Prescription Drug Addiction

South Coast Behavioral Health is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for individuals struggling with prescription drug addiction.

Prescription drug addiction is a growing and concerning health issue. It involves the misuse, overuse, or dependency on prescription medications, typically those prescribed for pain management or mental health conditions. While these medications can be effective when taken prescribed, they can also become addictive when misused.

Prescription drug abuse poses significant risks to physical and mental health, often leading to severe consequences for individuals and their families. Understanding the nature of prescription drug addiction is crucial for prevention, early intervention, and effective treatment to address the medical and psychological aspects of addiction. 

prescription drug addiction

What Is Prescription Drug Addiction?

Prescription drug addiction, also known as medication misuse or opioid use disorder, refers to the compulsive and harmful use of prescription medications. These drugs are typically prescribed by healthcare professionals to manage pain, alleviate anxiety, or treat other medical conditions. However, when taken in ways or doses other than prescribed, they can become addictive. 

Prescription drugs encompass a wide range of medications, including opioids (e.g., oxycodone), benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax), and stimulants (e.g., Adderall). People may misuse these drugs to experience euphoria, numb emotional pain, or self-medicate for various reasons. 

Even medications prescribed by a doctor can be dangerous when not used as directed. Overuse or misuse can lead to tolerance, where individuals need higher doses for the same effect, increasing the risk of addiction. Dependency can develop, causing individuals to rely on the medication to function normally. 

Prescription drug addiction carries serious health risks, including overdose, organ damage, mental health issues, and strained relationships. It highlights the importance of responsible medication use, close monitoring by healthcare professionals, and early intervention when misuse is suspected to prevent addiction and its potentially devastating consequences. 

We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

What Prescription Drugs are Addictive?

Several prescription drugs can be addictive, leading to dependence and substance use disorder. Here is a list of some common prescription drugs that have a high potential for addiction: 


  • Oxycodone: Prescribed for pain management, it can produce a euphoric high when misused. 
  • Hydrocodone: Another potent pain reliever, often found in combination with other medications. 
  • Morphine: A strong painkiller with a high risk of misuse. 
  • Codeine: Typically prescribed for mild to moderate pain and cough suppression, but misuse can result in euphoria and addiction. 
  • Tramadol: Used for pain relief, but when misused, it can produce opioid-like effects and lead to dependence. 



  • Xanax (Alprazolam): Prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders, it can lead to physical and psychological dependence. 
  • Valium (Diazepam): Used for anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures, but can be habit-forming. 
  • Ativan (Lorazepam): Often prescribed for anxiety and can lead to tolerance and withdrawal. 



  • Adderall: Prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but misuse can result in dependence and stimulant use disorder. 
  • Ritalin: Prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, but misuse can lead to dependence and stimulant use disorder. 


Sleep Medications: 

  • Ambien (Zolpidem): Used for insomnia, but can lead to addiction when misused for its sedative effects. 
  • Lunesta (Eszopiclone): Prescribed to treat insomnia, but misusing it for its sedative properties can lead to addiction. 
  • Sonata (Zaleplon): Used for insomnia, but misuse for its calming effects can result in addiction and dependence. 


Muscle Relaxants: 

  • Soma (Carisoprodol): Prescribed for muscle pain but can be habit-forming when misused. 
  • Codeine: Often included in prescription cough syrups, misuse can lead to dependence and addiction. 
  • Methadone: Used to treat opioid addiction, but it can also be misused recreationally. 


It’s essential to note that these drugs, when taken as prescribed by a healthcare professional, are generally safe and effective. However, misuse or overuse can lead to addiction. It’s crucial to use prescription medications only as directed and to seek professional help if you suspect a problem with dependency or addiction. 


Common Signs and Symptoms of
Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction can manifest through a range of signs and symptoms, both physical and behavioral. Understanding these indicators is crucial for early intervention and seeking help.

Some common signs of prescription drug abuse and addiction include: 

Physical Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction: 

  • Changes in Appearance: Sudden weight loss, pallor, or changes in hygiene. 
  • Tolerance: Needing increasing amounts of the medication to achieve the same effect. 
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing physical and psychological discomfort when not using the drug. 
  • Drowsiness or Sedation: Frequent drowsiness, nodding off, or appearing intoxicated.

