Prescription drug addiction

In 2021 alone, more than one billion prescription items were handed out by the NHS in the United Kingdom. This huge number added to other addiction-causing factors has seen prescription drug addiction growing at an alarming rate in recent years. Prescription drug addiction can have a wide range of negative effects including health issues, financial instability, job loss, relationship difficulties and even premature death.

The good news is that recovery is possible for those who are willing to seek help, and at Liberty House, our prescription drug addiction treatment programmes have helped countless people overcome their condition and go on to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Prescription drug addiction tablets

What is prescription drug addiction?

Prescription drug addiction is defined as the compulsive use of prescription medication when there is no medical need for it or when it is causing harm to your health, life or well-being. Prescription drug addiction can develop from taking medication that has been prescribed by a doctor or through prescription drug abuse where you take the drug for recreational use.

Either way, as with all drug addiction, through frequent, excessive consumption of prescription medication, a tolerance will eventually develop whereby you need to take higher doses of the drug to achieve the same desired effect. This can quickly lead to dependence which is when you feel like you need the drug just to function normally. In combination with underlying mental, emotional or psychological causes, addiction will then develop.

What are the most common types of prescription drug addiction?

There are many different types of prescription drugs that people can become addicted to but some of the most common prescription drug addictions are:

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Opioid addiction

This may come as the result of recreational use or becoming addicted after a genuine opioid prescription is given.


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Amphetamine addiction

Amphetamines are drugs which are prescribed to treat various conditions but can also be abused for their stimulant effects leading to addiction.


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Benzodiazepine addiction

Benzos are another type of drug that are commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, panic disorders and insomnia but their abuse and addiction can cause a range of health problems.


What are the dangers of prescription drug addiction?

Prescription drug addiction can have serious, negative consequences. If you are taking drugs that were not prescribed for you, you could be causing serious damage to your health. When you begin to rely on medication to the point where it consumes your thoughts and actions, you may also find that other areas of your life suffer greatly.

For example, if you have a prescription medication addiction, you may be unable to go to work due to the effects of the drug and it can also affect your ability to take care of responsibilities at home. Prescription drug addiction may also affect relationships with friends and family members. If you are buying prescription medication online or have turned to illegal drugs as an alternative, it could have a negative impact on your financial situation and put you in legal trouble.

Do I have a prescription drug addiction?

Prescription drug addiction is often left untreated because people may not realise they have a serious problem that requires treatment. With so many people assuming that prescription medication is automatically safe, many misuse the drugs without understanding the dangers.

It is essential, therefore, that prescription medication is only ever used as prescribed by a doctor, and taken for a limited amount of time (sometimes people order a repeat prescription without realising they no longer need the medication) and never given to someone for whom it was not prescribed.

Symptoms of prescription drug addiction depend on the actual drug being abused, but here are some questions to ask yourself which may point to you being addicted:

  • Do I need more of the drug to experience the same effects?
  • Have I finished my prescription earlier than expected?
  • Do I source prescription medication online?
  • Have I made appointments with more than one doctor to get more prescription drugs?
  • Have I unsuccessfully tried to reduce the amount I am taking?
  • Do I lie to family members and friends regarding my prescription drug abuse?
  • Do I continue taking prescription medication despite knowing the negative consequences it is causing?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may need prescription drug addiction treatment. At Liberty House, we have years of experience in helping people overcome prescription drug addictions and gain a fresh start. Get in touch with us today and we will help you on your road to recovery.

How to spot prescription drug addiction in loved ones?

There are various signs of prescription drug abuse and addiction which may indicate your loved one has an issue. One of the tell-tale signs is finding medication packets or noticing that your loved one has more medication than they should. You may also notice changes in their behaviour, such as them becoming more withdrawn or agitated.

There are also a number of physical signs that will depend on the drug being abused but may include:

  • Constipation
  • Euphoria
  • Slow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration
  • High temperature
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

Prescription drug addiction paranoid man

What does prescription drug addiction treatment involve?

Prescription drug addiction requires a comprehensive treatment programme made up of three stages: detox, rehabilitation and aftercare.

Prescription drug detox

The first step of treatment is detox, during which your body will rid itself of the drug. Detox can be a difficult process, and prescription drug withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the type of drug you have been taking. However, common prescription drug withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sweating and shaking. It is important to detox under medical supervision, as there is a risk of serious complications if you attempt to detox at home, including potential overdose.

The amount of time to detox for prescription drugs will depend on a number of factors including the substance you are addicted to, the severity of your addiction and your general health. However, at Liberty House, we have three on-site doctors and a number of other experienced medical staff who will ensure that you are kept safe and comfortable during your prescription drug detox.

Prescription drug rehab

Alongside detox, you will also need to undergo prescription drug rehab treatment which will involve a number of different therapies and treatment approaches designed to help you overcome your addiction and develop the skills you need to live a drug-free life. You will learn to recognise the underlying causes of your prescription drug addiction and learn new coping mechanisms to deal with stress and difficult situations.

At Liberty House, we provide all our clients with inpatient prescription drug rehab. Inpatient rehab is where you stay at the treatment centre for the duration of your treatment whereas outpatient prescription drug rehab is where you live at home and attend regular therapy sessions.

We believe that inpatient rehab is the most effective form of treatment as it allows you to focus solely on your recovery without any distractions and to undergo a totally holistic prescription drug treatment programme. Inpatient rehab also tends to include a wider range of therapies and treatment approaches in order to provide the most holistic prescription medication addiction treatment possible.

Some of the different therapies in our prescription drug addiction treatment programmes include:

Prescription drug addiction group therapy

Get in touch with Liberty House today to find out more about our prescription drug rehab and how it can help you.


Aftercare is an incredibly important process to prevent you from relapsing and falling back into prescription medication addiction after you leave our centre. Liberty House offers twelve months of free weekly group therapy sessions during aftercare, which will provide you with ongoing support and help to prevent relapse.

What to do next

For more information about prescription drug addiction treatment at Liberty House, get in touch with us today. Our expert admissions team will be able to explain everything you need to know to get started on your road to prescription drug recovery.

Frequently asked questions

Is prescription drug addiction as serious as an addiction to illegal drugs?
Absolutely. Prescription drugs are powerful substances that can be just as addictive as illegal drugs. In fact, many people who abuse illegal drugs started out abusing prescription drugs but moved on to illegal ones because they were cheaper, more potent or easier to obtain.
How can I prevent prescription drug relapse?
It is important to understand that relapse is a very common step in prescription drug addiction recovery and that between 40-60% of people relapse after leaving rehab. In addition to participating in aftercare, here are some other effective tips for prescription drug relapse prevention:

  • Identify your triggers– Be aware of the people, places and situations that trigger your urge to use drugs and do your best to avoid them.
  • Develop a support network– Spend time with supportive friends and family members who will help you stay on track in your recovery journey.
  • Keep busy– It is important to find healthy activities to occupy your time and keep your mind off drugs.
  • Manage stress– Use the methods you have learned in prescription drug rehab to effectively manage stress as this can be a major trigger for relapse. Whether it’s attending a yoga session or practising mindfulness techniques, find what works for you and stick to it.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself and if you do relapse – View it as a learning opportunity. The most important thing is that you get back on track as soon as possible and continue working towards your goal of living a drug-free life.
What if I have a prescription drug addiction but I need medicine for genuine reasons?
If you have a prescription drug addiction but also have a genuine need for medication, it is very important to discuss your options with your doctor. They will be able to work with you to find a way to treat your condition without triggering your addiction. The most important thing is to always be open and honest with medical staff because they can only help you if they know the full story.