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Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse - Midwood Addiction Treatment

When it comes to prescription drug use there can be many different signs. They can also present differently in each individual depending on the type of addiction, the age of the person, and the person’s medical history as well. There are some warning signs to look out for in yourself and even in a loved one. Those signs may include:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in breathing patterns
  • Impulsivity
  • Mood swings
  • High blood pressure
  • Slurred or slowed-down speech
  • Shifts in sleeping habits (i.e., sleeping too much or too little)
  • Lack of hand-eye coordination
  • Neurological symptoms like confusion, dizziness, and/or memory lapses
  • An increase in depression or anxiety

When it comes to substance use disorder (SUD) behavioral changes often occur. Behavioral symptoms of misuse of prescription drugs could possibly look like:

  • Changing doctors frequently or going to more than one doctor that prescribes these drugs
  • Needing prescription refills too early or too much
  • Getting prescriptions illegally (ex. forging them, stealing, etc.)
  • Using more medication than you were prescribed

If there are any symptoms or signs that are listed on this page that you recognize, it is highly recommended for you to call a healthcare professional today. It is also highly recommended for you to consider seeking treatment immediately.

When Might Misuse of Prescription Drugs Occur?

It’s a fact that anyone can misuse and become addicted to prescription drugs. Although research has shown that certain people might be more susceptible than others when it comes to misuse as well as addiction. 

Commonly Abused Drugs

The three main categories of prescription drug addiction are:

  • Antidepressants and Anxiety
  • Stimulants
  • Opioids

These are fairly broad, although, the drugs that are abused most often in each of these categories are:

  • Sleep medications like Xanax, Ativan, Ambien, Klonopin, and others
  • Uppers/stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine
  • Painkillers that have codeine, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, etc. in them

Many people are able to take these medications without developing an addiction to them, even though they are aware that these medications do lead to a higher chance of abuse or addiction. If you happen to be prescribed one of these medications, be sure to check with your doctor to understand all the risks. Also, it’s very important to understand if you suffer from substance use disorder (SUD) and you require medication for other health conditions or concerns, you should talk to your healthcare team about your options. Options that will help your other health conditions and also help keep your addiction under control.

Addiction and Medication Label Issues

People who are unable to read or see the labels on medication bottles are the ones who often end up with an addiction to prescription medication. People who have vision impairments, those who speak a different language, or are unable to understand certain terminology used on labels are all at risk. 

When people can’t properly read labels on prescription bottles for any of these reasons, they are unable to follow instructions. The print on these labels can often be incredibly small as well, which makes it more challenging for people to read the dosage information too. It also makes it hard to read all the risks associated and involved with taking the drug.

With all these circumstances people can take too many pills or take too many. Which really means they are taking the prescription medication outside of the label’s direction. As a result , if the person is unable to read the label, they can’t be correctly informed that those prescriptions they are taking have addictive risks altogether. 

It’s very important to talk about impairments that could interfere with a person’s ability to read or comprehend the medications they are talking about. Always be sure to talk to your pharmacist and ask to hear the accessibility notice. These notices will give you important information on your legal rights to be able to access medication information as well as other details that deal directly with your health.

prescription drug abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse in Chronic Pain

People who experience chronic pain will often be exposed to more addictive painkillers that are prescribed. These people are in a situation where they are seeking relief from a painful condition where there isn’t a cure. Pain doctors often look to opioids and other prescription drugs to give them relief from their symptoms. However, this is when prescription drug abuse often occurs for certain people. 

Unfortunately, some healthcare professionals don’t consider someone’s past medical mental health history when prescribing these drugs. As a result, it can lead to an increased chance of addiction. However, people can still misuse prescription medicine to alleviate their chronic pain and as a result can lead to an addiction.

In some cases, people who use prescription medication to treat pain can become addicted unintentionally even if they follow the doctor’s recommendations. Sometimes many people are not aware they have a predisposition to prescription drug abuse and addiction.

Co-Occurring Disorders

When mental health conditions are coupled with addiction it is called a co-occurring disorder. It often goes undiagnosed or untreated, unfortunately. Though just like people who experience chronic pain, those who deal with mental illness are often at risk for misuse of prescription drugs. 

The tendency of prescription drug abuse often comes from a place of hurt and pain. People will self-medicate as a way to help lessen the harsh symptoms of their mental illness. 

The Long-Term Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

There are long-term serious effects when living with addiction to drugs, alcohol, or prescription drug abuse. The severity of the daily struggles can depend on the type of drug, the dosage, and the length of time a person has been using it. 

Many people who abuse prescription drugs for longer periods of time, so end up developing a tolerance to side effects. This ultimately can be dangerous as well as potentially fatal for a person, being that they no longer are able to recognize the dangerous physiological response to the medication at all.

While these medications help ease pain and address other health conditions, they do significantly change your body’s usual way of functioning. It depends on which prescription drudge is being used or misused, but your body may have one or more of the responses that can be temporary or permanent in its responses:

  • Drastic changes in mood or behavior
  • Depression and suicidal ideation
  • An increased heart rate and other cardiovascular issues
  • Permanent damage to vital organs, including lungs, kidneys, and liver
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Mental illness symptoms (ex. Increase in anxiety or hallucinations)

It can be life-altering when you consider the effects of prescription drug abuse and how it can affect you. This is why there are many treatment approaches out there to help better a person’s overall success in helping them overcome addiction.

Getting Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, even prescription addiction, know you are not alone. You are one in literally millions who are struggling. 

Recovery is possible, here at Midwood Addiction Treatment we know how to lend the help needed for recovery. We work hard to help provide the top care for our patients. Understanding that taking the first step is often the hardest. 
We are here to help. To learn more about what Midwood Addiction Treatment has to offer for your recovery, please contact us today!