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Addiction to Prescription Drugs Can Sneak Up On You

Brian C's Recovery Story


Updated February 09, 2014

Xanax .5 mg

Xanax (alprazolam) is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It is a benzodiazepine that works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

Photo © DEA
Very few people wake up one day and decide to become addicted to drugs. It usually happens slowly and insidiously, to the point that people don't realize they are becoming addicted.

This can be especially true when the drugs are medications prescribed by a doctor. People can inadvertently become addicted while taking medication to relieve pain after an injury or surgery. If they do not take the medication as it was prescribed, they can easily become dependent upon it, as Brian C. discovered.

Brian C's Story

I am a married, 43-year-old father of a beautiful 3-year-old daughter. I have been drinking and using drugs for about 25 years now.

Things for me started to go down hill for me after shoulder surgery in 2004 and neck surgery in 2005 at which time I became addicted to narcotic pain medication along with my alcohol addiction.

To say that my addiction progressed would be a huge understatement.

Chewing Pain Pills

Last year my doctor prescribed me Xanax twice a day to deal with the anxiety that my work was causing. It got to the point the I was chewing up pain meds prior to heavy power lifting in the gym as well as eating the Xanax like Tic-Tacs in the evenings.

This past April, when I realized that simply praying nightly for help wasn't working, I decided to seek professional help in the form of an inpatient treatment program for 28 days. I did not realize that the Xanax withdrawals could be fatal; not to mention the same was true for alcohol.

Rendered Me Powerless

I have been clean now for almost 90 days and feel that the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. When it gets to the point when you honestly don't know if you will wake in the morning, it is time to seek help. I realize now that alcohol and drugs had rendered me powerless and that only God could save me from my addictions.

Now clean, I go to an AA meeting every day of the week and realize now that I am an alcoholic and will be for the rest of my sober life. I am now more connected with my wife and daughter than I ever imagined I could be; for that I am truly blessed.

My name is Brian C. and I am an alcoholic.

Are You Addicted?

Have you become addicted to prescription medication? Answering these 20 questions will help you evaluate whether you should seek treatment for drug abuse. The test is completely confidential and anonymous; your results are not recorded; and are available only to you. You will not be asked for any personal identifying information.

If you decide that you do need help, see "Getting Help for Drug Addiction," to make sure you find the right treatment program for your situation. No single treatment approach is appropriate for all individuals.

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