Prescription Drug Addiction

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Prescription drug addiction

Despite the fact that prescription drugs might sound somehow ‘safer’ than illegal substances, they are no less addictive. If prescription drugs have become a problem for you or someone you care about, you’ll be well aware of how quickly dependency can arise and how concerning the consequences can be.

Prescription drug abuse and addiction has become a major health concern world-wide, with opioid prescription drug deaths overtaking illegal opiates drug deaths.

The CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) released data showing that synthetic opioid related deaths, including Tramadol and Fentanyl (both legitimately prescribed and illicitly manufactured) have caused a staggering number of deaths in recent years.

This not only proves the scale of the problem that we are facing in the war on addictive prescription drugs but also highlights how lethal they can be when abused.

Our multidisciplinary team has years of experience in successfully treating
prescription drug addiction and dependency. We are here to help you and your family move beyond addiction and break free from prescription drug addiction.

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug dependency

At Mudita Cara rehab Hartebeespoort, we feel it is important to understand the
difference between a physical prescription drug dependence and an addiction based prescription drug dependence. The reason being is that if you suffer from addiction and only treat the physical aspect, you are highly likely to relapse. Relapse can not only be devastating but is extremely threatening to human life.

Prescription drug dependence can be a stand alone condition that is not necessarily
accompanied by addiction. Whilst addiction often involves drug dependence, the two conditions can occur completely independently of one another, or can occur simultaneously.

A physical dependence to prescription drugs means just that, your body has developed a physical dependence and needs a certain amount of drugs in order to function normally.

Unlike an addiction based dependency, once your body is clear of the prescription drug, even if a medical detox is required, you will have no difficulty in resuming your normal day to day activities and staying clear of prescription drugs. Your quality of life will improve as will your health. No additional support will be required.

Addiction, on the other hand, is a chronic and progressive disorder of the brain. Addiction affects the brains function and structure. An individual who suffers from addiction will have great difficulty in stopping or reducing prescription drugs and will often require a full medical detox to achieve this. However, even without the drugs present in their system the brain remains in the same structurally damaged and altered state, which prioritises prescription drugs above all
else. This means they are extremely vulnerable to relapse.

Not many prescription drug addicts (if any) will stay clean from prescription drugs for very long without undergoing a full rehabilitation programme.

Prescription drug dependency, whilst not considered a life threatening condition unlike prescription drug addiction, can still heavily impact on a persons quality of life. It can also carry physical and psychological consequences if not correctly addressed.

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If you have a prescription drug dependency (with or without addiction) you will experience withdrawal symptoms on stopping the addictive drug. It is important that you seek medical advice and do not just stop taking the drug, this can cause life threatening complications to occur.

If you suffer from a stand alone prescription drug dependence and are struggling to stop due to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, Mudita Cara can assist you with a full medical detox. This will enable you to become prescription drug free safely and comfortably.

Deciding whether you are prescription drug dependent, or addicted and drug dependent can be confusing if you do not know the signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction. This is where we feel we can be of service by highlighting the symptoms of addiction relating to prescription drugs below.

Prescription drug dependence and abuse has become such a large scale problem in South Africa, doctors and psychiatrist need to call on stricter protocols for the prescribing of the following types of addictive prescriptions drugs:

  • Antidepressants – including mirtazapine and trazodone
  • Opioids (for chronic pain) – including codeine, morphine, oxycodone, tramadol, Syndol etc.
  • Gabapentinoids – including gabapentin and pregabalin
  • Benzodiazepines – including valium (diazepam), temazepam, librium etc
  • Z List drugs – including zopiclone and zolpidem

In addition to the above drugs that have moderate to high abuse potential and can create drug dependence within a relatively short space of time (weeks as oppose to months), stimulant medications also have a moderate to high potential for abuse.

Stimulant drugs that are commonly prescribed for weight loss and for the treatment of ADHD and ADD are commonly abused and can lead to addiction. These drugs can not only be obtained through prescription but can also be obtained from the dark web, internet and unethical pharmacies that dispense without perceptions.

If you are taking a prescribed drug it is vital that you read the accompanying leaflet with the medication. There is a world of difference between an addictive prescription drug and
other medications that do not create drug dependence or addiction.

Addictive prescribed drugs will always state tolerance, dependence and withdrawal are a complication and risk on the accompanying leaflet. If you are at all unsure, please check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Which ‘prescribed’ substances become a problem?

As you might expect, those drugs which tend to be the most abused and have the potential to become a serious problem are pain killers. Opiate based prescription painkillers are extremely addictive and can create a drug tolerance and dependence within as little as 5-7 days of continuous use.


When we consider that at the route of all addiction is often some sort of physical or psychological pain, it is not surprising that painkillers, literally become a problem for some.


Opiate based drugs cause extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be so difficult to tolerate that an individual can continue to use a prescribed drug even when the
original problem has been resolved – rather than go through the withdrawal process.


Synthetic opioids can be particularly troublesome to stop as their chemical compounds are more complex than natural opiates. A prime example of this would be the opioid analgesic Tramadol. Tramadol withdrawal symptoms produce intense drug cravings as well as a whole host of unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms.


Sleeping pills, weight loss pills and medications for depression and anxiety are also commonly abused. Popular names for these include Xanax, Diazepam and Valium.


If you or a loved one have developed a prescription drug addiction or dependence, Mudita Cara rehab specialises in delivering full medical detoxes to control the symptoms of tramadol withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal, xanax withdrawal, zopiclone withdrawal and codeine withdrawal (to name just a few).


We can help you to withdrawal comfortably and most importantly safely within our purpose built detox facility that uniquely provides 24/7 specialist detox care from our qualified nursing team.


Prescription drug addiction is a terrifying problem; one that spirals quickly without professional help


One of the reasons why dependency on a medication can feel so terrifying is that prescription drug use often starts under the guidance of a trusted doctor. However, many doctors are susceptible to over prescribing by treating the symptoms rather than the cause.


As a result of prescription drug dependency becoming an ever worsening problem in SouthAfrica, more people are having to turn to private prescription drug help.


There is also tragically still a stigma attached to addiction that prevents many from seeking the treatment that they so desperately need.

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How can Mudita Cara help?

If prescription drugs have become a problem for you or someone you care about, Mudita Cara rehab in Hartebeespoort can help.


Most people who stay at Mudita Cara with a dependency on prescription drugs need help initially with the physical aspects. Withdrawal from
prescription medication that has been abused can be dangerous and a safe detoxification is often the first step.


Once you have safely stopped, treatment is focused around the psychological aspects of the dependency and the reasons why you developed addiction
Here, we help you work through the reasons why medication became a problem in the first place and help you future proof your abstinence with our unique set of tools and techniques.


Furthermore, once inpatient treatments has been completed, our care and support does not stop. Mudita Cara will continue to support and help you maintain abstinence and recovery through their step-down residential care facilities in their group. You can look at our secondary and tertiary care options on this site.

Contact us

Call our Enquiry Line
☏ +27 81 037 2349

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For details of how Mudita Care can provide you with assistance regarding alcohol addiction treatment and rehabilitation, please call +27 81 037 2349