The abuse of prescription drugs is one of the growing problems in the world, which only comes second to marijuana. It is an alarming fact that many people, including children, are addicted to prescription drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  reports that drug addiction is responsible for 95 percent of unintentional poison deaths in the United States alone. The fact that prescription drugs are easy attainable over the counter makes the problem more uncontrollable.

Why People Get Addicted to Prescription Drugs

Many people experiment on taking prescription drugs for purposes of losing weight, fitting in or having fun. It is popular because they are easier to acquire than street drugs. Taking prescription drugs in a way that was not approved or recommended by the doctor may lead to prescription drug addiction.

The most common prescription drugs abused by people are depressants (Ambien and Xanax), painkillers (Vicodin and Oxynotin) and stimulants (Aderall and Ritalin). These drugs have addictive properties that them the most abused prescription drugs in the world.

Warning Signs

Some of the warning signs of prescription drug addiction are very noticeable changes in mood, frantic activities that last for very long hours, disrupted sleep patterns (such as not having enough sleep or sleeping too much), irritability during normal situations and increased alcohol intake. The drug addict may also have an increased number of appointments with doctors to continue receiving new prescriptions.

Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors of prescription drug addiction may include fatigue, poverty, obesity, depression, poor self-concept, dependency, excessive alcohol consumption, family history of addiction or a medical condition that requires medication. Recent studies show that the most number of prescription drug addicts belong to ages ranging from 12 to 17 and 18 to 25.


Prescription drug addiction is the obsessive abuse of prescription drugs, which is manifested by a continued psychological desire or need for drug intake. It is also characterized by mood alterations, physical or social harm when deprived of the prescription drug or inability to stop using the drug. An addicted person cannot just stop using prescription drugs even if he or she already knows its destructive consequences.

Drug addicts often are not able to stop without help. This is where rehabilitation comes in. The rehab helps a person restore his normal health level. A prescription drug addict should be sent to a rehab for expert counselors and personnel to help in mind rehabilitation.


After an addiction treatment, it may be difficult for the person to adapt with the new environment that awaits him. It is important that the people around him understands what he is going through and help him cope with the changes. Aftercare lasts only a few weeks after rehabilitation.

It is no longer unusual for drug addicts to try to return to their habits about one month after treatment. It may occur any time within the recovery process. Aftercare helps prevent this from happening. It is important to keep the patient away from the temptations of going back to old habits and addictions. The patient must not return to a home with a destructive, stressful environment. A peaceful and loving environment is necessary for the person to be able to resist the temptation.

A good aftercare treatment should stabilize the mental condition of a patient and remind him of the mental, physical and emotional disadvantages of addiction. It should support the patient and provide him with encouraging advices for complete recovery. It should involve a monthly, weekly or bi-weekly follow ups to monitor the patient’s progress and a recommendation/provision of a structured living environment with the help of the patient’s family. The aftercare process needs the help and support of the patient’s family in order to monitor his progress more closely.

After the aftercare plan, the patient should be able to adapt normally to family situations, handle cravings more responsibly, maintain alcohol/drug abstinence and cope with other stressors. Socially, the patient should be able to have fun without drug or alcohol intake, make new friends instead of reuniting with other addicts and go back to work or continue education.