Prescription Medication: From Hollywood to Hillbrow

Like alcohol, prescription medication is standard in our lives.

It is the ‘norm.’ We don’t raise an eye when we see someone chug down medication – as long as it comes in a nice prescription bottle. Doctors’ orders you know.

Society hands out prescription meds like sweets. You are tired? Have a Stillnox. You are struggling to concentrate? Have Ritalin. You are stressed? Try a Lexitan, Adderall or Valium. Or all three! The list goes on.

prescription medication at Johannesburg Rehabilitation and addiction centre Gauteng Due to the normalcy surrounding these pills, this kind of addiction is probably the least recognised or acknowledged of the chemical dependencies. It is the addiction of housewives, Hollywood stars, and bored students. Prescription medication addiction is dangerous and prevalent in society, something that should be understood not ignored.

What are the signs or symptoms of prescription drug abuse?

Prescription medication either works by promoting chemical reactions in the brain – or suppressing chemical reactions.



The three classes of prescription medication that are most susceptible to abuse are


Did someone say Ritalin? Stimulants are mostly prescribed to assist those with some sort of hyperactivity disorder. This is also popular among students, helping them study throughout the nights. This drug is given to kids often and is often referred to as “Kiddie Cocaine.” And for good reason. It has just about the same effects – it’s just ‘legal.’

Symptoms of Stimulants Abuse:

• Severe irritability or agitation
• Irregular heartbeat
• High blood pressure
• Elevated body temperatures
• Seizures
• Cardiovascular failure
• Rising Hostility
• Paranoia
• Insomnia for days at a time
• Unexplained weight loss


Codeine hides in numerous prescription medication. Calming the user down, encouraging sleepiness, and a sense of overwhelming tranquillity. Opiates are prescribed for chronic pain – think morphine. And then think heroin. Yes, heroin.

Symptoms of Opiate Abuse:

Opiate painkillers are prescribed millions of times per year for legal purposes. Some opiate abusers continue using opiates following a legal prescription for a medical condition, while others seek out painkillers either for medical or psychiatric relief. Common symptoms of the abuse of prescription painkillers may include:

• Disorientation
• Confusion
• Constipation
• Shortness of breath
• Depression
• Rapid decrease in blood pressure

Abuse of opiates or painkillers may be distinguishable by withdrawal symptoms experienced when attempting to stop using. These symptoms show potential for serious medical complications and should be taken very seriously:

• Cold flashes
• Involuntary leg movements
• Restlessness
• Sharp bone and muscle pains
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Cardiac arrest
• Seizures


I used to adore my tranquilizers. Especially when I was in high school. The scary thing is how easy they were and still are to get. My mother used to hand them out like popsicles. I thought it was normal to take a pill before a maths exam. Tranquilizers are prescribed to treat anxiety – something we are all easily diagnosed with. Thus we think it is ok to drink down some calming pills throughout the day.

Symptoms of Tranquillizer Abuse:

A person abusing sedatives usually isn’t aware of how it impacts their appearance or behavior. The most visible symptoms of sedative abuse include:

• Drowsy and Woozy appearance
• Confusion about time and surroundings
• Unsteady mannerism and movements
• Involuntary gestures, movements or tics
• Rapid and involuntary eye movement
• Poor decision-making
• Memory loss or difficulty with memory

Am I a Prescription Pill Addict: Drug Seeking Behaviour?

Drug-seeking behaviours are warning signs of prescription drug abuse. These addict-like behaviours include:

• Recurrent requests for refills from Doctors
• Losing prescriptions and requesting emergency replacements regularly
• Crushing pills
• Stealing or borrowing prescription medications from family members, friends, or co-workers
• Consuming prescriptions much faster than stated by the prescription
• Visiting a variety of doctors for similar medical conditions
• Inconsistent answers to questions about prescription usage
• Stealing or forging prescriptions
• Consumption of over-the-counter drugs for the same conditions that a doctor has prescribed other medication
• Ordering prescription medications over the internet

For profession advice on treatment options call Houghton House now 011 787 9142 

For more information on how to help yourself or a loved one with alcohol, drugs or any other addiction issue and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.Loving an addict, Loving an addict, Best Addiction Rehabilitation in South Africa, Best Addiction Rehabilitation in South Africa

Open chat
How Can We Help You?
Hello! How can we help you ?