Behavioral Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction: 

  • Preoccupation: An intense focus on obtaining and using the medication. 
  • Social Isolation: Withdrawing from friends and family. 
  • Doctor Shopping: Seeking prescriptions from multiple healthcare providers. 
  • Neglecting Responsibilities: Missing work, school, or family obligations. 
  • Mood Swings: Frequent shifts in mood, irritability, or depression. 
  • Lying and Deceit: Hiding or lying about medication use.

DSM-5 Criteria for SUD

The DSM-5 outlines specific criteria for diagnosing substance use disorder (SUD), including factors such as: 

  • Impaired control (cravings; inability to stop)
  • Social impairment (disregard for other people or responsibilities)
  • Risky use (using in dangerous settings or methods)
  • Tolerance (need for larger doses to get the same effect)
  • Withdrawal symptoms (Vary from one medication to the next)

    Meeting two or more of these criteria within a 12-month period may indicate the presence of a substance use disorder. Recognizing these signs and understanding the diagnostic criteria can help identify prescription drug addiction early, facilitating timely intervention and treatment to support recovery. 

    When Do You Need Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment?

    Recognizing the need for prescription drug addiction treatment is essential for breaking free from the grip of addiction and avoiding its devastating consequences. Here’s when it’s time to seek help: 


    • Loss of Control: If you find it challenging to control your use of prescription drugs, often taking higher doses than prescribed or trying to quit unsuccessfully, it’s a clear sign of a problem. 
    • Health and Safety Concerns: When your drug use starts affecting your physical and mental health, leading to dangerous situations, such as overdose or accidents, it’s time to seek help. 
    • Relationship Strain: If your drug addiction is causing conflicts with family, friends, or loved ones, eroding trust and damaging relationships, it’s a strong indicator that professional help is needed. 
    • Neglecting Responsibilities: When you begin neglecting important life responsibilities, such as work, school, or household duties, and prioritize drug use instead, it’s a sign of addiction interfering with daily life. 
    • Legal Issues: Involvement in legal problems, including arrests and charges related to drug use or obtaining prescription drugs illegally, is a serious red flag. 
    • Financial Strain: If you’re struggling to manage finances due to the cost of drugs and loss of income, leading to debt or illegal activities to fund your addiction, it’s time for treatment. 


    Prescription drug addiction can result in severe physical and mental health issues, damaged relationships, legal troubles, and financial ruin. Seeking treatment at the earliest signs of addiction offers the best chance for recovery and a healthier, substance-free life. 

    Looking For An In-Network Drug Abuse Treatment Provider?

    What Is Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Like?

    Prescription drug addiction treatment is a comprehensive and structured process designed to address the physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects of addiction. Here’s an overview of what it typically entails:

    • Assessment and Evaluation: Treatment begins with a thorough assessment by healthcare professionals to determine the severity of addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders. This evaluation helps create a personalized treatment plan. 
    • Detoxification (Detox): For individuals physically dependent on prescription drugs, medically supervised detox may be necessary. This phase involves safely managing withdrawal symptoms and preparing individuals for further treatment. 
    • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): For certain prescription drug addictions, such as opioids, MAT may be recommended. It combines medications like buprenorphine, suboxone, or methadone with counseling to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 
    • Psychotherapies: Evidence-based psychotherapies like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), and contingency management are commonly used to address the psychological aspects of addiction. 
    • Holistic Programs: Treatment often includes holistic approaches such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and nutrition counseling to promote overall well-being. 
    • Dual Diagnosis: Individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders receive integrated treatment for both addiction and their mental health condition. This approach addresses the complex interaction between the two. 
    • Group and Individual Counseling: Counseling sessions, both in group and individual settings, provide a safe space for individuals to explore the underlying causes of addiction, develop coping skills, and receive support. 
    • Aftercare and Relapse Prevention: Upon completing primary treatment, individuals are provided with aftercare plans, which may include ongoing counseling, support groups, and relapse prevention strategies to maintain sobriety. 

