Prescription drugs are commonly viewed as harmless. They are prescribed by medical professionals, generally in place to reduce pain, work through side effects of medical conditions and support those with mental health issues. They are categorised as a treatment to improve quality of life.

However, like other drugs, prescription drugs do carry addictive characteristics, especially if misused. Many individuals will follow prescription guidelines. Yet, as tolerances develop, risk factors of drug misuse increase as doses escalate.

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Commonly abused Prescription Drugs

While treating medical conditions or mental health disorders, it is very likely that if misused, prescription drug addictions can develop. Although this may seem difficult for some people to grasp, anyone can develop an addiction, especially when prescriptions continue to help alleviate pain or offer a euphoric feeling. Once withdrawal symptoms in between doses arise, greater doses are likely to take place, kickstarting addictive behaviours.

Common Prescription drug addictions:


Here are the types of prescription drugs most commonly abused:



Stimulant drugs are commonly prescribed for individuals who are experiencing behavioural issues, such as ADHD. Used to control behaviour, the stimulation of energy and a buzzing feeling can become addictive. Once a general prescribed dose has been consumed for some time, it is likely that the stimulant will wear off. This is where the dangerous cycle of addiction can begin, if drug doses aren’t controlled.

Those who abuse stimulant prescription drugs are also identified to turn to harder drugs, such as cocaine, with the hope to achieve the same results.



Opioid prescription painkillers are commonly prescribed by doctors to alleviate temporary and chronic pain. Opioid drugs carry highly addictive characteristics, increasing the risk of developing a dependence if misused. This is exactly why prescriptions are usually only offered for a short period of time and commonly re-evaluated.

The likes of morphine and methadone fall into the prescription opioid category. Through their effects, many individuals will turn to their illegal counterpart in order to achieve similar highs if prescriptions are stopped or reduced. However, many individuals can experience a long-term prescription drug addiction to opioids, if control isn’t present.


Central nervous system depressants

Central nervous system depressants are commonly prescribed for individuals who are experiencing mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Down to their calming effects, many individuals do misuse CNS depressants, with the aim to maintain psychological side effects.

Great risk is present for those who are abusing CNS depressants as underlying mental health conditions are existing. When combining existing psychological impairment and drug abuse, a dual diagnosis can form where both illnesses advance one another. With this in mind, prescription drug addiction is more likely for those suffering with mental health issues, along with the risk of developing further dependencies.

If you are abusing any type of painkiller or medication, we highly recommend sourcing prescription drug addiction treatment as soon as possible. There are many underlying dangers of continuous misuse of prescription drugs.

The dangers of a Prescription Drug Addiction

Abusing the likes of opioid painkillers or stimulants can be very dangerous. Although initially identified as safe, commonly prescribed to improve or manage health, long-term abuse of prescription drugs can result in physical and psychological side effects.

If you have a problem with prescription drugs, it’s important to remember that you are consuming a drug which is in place to alleviate a certain pain or condition in the body. By consuming doses which surpass this, minimal to severe side effects can be experienced. Yet, the greatest concern is the habitual behaviours you can develop, known to lead to greater mental health issues, physical health conditions, reduced quality of life and the potential to consume harder, more hazardous drugs.

As a result of these concerns, if you are abusing prescription drugs, it is advised that you speak out to medical professionals. Prescription drug addiction treatment will be available through private rehab centres, like ours here at Nova Recovery.

The sooner that addiction treatment can begin, the sooner that habitual behaviours can be suppressed. This will also treat your existing pain disorder, behavioural condition or mental health problems. Please be aware that if a dual diagnosis of addiction and a mental health condition is present, additional treatment options may be required.

Addiction treatment available to overcome prescription drug abuse

If you’re hoping to recover from a prescription drug addiction, we have a range of available treatment options in place to break the cycle. By starting your own rehab journey, we will assess your current health history, your reliance on prescription drugs and your mental health state. From here, suitable addiction treatments will be recommended to slowly alleviate prescription drug abuse.

Common treatment options completed through rehab include a prescription drug detox programme, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and group therapy. Firstly, by gauging the addictive characteristics you’ve been drawn to, our medical team will work to detox your body from those substances. However, this will be completed through a careful approach, ensuring that optimal health can be maintained.

Alongside medical treatment options, psychological intervention will be required to work through your habitual behaviours, while also promoting mental health recovery. This combination is very important to understand the underlying trigger advancing addiction.

Our teams can also consider your existing health conditions and how coping mechanisms and alternative treatments can help to manage your symptoms and side effects at our addiction recovery centre in Largs, Scotland.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: June 22, 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. His passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases. The journey continues. In recent times, John has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with NAD+ scientists and the very best of the medical professionals in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Hospitals own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists. Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with NAD+ Therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.