Treatment Options for Prescription Drug Addiction

Explore the causes, withdrawal symptoms, and treatment options for prescription drug addiction.

What Causes Prescription Drug Addiction?

Prescription drug addiction is often caused by the misuse or abuse of prescription medications resulting in physical and psychological dependence. Opioids and benzodiazepines are the most common prescription drugs to be abused.

Treatment Options for Prescription Drug Addiction


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Oxycodone is a commonly prescribed opioid that can easily lead to addiction if not taken as prescribed. The relaxing and pain-relieving effects of this drug make it habit-forming and highly addictive.


Hydrocodone is a frequently prescribed pain reliever that can cause pleasant sensations when consumed. Misuse or abuse of this drug can lead to substance abuse and addiction.1


Codeine is an opioid medication that is used as a cough suppressant. Although it is not as potent as other prescription drugs, abuse of codeine can lead to addiction.2


Morphine is an opioid medication that can boost feelings of pleasure and induce pain relief. These effects may lead to habit-forming behaviors when taking this drug.3


Xanax is an anxiety relief benzodiazepine medication and can lead to addiction and abuse if not taken as prescribed. Mixing Xanax with other drugs or alcohol can be very dangerous, but this combination is common amongst those who abuse drugs.


Klonopin is an addictive benzodiazepine drug used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Its sedating properties make it susceptible to abuse, and those who abuse this drug are at high risk of addiction.

Prescription Drug Abuse

The abuse of prescription drugs can lead to several adverse side effects. If these effects and symptoms are not treated by a doctor, it can lead to permanent damage and, in some cases, fatality.

GI Distress

Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) distress and discomfort are common when someone abuses prescription medication.

Severe Constipation

People may experience severe constipation and irregular bowel movements when abusing prescription drugs. These symptoms can last from one to two weeks after detox is complete.

Difficulty Breathing

If a person has difficulty breathing, this could be a symptom of prescription drug abuse or withdrawal. Seek medical attention immediately if this symptom arises in someone abusing prescription drugs.


Becoming paranoid or overly anxious is a symptom of severe prescription drug abuse. This can sometimes lead to delusional thinking in severe cases.

Dangerously High Body Temperature

Running a fever or experiencing a dangerously high body temperature could be a result of prescription medication addiction. Seek medical attention immediately if this symptom arises.


In severe cases of prescription drug addiction, a person could fall into a coma. If this occurs, this person should be hospitalized as soon as possible.


In the most severe cases of prescription drug abuse, the results can be fatal if medical attention is not sought out in time.

Drug Withdrawal and Detox

What Is Detox?

Detox is the process of eliminating harmful and addictive substances from a person’s body. A person will experience withdrawal symptoms that make the detox process unpleasant, increasing the risk of relapse. Because detox can sometimes cause dangerous and severe withdrawal symptoms, this process should always take place in a safe environment with medical professionals nearby.

Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Here are some of the common detox withdrawal symptoms that may arise when recovering from drug addiction:


Experiencing anxiety and nervousness during the withdrawal process is a prevalent side effect of drug withdrawal and detox.


A person may experience depression and negative thought patterns when going through the withdrawal process after stopping drug intake.


Nausea and vomiting are common physical symptoms of drug withdrawal during detox. These symptoms can last for several days.


Some people experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms may suffer from seizures. In this scenario, the person should seek medical care immediately.

Muscle Aches

Muscle aches and fever symptoms may occur for several days during detox from prescription medications.


Excessive sweating is a common side effect of withdrawal during the detoxification process. The body may also struggle to regulate temperature, leading to cold sweats.

Drugs That Physicians Prescribe in Detox

In a prescription drug detox center, physicians may prescribe certain medications to alleviate adverse withdrawal symptoms.
  • Benzodiazepines: A physician may prescribe benzodiazepines to a person experiencing withdrawal symptoms from opioid medications to alleviate symptoms such as anxiety, shakiness, and restlessness.
  • Antidepressants: Antidepressants effectively treat depression that arises as a symptom of detox from prescription medication addictions.
  • Clonidine: Clonidine can be used to minimize negative symptoms and discomfort that can arise during detox from drug or alcohol addiction.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

Recovery is possible for people suffering from drug addiction if they take the right approach. There are several actions that can be taken to help effectively treat drug addiction.4
Help for Prescription Drug Addiction

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder

A physician can prescribe medications for opioid use disorder that can help facilitate the detox process by alleviating uncomfortable symptoms that may take place.

Reversing an Opioid Overdose with Naloxone

Naloxone is a drug that can be used to reverse an opioid overdose as it is happening. Using Naloxone properly and as soon as possible can help save lives.

Treating Addiction to CNS Depressants

Prescription drug detox centers can help treat addiction to CNS depressants with therapy, medically assisted detox, group meetings, and a recovery plan.

Treating Addiction to Prescription Stimulants

Prescription drug detox centers can help treat addiction to prescription stimulants by providing therapy, medically assisted detox, group meetings, and a recovery plan.

How Can Prescription Drug Rehab Help?

Prescription drug rehab can provide the support and structure a person needs to recover from addiction to prescription medications. A rehabilitation facility knows what to provide to help a person find a path to healing and living a healthy life.


Upon arrival at a rehab facility, a person will undergo an assessment of their addiction to determine what type of treatment they will require. An assessment is critical to the recovery process to ensure the person can form a plan of action to help them heal in a way that is effective and long-lasting.


Counseling will be provided to help the person understand what triggers their addiction and how to cope with these triggers. By attending counseling, a person can gain the tools they need to recover from addiction.


In some cases, medication will be prescribed to help the person manage their discomfort during the withdrawal and detoxification process of recovery.