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Prescription drugs

Drugs are prescribed at GP surgeries and hospitals across the UK on daily basis. Many of these drugs are necessary to keep us alive and the advancement in medicine enables us to live healthier and longer than ever before.

However, there are certain prescribed drugs and medications that can lead to addiction. Very often, these are taken innocently by an individual looking for a solution to either a pain related issue or a mental health issue. In the short term, these medications can be effective in helping to manage pain or anxiety. But in the long term, they can stop working as tolerance increases and lead to addiction.

When talking about prescription drugs that might lead to addiction, we are usually referring to opiates or benzodiazipines. These groups of drugs are often very necessary in the treatment of pain, anxiety and sometimes depression but can undoubtedly lead to addiction.

If you are looking for help with a prescription drug addiction, please contact The Providence Projects right away. We have also attached some information about prescription drug addiction and the rehab process. This will help you understand the problem and the help that is available to overcome the problem.

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Prescription drug rehab

Prescription drug rehab is available at The Providence Projects as part of our comprehensive treatment programme. The most common prescription drugs treated within the facility are opioids and benzodiazapines. We understand how addictive these medications are; how difficult it can be to stop and the difficult withdrawals which often perpetuate the addiction.

During the prescription drug rehab, you will be supported through an individualised medication regime. Depending on the length and severity of your dependence, a tailored regime to slowly and safely reduce the dependence until you are either completely drug free or find an alternative, non-addictive medication. The team of doctors are experts in the field of addiction and ensure that you are detoxed with maximum comfort.

During the medication reduction our fantastic team of therapists are on hand to give you emotional and psychological support to ensure you receive first class treatment. The team of rehab professionals at The Providence Projects are kind, experienced and highly skilled. As part of the prescription drug rehab therapy you will explore the issues that led to the prescription drug use, how your use escalated and how you came to rehab.

Prescription drug rehab at The Providence Projects can vary in length depending on your dependency and requirements. Programmes mostly range from 4 weeks up to 12 weeks. Our counsellors are always available to discuss your individual requirements and we offer a free telephone assessment and consultation service.

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What is prescription drug addiction?

The most common types of prescription drug addiction are prescription opioids and prescription benzodiazepines. These are often referred to as tranquilisers or sedatives.


In America, there is currently an opioid crisis due to the levels of prescription opioids being handed out. In the UK, we are more prudent with our prescribing, but there has also been a growing trend to prescribe opioids. The most commonly prescribed opioids leading to addiction are:

  • Codeine
  • Tramadol
  • Co-codamol
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl

The Providence Projects can offer a range of drug treatment programmes for all of these opiate medications with excellent success rates.


The most commonly used addictive benzodiazepines are:

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Zolpidem (Ambien)
  • Tamazepam

Whilst withdrawing from any medication can be uncomfortable, it is particularly important to receive medical support when detoxing from benzodiazepines. If managed incorrectly, it can be an awful and quite dangerous experience.
There is also a newer group of drugs which includes pregabalin and gabapentin which have proven to be far more addictive than first thought. We are now seeing more people with addictions to these medications too.

Causes of prescription drug addiction

There are many causes of prescription drug addiction and this is a particularly complex issue.

Opioid addiction can start as a result of an injury, accident or chronic pain issue. The medication is initially used to help manage the pain before addiction can develop. Once in addiction, the individual will take more for the same effect, more than they require or become obsessed with the medication

Opioid addiction can begin with over the counter medication containing codeine. As tolerance increases and addiction progresses, the addicted person will buy packets of medication each week, purely for the opioid content

Ex heroin addicts often find that prescription medication and over the counter medication is their route to relapse. They experience a craving for the effect of heroin but know the dangers. Instead they use prescription medication, only to develop addiction again.

Anxiety is now one of the most common reasons in the UK that people visit their GP. Benzodiazepines and diazepam are often used to help manage anxiety. Unfortunately, over time, the individual’s tolerance increases, and the medication does not address the underlying issues. Therefore, more medication is required for the same effect. This often leads to addiction.

Due to the addictive nature of medications such as diazepam, the individual only realises the strength of the addiction once they try to reduce or stop. At this point, they often find that the withdrawals are simply too difficult to overcome on their own.

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Symptoms of prescription drug addiction

Here are a range of symptoms associated with prescription drug addiction. These symptoms can be observed by the person with the problem or their friends and family.

  • Difficulty reducing the amount used.
  • Continually taking the drug despite knowing the consequences.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when cutting down or stopping.
  • Taking more of the drug for the same effect.
  • Arguing with loved ones about the drug use.
  • Dishonesty about obtaining prescription drugs or the amounts taken.

There are of course many other symptoms which may be unique to the individual, but these symptoms are common in prescription drug addiction and if these are present it may well be time to seek professional help.

In addiction, as a result of denial, it is very common for friends, families and loved ones to identify the problem before the individual. At first the person with the problem will justify, excuse, intellectualise or minimise. If your loved one is at this stage of their addiction and cannot see the reality of the situation, it may be worth considering a family drug intervention.

Over the counter medication: addiction & rehab

For many people, prescription drugs are not required for addiction to develop. Scarily, it is quite easy to develop an addiction to medications that can be bought without prescriptions. As well as the damage of addiction, this is often accompanied by serious long-term health damage due to the amount of medication taken.

Most people who develop an addiction through buying medication over the counter will become addicted to codeine, as this is the easiest opioid to buy. The stronger versions of ibuprofen or paracetamol may have codeine contained. In some instances, we have seen people using up to two boxes daily. Codeine can also be found in certain cough syrups.

During recent years, pharmacists have become aware of this growing issue and have put some measures in place to prevent the abuse of these medications but of course, as with any addiction, the individual will find a way to secure their supply.

Online medication

Another clear reason for the growing problem with these types of medications is the ease of availability online. This enables people to become their own doctor; to self medicate; often resulting in disaster.

Not only does this result in addiction, but buying medication online is even more dangerous than prescribed medication. This is due to the lack of regulation. The customer can never be sure of exactly what they are buying. It also widens the market to medications that are not even approved in the UK, usually for good reason.

Buying online is such a simple process and that it is very easy to develop a strong addiction. Medication can be delivered quickly and the individual does not have to justify to a doctor or pharmacist their need for their medication. There really are no limits.

The Providence Projects would strongly recommend against buying any medication online. If, however you have developed a problem with buying online medication, please call us and we will run through the help available to you.

More about the rehab process at The Providence Projects

The Providence Projects, established in 1996, is the leading affordable private rehab programme in the UK. The multi disciplinary team including Doctors, addiction therapists, counsellors, recovery workers, alternative therapists, fitness instructors and support workers combine to ensure you have fantastic and life changing experience.

As part of the drug rehab process at The Providence Projects you will have a 1-1 focal counsellor who is your point of contact throughout your treatment. Together you will agree a treatment plan which will be revisited during your 1-1 counselling sessions, identifying the areas which are key for you to address so that you can achieve long term recovery.

You will also engage with a range of other counselling sessions, therapies and activities delivered by a range of specialist counsellors to give you a complete experience. The structured timetable at The Providence Projects is designed so you will have a complete treatment and recovery experience. This includes everything from 1-1 counselling to boxercise; from group therapy to spiritual walks along the beach; from written assignments to music therapy.

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