The rapid climb of prescription drug abuse across the US has taken many communities, families and individuals by surprise. This devastating epidemic is a unique problem compared to street drug addiction. Despite their many similarities, a pill addict can seemingly hide his/her problem for a longer period of time—making the situation potentially more deadly.
Is Someone You Know Abusing Prescriptions?
Being able to spot signs that someone is abusing prescriptions is vital, since spotting an addictive situation early on can mean life or death. Some of the most common indications specific to pill abuse are as follows.
1. Drastic physical or physiological changes.
Prescription pharmaceuticals are specifically designed to treat disease symptoms for a definite time period. Once mixed with other drugs/alcohol or taken too much or for too long, physical reactions will begin to show, such as: bloodshot eyes, extreme or rapid weight loss, abnormal bodily smells, a general “worn out” look, etc. A prescription addict might also be constantly tired, lethargic or appear unmotivated.
2. Interruptions in sleep patterns.
Spotting someone who hasn’t slept isn’t hard to do—look for signs of an interrupted sleep pattern (haggard appearance, dark under eye circles, slow movements or decreased reaction time.) Many prescriptions contain stimulant drugs which can completely alter a sleep schedule.
3. Abnormal mental or psychological behavior.
Nearly every prescription drug possesses a laundry list of side effects and non-optimum mental phenomena that can occur as a result of consumption. Inappropriate emotional outbursts of anger, intense mood swings, anxiety, depression, hallucinations and general personality shifts could all be signs someone is abusing prescriptions.
4. The individual is defensive or hides their pill use.
One of the most clear-cut signs of an abusive/addictive situation is the phenomenon of hiding one’s actions—generally speaking, if one feels he has to hide something from his family/friends, there is probably something wrong. If you discover a loved one is hiding prescriptions or lying about taking them, look deeper for what is really going on.
5. The individual complains of pain in the absence of pills.
As with most drugs and chemical substances, the body builds up a tolerance and dependency to prescriptions. Where a person has developed a prescription habit, withdrawal symptoms commonly do manifest in the absence of pills like opiate pain drugs (such as Oxycontin, Vicodin or Hydrocodone). Some of these withdrawal symptoms might include headaches, nausea, body aches, back pain, vomiting/diarrhea, etc.
Understanding Prescription Pill Addiction
The most popularly abused prescriptions today range from anti-anxiety (depressant) medications like Xanax and Valium, to stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. Opiate pain meds such as Oxycodone and Morphine also remain one of the more popular drug categories for abuse.
Prescription addiction tends to develop insidiously and, due to its expensive nature, usually drives abusers to cheaper street drug alternatives. For this reason, among many others, time is of the essence when dealing with a prescription pill addiction. Act quickly for yourself or your loved one who struggles, before the situation becomes fatal.
Does Addiction Run in the Family?
The seemingly sporadic, unselective nature of addiction leads many experts to believe that addiction does not run in the family. There is some early-stage research claiming genetics and DNA are the culprits, but drug counselors observe the real cause of addiction every day.
Whether one becomes hooked on pills after an injury, or starts abusing cocaine—drug use has one common denominator: unwanted feelings. We have found this again and again through Narconon.
Through a series of negative decisions, addiction develops rapidly and takes hold both physically and mentally. The condition itself can be tough to beat, but thousands accomplish success in treatment every year.
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