When someone uses medications to experience the side effects rather than for the drug’s primary function, he or she might be abusing the substance. Alternately, he or she may take pills from someone else’s prescription bottle. Would you know how to recognize the signs of prescription drug abuse?
The Illicit Use of Prescription Drugs is on the Rise
The experts at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimate that more than 15 million people, some as young as 12 years of age, abuse medications. Because painkiller prescriptions are easy to obtain legally, there’s no shortage of these substances’ availability. Prescriptions are the third most abused drugs in the country, right behind alcohol and marijuana. In some cases, misusing prescription pills is a gateway to heroin addiction.
What Makes it Difficult to Pinpoint Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?
There are three common types of prescription drugs that factor into the abuse problem. Because the side effects of each type of drug is different, it can be hard to notice signs of addiction. This issue applies in particular to loved ones who are looking for one set of symptoms that may not pertain to the drug a family member abuses. The following are symptoms of the three most common categories:
- Stimulants. The abuse of stimulants can lead to insomnia, increases in blood pressure, feelings of anxiety, and weight loss.
- Opioid painkillers. Look for states of drowsiness, unexplained feelings of euphoria, and constipation problems.
- Sedatives. Primary signs of sedative abuse include slurred speech, incoherent thoughts, and stumbling when walking.
Unless you know what prescription drug someone is abusing, you may need to look for secondary signs of abuse.
3 Telltale Behaviors Associated with the Abuse of Medications
Think of this set of secondary symptoms as important behavior markers. Someone you love may be excellent at hiding the prescription drug abuse itself, but there are some traits common to those struggling with medicine dependence.
- Running out of medications too soon. If you’re involved with filling prescriptions for a loved one, you may notice that a 30-day supply doesn’t last a full month. Your friend or family member may ask you to refill the drug after a week or two.
- Visiting multiple doctors. Someone struggling with a prescription drug problem will see multiple doctors to receive several orders. They may use made up names and embellish medical conditions to receive the medications.
- Claims of lost or missing prescriptions. When working with only one doctor, someone may argue that he or she lost an order or that someone stole a purse with the prescription in it. The goal in this case is to have the doctor call in another prescription to one pharmacy while the person struggling with the drug abuse problem visits another with the written document.
Finding Professional Help for a Loved One or Yourself
You don’t have to continue the vicious cycle of drug-seeking behavior. If you see the signs of prescription drug abuse in a loved one, empower the person to get help rather than suffer. Call the experts at Crestview Recovery today at 866.262.0531. Get on the road to recovery now!