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Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is getting more and more common in Australia. Prescription drug addiction is highly destructive to health, relationships, finances and many other areas of life. 

Are you asking yourself how to stop taking pain killers? Are you experiencing prescription medication withdrawal symptoms? Or are you concerned that a loved one may be suffering from prescription medication addiction? Most suffers cannot stop using medication without assistance.

About Prescription Drug Addiction

Most recently there has been a significant increase in the misuse of prescription medication in Australia.

Prescription drugs include:

  • Benzodiazepines (Benzos)
  • Dextroamphetamines (Dexies)
  • Opiates
  • Sedatives
  • Analgesics (pain killers)

The two most commonly abused prescription drugs are benzodiazepines and analgesics. Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to relieve stress, anxiety and to help people sleep, with analgesics medications used to relieve the symptoms of pain. These legal drugs can be taken orally by tablet, capsule or liquid, and can be injected intravenously, even if not prescribed in this manner.

Even though the drug may be prescribed by a doctor and is legal it does not mean there are no consequences and addiction will not occur. Someone is addicted to prescription medication when they lose the ability to control their prescription usage. They will feel an uncontrollable urge to use, and they have incredible difficulty stopping themselves from using the prescription medication. They will also be likely to be using much more than the prescribed dose as their body builds up a tolerance to the drug. Over time as the tolerance increases they must increase their dosage to feel the same effects

Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

There are certain signs you can look for that will help you identify a case of a prescription drug addict. We have divided them into two categories: those to look for in yourself and those to look for in a loved one.

Concerned about your own situation, consider the following symptoms of prescription drug addiction:

  • Thoughts of prescription medication consume a good portion of your day
  • You find yourself looking for new ways of procuring prescription pills (stealing, forging or selling prescriptions)
  • You frequently worry you won’t have access to prescription pills during your day
  • Prescription medication is affecting your job, finances or relationship
  • You get upset when others question you about your prescription medication use
  • You are willing to go to great lengths to get prescription medication
  • You must regularly increase your prescription pill intake to achieve the same feeling.
  • You find yourself concealing prescription medication or your use

If you are concerned about a loved one rather than yourself, signs to look for include:

  • Unreasonable sensitivity when the topic of prescription medication is discussed
  • Pills/tablets around the house
  • Unexplained withdrawal from family relationships
  • Increased isolation and episodes of social withdrawal
  • Lack of concern for employment
  • Unexplained financial problems
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • ‘Doctor Shopping’ behaviours

Any combination of signs or symptoms that suggest a potential prescription medication addiction should not be ignored. As already mentioned, even a minor prescription medication misuse problem can quickly become an addiction if left untreated. The good news is that proper treatment is very effective at helping prescription addicts completely recover. Success is achieved through a combination of physical, emotional, social and psychological treatments that address every aspect of addiction.

Withdrawl Symptoms

If you regularly use prescription drugs, your body needs to learn to work without the drug which causes withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are the various physical and psychological effects of detox and can occur after reducing or stopping prescription drug use.

Minor Withdrawl Symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Sweating and tremors
  • Cravings
  • Aches and pains
  • Restless sleep and nightmares
  • Mood swings
Severe Withdrawl Symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Life threatening seizures
  • Insomnia


  • Prescriptions for opioid painkillers have increased significantly.
  • Three Australians die each day from prescription medications
  • Oxycodone is now the seventh most prescribed medication in Australia

Source: www.ama.com.au


The first step toward recovering from prescription addiction may be a methadone/suboxone reduction which involves cleansing the body of the substance, whilst reducing the withdrawal effects. Detox without medical attention is not advisable. It’s considered very risky for people with moderate or severe conditions because withdrawal can have very mind altering effects. A medically reviewed detox/reduction regime is always recommended. Remember that prescription medication covers a wide range of medications so the detox/reduction regime will vary across the different drug spectrums.

At the Hader Clinic, we provide a safe and calm environment for people in need of prescription medication treatment and a holistic recovery program. As detox from prescription medication can be life threatening, on admission a detailed assessment and medical examination is undertaken to ensure that a safe and effective detox/reduction process is established immediately.

The Hader Clinic has a long and successful history treating prescription medicated addicts with proven prescription medication treatment programs. In Queensland, our rehab clinic and retreat is located just north of Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Remember it can be difficult to convince a loved one that they need treatment for their prescription medication addiction, if you’ve tried to talk to a friend or family member about their drug taking habits and they’ve been resistant, you should consider a family intervention. Contact us for advice on this process as we have useful resources and can support you through to conducting the intervention.

Does a loved one need help? Call 1300 856 847 for a free, confidential consultation.

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