    Prescription drug addiction treatment is a multifaceted process tailored to individual needs, with a focus on long-term recovery. It aims to empower individuals to overcome addiction, address the root causes, and develop the tools necessary for a healthier and substance-free life. 

    How Long Is Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment?

    Prescription drug addiction treatment duration varies depending on individual needs and the severity of addiction. Typically, treatment spans from a few weeks to several months, involving detox, therapy, and aftercare. However, recovery is an ongoing journey, and sobriety often requires lifelong commitment.

    After completing inpatient treatment, individuals may continue with aftercare programs, counseling, and support groups. Professional treatment centers assist in developing relapse prevention plans, equipping individuals with strategies to navigate triggers and maintain sobriety.

    Ultimately, the goal is to provide the tools and resources necessary for individuals to sustain a healthy, drug-free life, recognizing that recovery is a lifelong commitment deserving of ongoing attention and support. 

    Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at South Coast Behavioral Health

    At South Coast Behavioral Health, we provide individualized prescription drug addiction treatment to help individuals overcome their dependence on addictive substances. Our comprehensive approach is rooted in evidence-based practices and a commitment to addressing the unique needs of each client. Here’s an overview of our drug addiction treatment services: 

    • Assessment and Customized Plans: SCBH begins with a thorough assessment of each individual’s needs, enabling the development of personalized treatment plans tailored to their specific challenges and goals. 
    • Medically Supervised Detox: For those requiring it, SCBH offers medically supervised detoxification to ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal process. 
    • Levels of Care: SCBH provides a continuum of care that includes inpatient/residential treatment, partial hospitalization programs (PHP), intensive outpatient programs (IOP), and outpatient counseling, allowing clients to transition smoothly through different levels of care as their needs evolve. 
    • Evidence-Based Therapies: Clients benefit from evidence-based psychotherapies such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Adventure Therapy, and more, helping them address the psychological aspects of addiction. 
    • Holistic Approach: SCBH integrates holistic approaches like mindfulness, yoga, and nutritional counseling to promote overall well-being and address the mind-body connection in recovery. 
    • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: SCBH specializes in addressing co-occurring mental health disorders alongside addiction, recognizing the complex interplay between the two. 
    • Aftercare and Relapse Prevention: After completing treatment, SCBH provides clients with aftercare plans, ongoing support, and relapse prevention strategies to help maintain long-term sobriety. 

    Our prescription drug addiction treatment program is designed to help individuals struggling with substance abuse and addiction. We understand that drug abuse can have a serious impact on your life, and our goal is to provide you with the resources and support needed to make a successful recovery from addiction.

    Our team of experienced professionals will work closely with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and helps you reach your goals. We offer a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches to help you maintain sobriety long-term. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, contact us today to learn more about our prescription drug addiction treatment program.

    Get A Confidential Assessment From A Recovery Specialist

    Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment in Orange County, CA

    Our prescription drug addiction treatment program focuses on helping individuals successfully navigate the process of recovery from substance abuse and addiction. We provide client-centered care, evidence-based practices, and holistic approaches to foster an environment conducive to healing and recovery, empowering individuals to achieve lasting freedom from prescription drug addiction.

    We provide prescription drug addiction treatment for men within our medical detox and residential treatment centers in Irvine, CA. 

    Learn More

    We offer prescription drug addiction treatment for women at our medical detox and residential treatment centers in Huntington Beach, CA. 

    Learn More

    We provide prescription drug addiction treatment for men within our residential inpatient facility in Costa Mesa, CA. 

    Learn More

    We provide prescription drug addiction treatment during our PHP and IOP programs in Newport Beach, CA. 

    Learn More

    If you are struggling with addiction, SCBH is here to help guide you to the right treatment program for your needs. Contact us today by calling 866-881-1184 for more support and expert guidance.  

    Let us help you take back your life.
    You are the most important individual that we can help. You matter to us in ways that we cannot describe in words. Your life has value, and no matter how broken you think you are, we are here to help put the pieces back together.