My brother - Monty - works at at medical detox facility called Novus LLC, which deals with people mainly addicted to prescription drugs. He is a very busy guy and works directly with drug addicts. I asked him if he would do a email interview and here is the first part of that interview:
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I work at a medical detox facility in New Port Richey FL, It is called Novus LLC. http://www.novusdetox.com/
Q: Do you run across psychiatric drug addicts in your line of work?
A: Yes, absolutely! I see them all them time. I would say that the (drug) most widely prescribed and addicted to would be the Benzodiazepine Xanax.
Q: Which psychiatric drugs would you say are addictive?
A: Hmm... That is a good question, I would first like to give you a good explanation of what being addicted would be:
A person who is physically dependent on a drug is not necessarily addicted.
Addiction is the continued use of a drug because of the way that one feels after taking the drug—often described as a type of euphoria feeling or a "mellow" feeling or sometimes, in the case of many drugs, to not feel a certain way.
The more one is addicted, the more one's use of the drug becomes compulsive despite negative consequences which can be severe. Addicted people will often lie, doctor shop, sell and buy drugs on the street, deny drug use if asked and, in short, do things that they would never do otherwise.
If the addicted person stops or reduces their use of a drug, in almost every case the addicted person will experience withdrawal symptoms associated with the drug.
Having stated this I would say that the Benzo's are addictive and let me explain what these are: Benzodiazepines ("Benzos") are drugs that were first marketed in the 1960's for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, seizures, convulsions and as muscle relaxants. Today these drugs account for about one out of every five prescriptions for controlled substances. Benzos like ProSom, Dalmane, Doral, Restoril and Halcion are often prescribed for insomnia. Klonopin is often prescribed for the treatment of seizure disorders. Ativan, Centrax, Librium, Paxipam, Serax, Valium, and Xanax are often prescribed for the treatment of anxiety.
Q: What kind of withdrawal symptoms could one expect to encounter if they are trying to get off psychiatric drugs? I know the answer varies with the drug, but can you give me a general idea?
A: As you stated that this can widely vary but you can have anything from being nervous to having a Grand Mal Seizure. I know that if not weened off these in the correct medical environment you can die from withdrawals of Xanax.
Thanks Monty, for this informative look at prescription drug addiction! I look forward to talking with my big brother more about the prescription psychiatric drugs he has run into in his employment with Novus.