Prescription pill addiction has become so common in the United States that it has been labeled an epidemic. Thousands of Americans rely on prescription painkillers for the relief of pain, discomfort from ailments such as headaches, menstrual cramps, surgery recovery, or lingering pain from an injury. Unfortunately for many people, reliance on prescription pills can easily and unknowingly turn into a physical dependence.
The most commonly abused prescription pills are:
- Opioids, such as oxycodone (Oxycontin) and those containing hydrocodone (Vicodin), used to treat pain.
- Anti-anxiety medications and sedatives, such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium), and hypnotics, such as zolpidem (Ambien), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
- Stimulants, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), used to treat ADHD and certain sleep disorders
The scary fact about prescription pills is that the most commonly prescribed drugs including OxyContin, Vicodin, Methadone, Darvocet, Lortab and Percocet, Adderall, Ritalin, and Valium, while they do offer relief from pain and other ailments, can also cause individuals to become physically dependent on the drugs to feel normal. Eventually this physical dependence on prescription pills can lead them down a dark road into prescription pill addiction. On a side note, there are some people who begin taking prescription pills recreationally and find themselves in the same boat.
Here are 5 signs of prescription pill addiction:
Usage Increase – Over time, it is common for individuals taking prescription medications to grow tolerant to the effects of their prescribed dose. If someone you know seems to be increasing his/her dose over time, this is an indication that the amount they were taking is no longer providing them relief.
Change in Daily Habits and Appearance – Personal hygiene may diminish as a result of a drug addiction. Sleeping and eating habits change, and a person may have a constant cough, runny nose and red, glazed eyes.
Blackouts and Forgetfulness – Another clear indication of dependence is when the person regularly forgets events that have taken place and appears to be suffering blackouts.
Defensiveness – When attempting to hide a drug dependency, abusers can become very defensive if they feel their secret is being discovered. They might even react to simple requests or questions by lashing out.
Time Spent on Obtaining Prescriptions – A dependent person will spend large amounts of time driving great distances and visiting multiple doctors to obtain the drugs. Watch for signs that he or she seems preoccupied with a quest for medication, demonstrating that the drug has become their top priority.
Other signs of prescription pill addiction are:
- Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions
- Taking higher doses than prescribed
- Excessive mood swings or hostility
- Increase or decrease in sleep
- Poor decision making
- Appearing to be high, unusually energetic or revved up, or sedated
- Continually “losing” prescriptions, so more prescriptions must be written
- Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor (Doctor shopping)
Luckily anyone who has prescription pill addiction can get help and doesn’t have to continue on in the vicious cycle that is prescription pill dependence. There are many inpatient treatment centers and detoxes as well as outpatient ones to treat any kind of prescription pill addiction.
If your loved one is in need of treatment prescription pill addiction, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.