7 Signs Youre Addicted to Prescription Drugs
The words drug addiction usually make us think of illegal substances or alcohol. However, prescription drug addiction is the fastest growing addiction type in the United States. Over 2 million Americans are addicted to medications originally prescribed by their doctor. The symptoms of prescription drug abuse can be subtle, making it hard to realize you have a problem before the condition becomes serious. Learning the symptoms can help you prevent a health crisis and even save a life.
Dosage Increases: When you take a medication for any length of time, you build up a tolerance to the medicine. After your body gets used to your medicine, it becomes more difficult to notice effects. As a result, you may increase your dosage without your doctor’s consent. Increasing dosage can lead to dangerous side effects and overdose.
Continued Usage: When you continue to use the medication after your health condition has been resolved, you are likely experiencing the results of an addiction. Most prescription medicines are designed to be taken for a short period of time. For example, if you require a refill of pain medication after an injury has healed, you might be addicted to your medicine.
Behavior Changes: Drug use can drastically change attitude. Some common behavioral changes in prescription drug addiction include:
- Irritability, especially when the effects of your medication begin to wear off
- Lack of responsibility, like missing work or school, or skipping daily tasks or appointments
- Changes in friends or activities
- Financial problems
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Angry, abusive, or reckless behavior
Changes in Appearance: Changes in appearance due to drug abuse might be subtle or extreme. Different medicines and doses have different effects. Some of the most common appearance changes related to prescription drug abuse include:
- Weight loss
- Bloodshot eyes
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Shakes or tremors
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Dry or itchy skin
Feeling Strange when Drugs Wear off: Shakiness or nausea are common effects of withdrawal. However, many other symptoms may occur that may seem more like an illness. You may suffer from severe headaches, sweat profusely, or feel overly tired. Lack of appetite is common. More severe symptoms can include confusion, fever, and seizures. If symptoms are relieved when you take more medication, addiction is likely the cause.
Seeking Drugs from Other Places: If your regular doctor discontinued your prescription, you may find a new doctor or obtain the medication illegally. Whether you seek an extra prescription to take more than the recommended dosage or because you have run out of refills, it is a warning sign of addiction. Addicts may also look for medicines in other places like medicine cabinets in homes they are visiting. Getting prescription medicines from somewhere other than a pharmacy can carry added dangers.
You Hide your Drug Use: If you have told your family or friends that you no longer use the medication, you might have an addiction. Additionally, it is common for addicts to become angry when asked about the medicine or avoid people to escape discussing the situation. If you set medication limits for yourself but cannot stick to them, you are likely suffering from addiction.
If you think you are experiencing an addiction to prescription medication, it is important to seek help. We often think medicines prescribed by a doctor are safe to continue taking. However, any medicine not taken by the right guidelines or continued for a long period of time can be dangerous. Tolerance can lead to an overdose which can cause permanent disability or death.