Josh Chandler | July 17, 2017

The Most Addictive Prescription Drugs Available

Prescription drugs have ushered in a new era of drug addiction. Discover the 5 most addictive prescription drugs on the market today.

At one point in our lives, we will need to seek medical treatment to feel better.

Whether it’s taking a pain reliever after your dentist extracts your wisdom teeth or managing your anxiety with a prescription benzodiazepine, there are countless ways that prescription medications can easily enter your life.

The mistreatment of prescription medication is on the rise.

Statistics show that over 15 million people misuse prescription drugs. Over 70% of people are able to obtain their drugs from their family members or even from friends.  People seem to believe that prescription drugs are safer than street drugs, but that is not the case. Recreational use of prescription medicine continues to be a dangerous and risky problem in America today.

Unfortunately, there are five commonly abused and addictive prescription drugs that are prescribed by health professionals.

These are the top five addictive prescription drugs:

1. Xanax

One of the five most addictive prescription drugs is Xanax. This drug is prescribed to treat panic disorders and patients who suffer from severe anxiety. Xanax is designed to help a user feel relaxed and sedated. This drug works to calm a person’s central nervous system so they immediately feel at peace.

Xanax is known to have a potential for dependence, as many patients who are prescribed this medication take it for a long time. People who take Xanax for a long time build up a tolerance to the drug and require more to feel the same reaction.

Xanax also has a rapid onset and the effects can be felt within as little as one hour.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for their addiction to Xanax, the Muse Treatment Center offers a treatment program for drug addiction.


There are more addictive prescription drugs available on the market that can be misused. Another one is Valium.

Just like with consuming Xanax, Valium is prescribed to give users a sedative sense of relaxation. This benzodiazepine can create “highs” that makes users feel as if they were drunk. Unfortunately, this specific drug can also become habit-forming when taken repeatedly to feel the high sensation.

3. Oxycodone

The opioid epidemic is an ongoing public health issue in the U.S. that needs to be addressed. More than 28,000 people have overdosed from opioids, according to the CDC in 2014.

An opioid is taken by patients who desire pain management. The medication is effective at decreasing a number of pain signals that your body will send to your brain. Oxycodone is used to ease the pain that develops from an injury.

Xanax is the most widely used benzodiazepine and Oxycodone is the most widely used opioid in America. Oxycodone is the most misused opioid because of its addictive powers.

The extreme side effects of taking Oxycodone that need to be discussed with your doctor if you experience them will include:

  1. Itching or hives, which mean an allergic reaction is happening
  2. Tingling in the mouth or throat
  3. Chest tightness
  4. Anxiety, restlessness
  5. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  6. Severe stomach pain
  7. Sweating
  8. Slow heart rate
  9. Trouble breathing or shortness of breath.
  10. Nausea
  11. Vomiting
  12. Tiredness

A lot of doctors will use opioids to help relieve tooth pain. When prescribed by a doctor, opioids can relieve your pain, but they can also lead to severe consequences, such as addiction and dependence if misused. The euphoria that Oxycodone produces is something that addicts crave.

Although an addiction can become extremely dangerous to one’s well-being, there are medications and treatment programs that are set in place to help you through an opioid addiction.

4. Ritalin

This addictive drug is used to treat patients with ADHD. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This drug is also known as methylphenidate and is a central nervous system stimulant. The Food And Drug Administration has approved methylphenidate to treat ADHD.

This drug is used to decrease the restlessness that patients who have ADHD experience on a regular basis. The stimulant helps increase brain activity. Levels of dopamine are boosted when this drug enters the patient’s body to improve alertness.

When children use prescription drugs such as Ritalin to treat their symptoms of ADHD, they are more likely to focus on schoolwork at hand. Children who take Ritalin will also have longer attention spans and are less distracted.

As with the other addictive prescription drugs that have been discussed before, Ritalin is another drug that can become misused because it is so readily available. The positive benefits to Ritalin do exist. These benefits include treating patients with ADHD to help them focus and become more alert in school.

5. The Last of the Addictive Prescription Drugs, Vicodin

One final example of an addictive prescription drug is known as Vicodin.

Vicodin is also an opioid like Oxycodone where it will provide a user with pain relief. The pain signals that your body sends to your brain are lowered. Vicodin will change how you feel once the drug enters your body, and it does not actually help with the pain.

This powerful painkiller alters the user’s awareness of the pain. This euphoric feeling is often why so many people choose Vicodin as a painkiller. An addiction to this painkiller is not uncommon because it affects the brain’s reward system. The more Vicodin that your body takes in, the more your body will connect the drug to the dopamine reward pathway.

The more Vicodin that your body takes in, the more your body will connect the drug to the dopamine reward pathway. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for controlling this pathway.

Once a patient feeds into his drug addiction, the feeling of pleasure is satisfied in the dopamine reward center. Just like with eating food, these addictive drugs can produce high levels of dopamine.

Conclusion: There Are Addictive Prescription Drugs Out There, But You Can Fight Your Addiction

Prescription medications are excellent at treating your physical pain, mental stability, and ADHD.

However, there are downsides to these addictive prescription drugs once they become misused.

The withdrawal symptoms that all of these five drugs can induce are harsh to experience. Patients who become addicted to them are at risk for life-threatening consequences if they do not seek treatment.

If you or a loved one is suffering from prescription drug dependence, get in touch and let’s help you overcome it.

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Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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