Warning Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs provide a wealth of health benefits to millions of people all over the world, but when they are used improperly, or for extended periods of time that they were not designed for, they can easily become addictive and dangerous. Unfortunately, the overall rates of chemical dependency in the population are increasing due to prescription drugs being more readily available as well as a widespread lack of awareness about potential dangers of addiction.
Reasons for Abuse
Prescription drugs are abused for various psychological and physiological reasons. Many drugs offer a sedating or calming effect, and they can be used to mask more serious mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. If a person feels that they are under immense stress or strain, abusing these powerful, mind-altering drugs may seem like an acceptable decision. Others use the prescriptions recreationally to produce a “high.” A small portion of the population may also use prescription drugs due to peer pressure, desire to reduce one’s appetite, simple curiosity, and a wide range of other personal factors.
When it comes to prescription drug addiction, there are many warning signs that you may be developing a chemical dependency. Some of these signs are more easily recognizable than others, but they can all give you an idea of whether or not you should seek medical treatment for your condition. These signs are biological, social, and psychological in nature, and anyone can fall victim to addiction, regardless of their age, gender, or economic background.
Warning Signs for Stimulants
Stimulants are commonly used to treat psychiatric conditions, in particular Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In terms of abuse, they are highly desired due to their appetite suppressing effects and energy-boosting properties. When used improperly, they can cause extreme hostility and agitation. This increased aggressiveness is one of the hallmark traits of stimulant abuse and is a direct result of the drug’s side-effects. Stimulant abusers are also notorious for being able to go without sleep for days at a time.
Warning Signs for Opiates and Painkillers
Opiates are regularly prescribed to treat severe or chronic pain. Although they perform this function exceptionally well, they do carry a high risk of chemical dependency. Common signs of dependency include decreased blood pressure, anxiety, depressive moods, shortness of breath, and dizziness or disorientation. For many opiate addicts, deciding to quit on one’s own poses its own unique set of health risks. Here are some signs that you may be experiencing opiate withdrawal:
- Involuntary movements
- Muscle or joint pains
If you feel you are developing an addiction, you should consult a physician before attempting to discontinue your prescription on your own.
Warning Signs for Tranquilizers
Another commonly abused group of drugs are sedatives and tranquilizers. These are drugs that are frequently used to reduce levels of anxiety and agitation. They are commonly prescribed by mental health professionals, but may also be used to eliminate the anxiety that accompanies surgical procedures and airplane travel. Here are some signs that you may be developing an addiction to sedatives or tranquilizers:
- Frequent disorientation
- Intoxicated or “high” appearance
- Involuntary bodily movements
- Poor decision-making skills
- Difficulty remembering important information
Universal Warning Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
Although each drug carries its own traits of dependency, there are many universal behaviors to look for. These are not the only drugs that carry a risk of addiction, and many other, less powerful drugs are often abused for psychological reasons. Here are some common, universal signs to look for if you think that you or a loved one may be developing a dependency on prescription drugs.
- Stealing or forging prescriptions
- Using prescriptions at an unusually fast pace
- Frequently “losing” prescriptions
- Crushing or breaking capsules or pills
- Seeking treatment from multiple doctors for the same condition
It should also be noted that in the event of an overdose, you should seek emergency medical attention from Kyle ER or another qualified emergency center.
Seek Professional Help for Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drug dependency is a remarkably common problem, and there is no shame in seeking medical treatment. Attempting to discontinue these prescriptions on your own can be dangerous, but there are many medical resources at your disposal. Addictions can stem from illegal recreational use or legal use, and many patients find themselves addicted by accident. By understanding what to look for, and communicating regularly with your healthcare provider, you greatly reduce your risk of developing an addiction to prescription drugs.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs please get help. Finally, if you experience severe symptoms of withdrawal of overdose, please seek immediate medical help. Kyle ER is here to provide 24/7 quality medical care in a comfortable, state-of-the-art facility with short wait times and understanding, caring staff.