About Prescription Drug Addiction
The two most commonly abused prescription drugs are benzodiazepines and analgesics.
Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to relieve stress, anxiety and to help people sleep, with analgesics medications used to relieve the symptoms of pain. These legal drugs can be taken orally by tablet, capsule or liquid, and can be injected intravenously, even if not prescribed in this manner.
Even though the drug may be prescribed by a doctor and is legal it does not mean there are no consequences and addiction will not occur. Someone is addicted to prescription medication when they lose the ability to control their prescription usage. They will feel an uncontrollable urge to use, and they have incredible difficulty stopping themselves from using the prescription medication. They will also be likely to be using much more than the prescribed dose as their body builds up a tolerance to the drug. Over time as the tolerance increases they must increase their dosage to feel the same effects.
Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
There are certain signs you can look for that will help you identify a case of a prescription drug addict. We have divided them into two categories: those to look for in yourself and those to look for in a loved one.
Signs you should seek prescription drug addiction treatment:
- Thoughts of prescription medication consume a good portion of your day
- You find yourself looking for new ways of procuring prescription pills (stealing, forging or selling prescriptions)
- You frequently worry you won’t have access to prescription pills during your day
- Prescription medication is affecting your job, finances or relationship
- You get upset when others question you about your prescription medication use
- You are willing to go to great lengths to get prescription medication
- You must regularly increase your prescription pill intake to achieve the same feeling.
- You find yourself concealing prescription medication or your use
Signs your loved one should seek prescription drug addiction treatment:
- Unreasonable sensitivity when the topic of prescription medication is discussed
- Pills/tablets around the house
- Unexplained withdrawal from family relationships
- Increased isolation and episodes of social withdrawal
- Lack of concern for employment
- Unexplained financial problems
- Unexplained mood swings
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- ‘Doctor Shopping’ behaviours
Any combination of signs or symptoms that suggest a potential prescription medication addiction should not be ignored. As already mentioned, even a minor prescription medication misuse problem can quickly become an addiction if left untreated. The good news is that proper treatment is very effective at helping prescription addicts completely recover. Success is achieved through a combination of physical, emotional, social and psychological treatments that address every aspect of addiction.
If you regularly use prescription drugs, your body needs to learn to work without the drug which causes withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are the various physical and psychological effects of detox and can occur after reducing or stopping prescription drug use.
Minor Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Sweating and tremors
- Aches and pains
- Restless sleep and nightmares
- Mood swings
Severe Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
- Life threatening seizures
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