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Prescription Addiction


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Prescription Addiction Information

Prescription drugs are highly regulated for good reason. They can have interactions with other drugs or existing medical conditions, and can also be addictive if not regulared. However, in recent decades Americans have found ways to get around these guidelines to support their addictions to these substances. In fact, deaths resulting from prescription drugs has now surpassed those from car accidents annually.

These kinds of drugs are usually prescribed initially by doctors for specific conditions. Often, users love the effect, so they take more and more, far exceeding the recommended dosages. The desired effects these drugs provide have become well known, and legal prescriptions are often sold illegally on the street. Abusers also get more drugs by visiting multiple doctors for prescriptions and filling them at multiple pharmacies -- this is more commonly known as “doctor shopping.”

Prescription drugs that are commonly abused are pain pills, which you can learn more about in our opiate guide, and Adderall, which you can learn more about in our stimulants guide. Below, you will learn about some additional prescriptions drugs, tranquilizers and sedatives.

These drugs are extremely addictive, and is very difficult for someone who is addicted or abusing them to stop. Usually treatment for addiction is the only road to long-term recovery.

Prescription Medication Addiction Topics Below:
  • Tranquilizers and Sedatives
  • Signs of Abuse
  • “Date Rape Drugs”
  • Physical Impact
  • Withdrawal
  • Treatment

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Peaks Recovery Centers' adult men's program is entirely gender-specific, with gender-separate housing and clinical services. Our structured program developed exclusively for men promotes long-term recovery in an accountable, communal setting.

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Peaks' offers drug and alcohol addiction treatment services for adult women of all ages. Our gender specific program provides the women in our treatment program the opportunity to address issues that affect the female gender differently.

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Peaks' young adult track focuses on issues that affect their age demographic specifically, beginning with a thoughtful clinical setting that promotes an evidenced based drug and alcohol addiction treatment approach.

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Tranquilizers and Sedatives

Tranquilizers and sedatives include benzos, sleeping pills and barbiturates.


Benzos is the common name for benzodiazepines, which are tranquilizers that include Xanax and Valium. They are typically prescribed for anxiety, insomnia and seizures. They have become quite prevalent. For example, Colorado is one of the lowest prescribing states, but studies still show benzos are prescribed to more than 25 in 100 in the state.

The main effect of benzos is sedation. They can also reduce anxiety and relax the muscles. Benzos come in pill or liquid form, and are swallowed or injected.They are also known as downers or tranks.

Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills have been cited as overprescribed and overused. Annual prescriptions total more than layout0 million. These include drugs like Ambien and Lunesta.They are prescribed for both people who have trouble falling asleep and those who trouble staying asleep. They are more heavily prescribed for women than men.


Like benzos and sleeping pills, barbiturates are diagnosed for anxiety, insomnia and seizures. They include drugs like phenobarbital and pentobarbital. Dosage can be difficult to determine, and they are very dangerous, because just a little more than needed can cause overdose.

Barbiturates are typically taken in pill form, but are sometimes injected. There are many types and they have many street names, but a few include yellow jackets, blue devils, purple hearts, and pink ladies.

Signs of Abuse

If your loved one is abusing sedatives, you will likely notice:

Addiction to these drugs can be very dangerous. If the user takes too much or take a second dose too quickly, they may lower their breathing and heart rate to the point of unconsciousness.

If you suspect your loved one is addicted to or abusing benzos, sleeping pills or barbiturates, it’s essential that you seek addiction treatment for them.

“Date Rape Drugs”

Benzos have very similar effects to Rohypnol, “the date rape drug.” This means that if someone is abusing benzos, situations could become very dangerous for them. They generally become so “out of it” they are unable to defend themselves if someone tries to hurt them physically or sexually. Sleeping pills are also sometimes used as rape drugs.

Physical Impact

As with any abused drug, sedatives and tranqulizers cause more drastic effect as time goes on. User of these types of drugs will experience:

Combining these drugs with alcohol can further slow breathing and the heart rate, and can even lead to death. Abusing these types of drugs is extremely dangerous. Overdose from benzos alone has more than quadrupled since 2002.

If you even notice breathing and heart rate slowing to the point of unconsciousness, call 911 immediately.


Withdrawals from sedatives and tranquilizers can be severe and extremely dangerous. Symptoms may include:

If the person has been using these drugs for a long time, they may experience anxiety or irritability that can last for weeks or months.

Withdrawals from these drugs, especially barbiturates, may cause seizures, so it’s critical to seek medical help in going forward with a detox.


Addiction to benzos, sleeping pills or barbiturates are very difficult to break without formalized treatment. For one thing, the symptoms the drugs were used to mask can be much worse when withdrawing for them. For example, if someone is abusing Xanax for anxiety, their mood swings and anxiety will be much worse when coming down off Xanax. If someone is taking Ambien for insomnia, the insomnia when coming off large amounts of Ambien can be almost unbearable. This leads users to go back to the drug, as they feel they can’t make it through the detox.

Here at Peaks Recovery, we can help you set your loved one up with a medical detox. They will then enter our program that includes both group and individual treatment, where they can share their struggles with others who are also fighting the urge to go back to their drug of choice.

Seeking treatment can be daunting, but we are here to help. In addition to resistance from the addict, cost is one of the things that keeps families from seeking addiction treatment. Most people don’t realize we’ll do everything we can to work with your insurance. Click here and we can start working with you to find out how your insurance might be able to help with the costs of treatment.

Contact us today to learn about your new beginning at our beautiful Colorado campus.