How Can I End a Prescription Drug Habit Safely?

I'm 14 and I have been taking a mix of prescription drugs and I'm finally starting to realize the effects it's starting to take on me. I used to be an A+ student and now I can't even think clearly about anything anymore.

I have been taking antidepressants and painkillers. And I have been drinking to accelerate the effects of it sometimes. I want to stop but I heard that if I stop taking them that I should have supervision in doing so. But I really can't and don't want anyone to know. So I just wanted to know – what's the safe way of stopping without anyone else knowing?

First, it's great that you're taking steps to end your drug habit. It's really important to get help as soon as possible — mixing drugs the way you've been doing can be very dangerous and, as you've seen, interfere with your life.

You're right in thinking that you need supervision from a medical professional to ease off some of the drugs you've been taking. Antidepressants in particular can cause some serious health problems if a person stops taking them suddenly.

This is a situation where you will need to get help from someone who understands the drugs involved and how they might react with each other and your own body. It's not something you can do alone.

Sometimes it can be surprising — and unexpected — how understanding and supportive parents can be. If you really can't confide in a parent, though, you'll need to find a way to see a drug counselor or psychiatrist (as medical doctors, psychiatrists are trained in the use of prescription drugs).

Different states have different laws on the age when teens can get drug treatment without a parent or guardian's involvement. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a locator on its website to help people find treatment centers throughout the country. You can also call their 24-hour treatment hotline at 1-800-662-HELP. Or your school counselor, school nurse, or primary care physician may be able to put you in contact with someone privately and confidentially.

Reviewed by: Krishna Wood White, MD, MPH
Date reviewed: April 2009

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