Munson Health
Prescription Drug Addiction

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by McCoy K

Risk Factors

Physical dependence may contribute to the development and continuance of addiction. Physical dependence is when your body needs a drug to function normally. Withdrawal symptoms when the medicine is stopped or reduced can be a sign of physical dependence. It can make cessation of drug use difficult. Physical dependence may occur with abuse or with long term proper use of medications.


Treatment options include the following:


This involves managing the symptoms of withdrawal while the medication leaves your system. Some symptoms of withdrawal can be life-threatening. Your medical team will slowly taper you off the drug and monitor your bodies reactions.
Other medications may be used to counteract the effects of addiction and withdrawal symptoms. This should be done under the supervision of a doctor in a hospital or other outpatient setting to ensure your safety and effective detoxification.
It is important to follow-up with other therapies to avoid relapse.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies can help. This therapy will help you learn to function without the medication, handle cravings, and avoid situations in which relapse is likely. Behavioral therapy may include individual, group, or family counseling.


Certain medications can be used to treat opiate dependence that may be present with addiction. They may be used during detoxification to reduce withdrawal symptoms. They may also be continued through maintenance to decrease craving and reduce the risk of relapse. They are given as a part of an overall treatment approach including counseling. Common medication options include:
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
The choice of medication will depend on drugs involved in addiction, your medical history, and recovery commitment.
Other medications may be needed to treat underlying issues, such as depression or anxiety. These medications may help you on your way to a full and productive life as well as prevent relapse.


American Council for Drug Education

National Institute on Drug Abuse



Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

The Council on Drug Abuse



Opioid abuse or dependence. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated date April 29, 2012. Accessed May 15, 2012.

Prescription drugs abuse and addiction. Prescription Drug Abuse website. Available at: Accessed May 15, 2012.

Prescription drugs: abuse and addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Available at: Accessed May 15, 2012.

2/4/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Schinke SP, Fang L, Cole KC. Computer-delivered, parent-involvement intervention to prevent substance use among adolescent girls. Prev Med. 2009;49;429-35.


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