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Prescription Pill Abuse

What is Prescription Pill Abuse?

Some of the most abused drugs are the ones we find in our own medicine cabinets at home. When it comes to opioids or pain pills, boys and girls as young as 12 years old, say that they started their addiction in their own home by abusing the prescriptions that their doctor’s wrote for them or their parents. Many prescription medications are very addictive, and even if they do not appear to be causing addiction or dependence, they can lead to painful withdrawal when discontinued. In fact, most people do not even realize that dependence is forming until it is too late.

Misuse of prescription pills is as common, if not more so, than abusing street drugs. As with illicit narcotic treatment, oftentimes medical detox is required to safely end physical and mental dependence to addictive medication prescribed by the doctor. What follows is intensive therapy to help resume life the way it once was before medications changed everything. Though it may seem strange to need medical detox or drug abuse rehabilitation for something prescribed by a doctor, it is important to remember that some medications, like morphine, are extremely similar to street drugs such as heroin. The closet alternative to Adderall for example, is meth.

Types of Prescription Pills

While there are thousands of different prescription substances, the most common classifications that we see abused fall into the following categories:


Typically used to treat ADHD, such as Ritalin or Adderall, stimulants or uppers increase activity in the body. They speed up the mental process, which has become popular especially amongst college students who abuse them to improve their motivation and study habits before tests. Chemically, meth is the closest street drug to Adderall. Many who struggle with Adderall addiction may transition to meth. Presently, there is a shortage of Adderall available, even for people with regular prescription. This has led users to find unsafe pressed pills on the street, or to simply go for meth.

Signs of Abuse Includes:

  • Agitation or Paranoia
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Increased Heart rate
  • Itching
  • Skin problems


Barbiturates are typically sedative drugs that treat things such as seizures. The body develops a tolerance to these drugs quickly, and withdrawal effects are felt as quickly as 8 hours after the last dose. Mixing barbiturates with other substances, such as alcohol or opiates greatly increases the chance of overdose.

Typical signs of abuse includes:

  • Decreased Consciousness
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Slurring Speech


Benzodiazepines, or benzos are typically used for anxiety disorders or depression. They include medications such as Valium and Xanax. Discontinuing them is especially dangerous because they can cause permanent chemical changes to the brain. Valium withdrawal is one of the most dangerous – as lethal as alcohol as it can cause grand mal seizures.

Signs of Abuse Include:

  • Feeling Unsteady
  • Memory Issues
  • Slurring
  • Poor Concentration


Opioids are typically intense, potent painkillers, such as morphine or fentanyl. Substances such as morphine, heroin or opium are considered to be ‘natural’ opiates, whereas methadone, Percocet and Vicodin are considered synthetic opioids. Opioids are highly addictive and cause severe withdrawal. Currently, most drug overdose and death in America contains some type of opiate drug.

Signs of Abuse Include:

  • Shallow Breathing
  • Tolerance
  • Increased Sensitivity to Pain
  • Confusion
  • Poor Coordination
  • Memory Problems

If you recognize any of these signs in yourself or others, you may have a problem abusing prescription medications and require medical help to safely detox. Because of the high risks of lethal withdrawal symptoms or seizures, it is very important to detox with the assistance of trained medical staff such as the men and women at Royal Life Centers.

Detoxing from Prescription Pills

Every drug has its own effect on the body, and every person will experience something different. Depending on your age, what you have taken, your overall health and how much you have abused, ending addiction to prescription pills can be dangerous or even lethal. Withdrawal is painful, and difficult and without the assistance of professional medical staff, many individuals will relapse to end the terrible effects.

Medical detox from prescription medication will typically alleviate most withdrawal symptoms within 5-10 days, safely. In the case of prescription Valium or other deadly benzos, you protect yourself from lethal seizures by being monitored by a medical professional 24/7.

Withdrawal from Prescription Pills

Various categories of prescription medications have different withdrawal symptoms to deal with. Here is just a brief overview of what to expect:

Prescription Opioids:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Pain
  • Sweats


  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Tachycardia
  • Tremors
  • Panic Attacks

Prescription Stimulants:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Intense dreams
  • Exhaustion


  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Reach Out

If you or a loved one has a dependency or addiction to prescription medications, or any substance use disorder, please reach out to us about your detox and treatment options. Royal Life Centers admissions staff is available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns. We can be reached at 888-716-4070. Because We Care.

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