that the abuse of prescription drugs is out of your control or if your loved one seems unable to stop abusing prescription drugs, our experienced staff is available to answer your questions and help you understand your available options. Call 1-660-334-0507 today to receive 100% confidential, professional guidance from the compassionate team at Inner Peace Reserve Recovery Center.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Mayo Clinic outlines three categories of the most commonly abused prescription drugs: Opioids used to treat pain: Fentanyl, morphine, medications containing oxycodone, such as Oxycontin and Percocet, and meds containing hydrocodone, such as Norco Medications used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders: alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium), as well as hypnotics like zolpidem (Ambien) Stimulants used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain sleep disorders: methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, others), dextroamphetamine and amphetamine (Adderall XR, Mydayis), and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)

The recreational use and abuse of these drugs depends on the sensation a person wants to feel. Misuse of any of these drugs is cause for concern, and when abused, each drug is linked to a potential for addiction.

What causes prescription pill addiction?

For some, prescription pill addiction begins with taking pills their doctor actually prescribed. For others, their use of prescription pills began recreationally, and spiraled out of control as they became dependent on and then addicted to the pills. Either way, there are many reasons people choose to abuse prescription pain pills, including to get high, to relax, to prevent withdrawal, to reduce appetite, to increase alertness, or to try to improve concentration to improve performance at school or work. Not all people who are prescribed the drugs mentioned above will become addicted. All prescribed medications serve a purpose when used according to the prescribing instructions. Even long-term use of prescription drugs is not the same as dependence or addiction. However, drug abuse or using drugs for non-prescribed reasons or in non-prescribed ways does increase the risk of addiction.

If you feel you may be abusing or addicted to pills, please contact our informed staff to get some professional guidance. The Inner Peace Reserve team has years of experience helping people determine the level of their problem and helping them understand all their options for treatment and support. Call 1-660-334-0507 today.

Am I addicted?

It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease, and prolonged use of drugs or alcohol can change the chemistry of the brain. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has a blanket term for all addiction called substance use disorder (SUD) and classifies the severity of SUD with 11 criteria below. If two or three symptoms are present, a person may have mild substance use disorder. Four or five symptoms indicate moderate SUD, and six or more symptoms indicates severe SUD.


The signs of prescription drug abuse vary based on the drug type, though the following symptoms may apply to people abusing any prescription drug:

Mayo Clinic outlines more symptoms that relate specifically to each category of drug. Many of these would be difficult for others to observe, however they can serve as an outline if you are worried about your own prescription pill use or abuse.