Prescription Drugs

One of the fastest growing trends in drug addiction, addiction to prescription drugs continues to be a problem throughout North America. The three most commonly abused groups of prescription drugs include prescription opioids (OxyContin, Vicodin, Dilaudid,), central nervous system (CNS) depressants (barbiturates and benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, Librium, Mebaral and Halcion) and prescription stimulants (Ritalin).

Withdrawal Symptoms

Because the withdrawal symptoms of many prescription drug addictions are similar to their illegal counterparts, the type of symptoms depends on which group of drug is being abused.

Prescription opioids:

  • cold shakes
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • insomnia
  • bone pains

CNS depressants:

  • confusion, racing thoughts
  • severe depression
  • seizures
  • possible death

Because of its potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms, withdrawal from barbiturates must be supervised by a medical doctor.

Prescription stimulants:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramps
  • exhaustion


The first stage of any withdrawal process involves a period of detoxification in order to wean the addict off of his or her drug dependency. Depending on which drug is being abused, medical supervision may be required at this stage. Following detox, various approaches may be used, including pharmaceutical medications, behavioral therapies, cognitive-behavioral therapies, support groups and individual counseling.