Prescription Drug Disorder

The Hidden Addiction

Understanding, Pinpointing and Treating Prescription Drug Addiction

Understanding Prescription Drug Disorder

Prescription Drug Disorder is the irregular and illegal use of drugs such as opioids, stimulants, anti-anxiety meds, or depressants.

Prescription drug addiction often starts as prescription drug abuse. Abuse occurs when an individual takes a prescription medication in a manner other than as directed by their doctor or therapist. Prescription drug addiction is a chronic and long-lasting disease that can cause major health, social, and financial problems. Addiction occurs primarily in three categories: opioids, stimulants, and CNS (Central Nervous System) depressants. These types of drugs affect the brain over time and change the way it works. Prescribed to alleviate pain or emotional distress, they can actually make it harder for a person to feel good over time. We are not sure why some people are more likely to become addicted to these drugs than others.

From years of research, we know that substance abuse disorders such as prescription drug addiction are brain disorders that can be treated effectively. Treatment must be specific to the individual and the drug used. At Valley, we are experienced in helping individuals affected by prescription drug addiction. If you or a loved one are in need of help, we hope you will contact us today.

Facts & Figures

Prescription Drug Disorder Averages & Statistics


What Are the Symptoms of Prescription Drug Disorder?

Symptoms vary depending on the category of drug. They may include the following:


Individuals addicted to anti-anxiety or depression meds may exhibit some of the following symptoms: drowsiness, confusion, unsteady walking, slurred speech, inability to concentrate, and slowed breathing.


People suffering from addictions to stimulants often show many of the following symptoms: increased alertness, feeling high, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, agitation, reduced appetite, and insomnia.


Individuals suffering from addiction to opioids often show a range of the following symptoms: nausea, constipation, feelings of euphoria, change in friend groups, avoidance of family and friends in order to be alone, crankiness and nervousness, and rapid mood changes.

Valley Services

How is Valley Treating Prescription Drug Disorder?

Paying regular attention to your mental well-being is good and should be a very normal part of healthy living.  At Valley, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, which is why we take the time to care for each client individually and consider their broader story. Every client that walks through our doors is assessed holistically and cared for in a comprehensive way within a solution-focused approach.

We offer a wide variety of counseling and counseling environments for a wide variety of clients:

Our individual counseling focuses in on each client and their unique story in order to discover the solutions that are right for them. After pairing our clients with the ideal therapist, we take the time to press into the cognitive, behavioral, and motivational aspects of our client’s recovery while also considering dual-diagnosis.

At Valley, we offer FDA approved medication-assisted treatment in Tippecanoe and Montgomery counties. to each of our clients as part of our comprehensive treatment plan. Each medication program is prescribed by a trained clinician within a broad scope of long-term care.

Research shows that counseling within a group setting is just as effective, sometimes even more so, as individual care. At Valley, we are proud to provide robust and interactive care groups led by trained clinicians. These empowering spaces have proven to be an invaluable resource for learning coping skills, feeling acceptance, and avoiding social isolation.

While every client needs to be individually motivated in their treatment, one of the largest factors in successful care is a solid support system. Our family and couples counseling partners with immediate family, primary caregivers, adopted families, and support systems to get everyone on the same page in caring for their loved ones.

Complementary & Alternative Treatments

Integrating Alternative Medicine and Activity

Incorporating complementary or alternative medicine is often referred to as an integrated approach and works best when used alongside professional treatment. Don’t replace conventional medical treatment or psychotherapy with alternative medicine.

With that said, here are some things proven to be helpful when dealing with Prescription Drug Disorder:

Dietary Supplements

We know that substance abuse of any kind can affect the body’s nutrition and alter neurochemistry. Dietary supplements and nutritional strategies can support medically supervised recovery.

GABA: Believed to slow down the firing of neurons in the brain this amino acid can help people feel more calm and relaxed.

Protein powders: Protein can help repair damaged tissue and organs. Protein powder can be used when diet alone isn’t enough.

Calcium & magnesium: Can help with twitches and muscular discomfort that occur during withdrawal.

B Vitamins: Support healthy nerves, hormones, synthesis of neurotransmitters, and help reduce anxiety and depression.

Omega-3: When Omega-3 levels are low dopamine is depleted from the brain.  Dopamine is an essential element in feelings of pleasure such as getting high. When dopamine levels are low, a person with an addiction is more likely to seek more and more drugs to maintain the feeling of being high.

Probiotics: Helpful in restoring healthy gut flora, which aids in the absorption of nutrients and helps the brain recover from addiction more quickly.


Exercise is generally classified as aerobic (running or walking), resistance (weight training), or mindfulness-based (yoga or tai chi). Exercise is known to improve cognitive mechanisms due to a diversion from negative thinking, social contact, and feelings of control over one’s health. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or another activity that you enjoy.  

Calming Techniques

Meditation & Yoga: There is not enough evidence to draw firm conclusions about the efficacy of meditation for Addiction. However, short-term aerobic exercise, including yoga, has shown beneficial effects on a person’s overall sense of well being.


Videos & Podcasts

Knowledgeable Insights from Around the Web


Top 10 Facts About Prescription Drug Abuse in America

09:26 Min

Prescription Drug Abuse: A Public Health Epidemic

01:00 Min

Prescription Drug Abuse Short Documentary

08:16 Min

60 Seconds of Health PSA: Prescription Drug Abuse

01:00 Min

This Is NIDA: Opioids

01:02 Min

Know The Signs of Drug Abuse

00:30 Min

Why Are Drugs So Hard to Quit?

02:03 Min

Investigating Drug Abuse: Brain Imaging

01:50 Min

Page Turners

Great Resources on Prescription Drug Disorder

Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction: A Guide to Coping and Understanding (Addicus Nonfiction Books)

By Rod Colvin

The PDR Family Guide to Prescription Drugs

By Medical Economics Company

The Prescription Drug Problem: A New American Crisis?

By Ryan D. Schroeder, Jason A. Ford, George E. Higgins

Prescription Drug Abuse: The Ultimate Cure to Guide for How to Overcome A Prescription Drug Addiction

By Caesar Lincoln

The Essential Addiction Recovery Companion: A Guidebook for the Mind, Body, and Soul

By Richard A. Singer Jr.

Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It's So Hard to Stop

By Anna Lembke

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

By Beth Macy

Prescription Drug Abuse (Health and Medical Issues Today)

By Howard L. Forman MD & Robert L. Bryant

Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary Way of Understanding Addiction

By Maia Szalavitz

Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery

By Erica Spiegelman

Research and Resources

Great Articles & Resources on Prescription Drug Disorder

Diet, Exercise
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How can prescription drug addiction be treated?

Years of research have shown that substance use disorders are brain disorders that can be treated effectively. Treatment must take into account the type of drug used and the needs of the individual. Successful treatment may need to incorporate several components, including detoxification, counseling, and medications, when available. Multiple courses of treatment may be needed …

7 Ways Creativity Supports Addiction Recovery

Creativity can play an important role in addiction recovery. A novelist in recovery said he believed drinking made him a better writer. He followed in the footsteps of literary heroes who drank too much and justified their habit by saying alcohol or other drugs helped them tap into their creative genius. It had the opposite effect. He …

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