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Addiction Info

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

For those struggling with prescription drug abuse, and the endless cycle of using and abusing prescription drugs, GateHouse treatment centers offers a way out. Prescription drug abuse can bring even the strongest person to their knees; and, being stuck in active addiction can seem like a nightmare with no end. Find a new way of life. Recovery from prescription drug abuse is possible, and GateHouse is ready to stand by your side.

For adults who are ready to overcome their prescription drug addiction, we offer a personal approach to prescription drug addiction treatment that is based on proved addiction treatment methodologies and your unique experiences. We offer participate in recovery by promoting personal responsibility, accountability, and giving you the tools needed to build a strong recovery.

We are personally invested in each and every one of our clients’ recovery processes, and putting people first has always been the bedrock of our treatment philosophy. End the insanity of doing the same thing over and over, reach out today, and find out how GateHouse can help you live a life worth living.

What Is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Many of us have prescription drugs in our homes, for a variety of medical reasons. Prescription drug abuse is a problem that is steadily worsening. It’s leading many users who are struggling with prescription drug addiction to turn to illicit street drugs. If you think you or a loved one may be struggling with a prescription addiction, there are many avenues of help available to you.
Prescription drugs are prescribed for many different ailments and issues and are abused for the same reasons; there is a medicine cabinet full of different drugs to get high off if they are abused or taken when not prescribed. Even those taking medications prescribed to them can still develop a prescription drug addiction leading them down a dark road. There is help available to those suffering from prescription drug addiction and feel they’re stuck in an endless cycle.

Quick Facts About Prescription Drug Addiction

  • Approximately 16 million people in the U.S abuse prescription medications.
  • Generally, men abuse prescription drugs more than women – besides people ages 12 – 17. In that demographic females abuse prescription drugs more than males.
  • The four most common types of prescription drugs abused are painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives.
  • Annually, more people die from prescription opioid painkillers than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Between 1999 and 2014 prescription drug overdoses quadrupled.
  • The highest percentage of those abusing prescription drugs is individuals aged 18-25
  • 9 million Americans ages 12 and older abused a tranquilizer drug such as Xanax at some point in their lifetime.
  • 54 million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons at some point in their life.
  • There are 3.3 million who abuse prescription painkillers.
  • Around 90% of prescription drug addiction starts in the teenage years.

History of Prescription Drug Addiction

Most of the prescription drug abuse and addiction starts back in the Neolithic Age with opium since it was a strong naturally occurring plant. Since then science, synthesizing natural compounds and entirely synthetic medications have taken over. While opiate and opioid drugs are still the most commonly abused prescription drugs, many drugs have come into the pharmaceutical field that is just as addicting. Many begin abusing prescription drugs due to the misconception of the safety of prescription drugs. Many people don’t see the dangers of having these medications just throughout their house or in the family medicine cabinet. The availability of prescription drugs in the home often leads to experimentation in teenagers through peer pressure, general curiosity, or being given something by a parent or family member. The prescription drug addiction epidemic has continued to grow in the U.S but as far back as 2006, the NSDUH  collected that 55.7% of those 12 and older who misused pain relievers said they received their medication from a friend or family member. The majority of whom had gotten the drugs from just one doctor. Meaning that many people are unknowingly starting a prescription drug addiction, just because the drugs come from a doctor doesn’t mean they are always a safe drug. Prescription drugs should never be shared with someone they were not prescribed to.

Prescription Drugs Most Commonly Abused

The four types of most commonly abused prescription drugs are painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives.


Oxycodone – Oxycontin, Percocet

Oxymorphone – Dilaudid


Benzodiazepines – Xanax, Valium, Klonopin


Amphetamines – Adderall, Dexedrine


Sleeping medications – Ambien, Lunesta

Physiology and Side Effects of Prescription Drug Addiction

The way prescription drugs react in the brain depend on which drug is being abused, many of the prescription drugs abused have similar side effects. The way painkillers, tranquilizers/benzodiazepines, stimulants, and sedatives/sleeping medication work in the brain is that they alter the number of chemicals released or reabsorbed in the brain. When the drugs are abused it causes the brain to become dependent on the pills to control the reuptake and release of these vital chemicals in the brain, this causes prescription drug addiction. Although prescription drug abuse is a widespread and vastly different addiction depending on what drugs are being abused, prescription drug rehab is available for all prescription drug addictions.

The chemicals that each drug effect differ, but the primary compounds and chemicals effected are opioid receptors, GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) and dopamine. These are all naturally occurring in the brain, but the repeated introduction of the prescription drugs interrupts the natural cycle that occurs.

Side Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

The different types of most commonly abused prescription drugs all have very different uses and side effects when misused. Some of the most common side effects of each type of commonly abused prescription drug by type are:

Painkiller Opioid and Opiate Prescription Drug Side Effects

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Drowsiness/ Sedation

Tranquilizer/Benzodiazepine Prescription Drug Abuse Side Effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech

Stimulant Prescription Drug Abuse Side Effects

  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased Concentration

Sedative/Sleep Medication Abuse Side Effects

  • Inattention
  • Memory Difficulties
  • Extreme drowsiness

Understanding Prescription Drug Addiction

So many people struggle with prescription drug addiction because they see the use as necessary or acceptable because it is a doctor prescribed medication. Just because it is coming from a doctor does not mean that it’s not addictive and cannot be abused. Prescription drug abuse is becoming most prevalent in young adults, abuse can, and in many cases leads to prescription drug addiction even at younger ages.

Many of those faced with prescription drug addiction don’t know how to cope with the issues the drugs were initially prescribed for or fear that they can’t deal with them. There are prescription drug rehab programs, and prescription drug detox since some of the medications that are commonly abused do have an uncomfortable withdrawal or potentially fatal withdrawal process. If you believe you or a loved one is suffering from a prescription drug addiction there will be many signs.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction:

Due to the many different prescription drugs abused the specific signs and symptoms of addiction can vary. Here are some general signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction that will display to some degree no matter prescription drug is being abused.


Noticeable mood swings

Change in patterns

Increased irritability


Increased sleeping


Extreme confusion





Drug-seeking behaviors at doctors’ offices.

Unknown pills without bottles.

Prescription bottles with other names on them.

Missing prescription drugs from your home or family member homes.

Frequent refills or running out of prescription early.

Visiting multiple doctors for the similar conditions.

Crushing or breaking pills

Pills hidden around the house

Unexplained weight gain

Unexplained weight loss


Lack of coordination

Risky behaviors



Lack of sleep


Respiratory depression

Tolerance to normal dosage

Increased heartrate

Worsening physical wellbeing