Prescription drugs are vital for helping people address chronic pain and other health conditions that impact their quality of life. While prescription painkillers can be beneficial for people who need them the most, they have also led to a growing problem reaching epidemic levels in many parts of the world. Recognizing the early warning signs of prescription drug addiction is critical for helping you or your loved one get help and regain control over your life.
Know the Behavioral Signs of a Prescription Drug Addict
Drug addiction symptoms often first show up as changes in a person’s behavior. At first, you might just notice pill addict symptoms caused by them being heavily under the influence of drugs. Someone taking too many prescription painkillers may appear lethargic and be slow to respond to questions. They may also find it hard to concentrate or stay focused on tasks at work or school.
As the signs of pill abuse increase, you may notice that they experience changes in their personality that you haven’t seen in the past. They may seem irrationally irritable or lash out in response to seemingly mild conflicts. If someone with drug addiction can’t get more of their pills before the effects of their last dose wear off, they may seem agitated, anxious, or even depressed.
Check for the Physical Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction
Many prescription pills can cause drowsiness or lethargy, but this shouldn’t be so extreme that a person can’t function for most of the day. You might also recognize other physical signs of a prescription drug addict in yourself or a loved one. Many prescription opiates slow down digestion and can lead to dehydration and constipation. This type of drug can also cause someone to lose their coordination, and they might experience more frequent injuries from accidents that they can’t explain.
An addiction to prescription stimulants can lead to other pill addict symptoms. With stimulants, a person might have excessive energy and stay up through the night. They might also act impulsive and make reckless decisions. Weight loss is another physical sign that you might see with stimulant pill addiction due to this type of drug’s effects on suppressing a person’s appetite.
Worry That Misusing a Prescription Could be Signs of Pill Addiction
The majority of ethical physicians only prescribe habit-forming medications in amounts that should ease the symptoms of a health condition without disrupting the patient’s quality of life. However, drug abuse occurs when someone starts using the prescription in ways that it wasn’t prescribed. Running out of drugs before it’s time to refill the medication is one of the most common signs of drug addiction. This is a clue that the person might be taking more pills than they should to address their health condition.
If confronted, the person may claim that they lost or dropped multiple pills. Lying about their pill use is another common sign of prescription drug abuse. Depending upon the person’s habits, you might also notice them using other substances to increase the effects of the pills. Mixing alcohol with prescription pain killers is one of the more dangerous signs of pill addiction because it can lead to an overdose.
Watch for Doctor Shopping as One of the Major Signs of Pill Abuse
Doctors must follow established standards and laws that apply to prescriptions for painkillers and stimulants to prevent drug abuse. If someone with a drug addiction runs out of their medication, they may engage in a behavior called doctor shopping. Going to multiple dentists and doctors to secure a new prescription is drug-seeking behavior.
If the person is unsuccessful, they may try to borrow or steal pills from someone else to satisfy their prescription pill addiction. Some people also resort to using street drugs of either the same type or ones that provide similar effects that they’re trying to achieve due to their prescription drug addiction.
Recognize That Overdoses Are Signs of Drug Addiction
Out of all drug addiction symptoms, overdoses are the most severe. If you’re fortunate, you might be able to catch a drug overdose before it leads to the worst consequences. Someone who uses prescription pills and becomes unresponsive or has signs of cardiac or respiratory arrest needs immediate medical attention.
If you have a loved one who you suspect is misusing prescription opioids, keeping naloxone, or Narcan, on hand can help you potentially save their lives. At the same time, you wait for emergency responders to arrive. After the main threat has passed, you’ll want to help them get addiction treatment so that they don’t face this life-threatening symptom of drug abuse again.
At Music City Interventions, families and their loved ones affected by prescription pill addiction can find confidential, caring, and professional intervention services. We set our goals for alcohol and addiction treatment high by ensuring that we practice discretion and the best methods for helping our clients receive loving support as they work through their recovery.