Prescription drug addiction develops when someone starts taking drugs at frequencies and dosages that are different from how the drugs were prescribed. Typical prescription drugs that people form addictions to are opioid painkillers, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants. Apart from addiction, abusing these drugs can lead to a high risk of fatal overdose.
Problematic prescription drug use can be as simple as taking a family member’s prescription painkiller for a sudden backache or as involved as snorting a friend’s ground-up stimulant pills to use as a weight loss solution or study aid. Drug abuse may become compulsive – people might continue doing it despite its negative consequences.
Early identification of prescription drug abuse may help prevent addiction from developing, so look out for signs of pill addiction. If you or someone you care about has a problem with prescription drug use, contact Midwest Detox Center online or call 833.647.0392 to find out more about our programs and other services that can help you overcome prescription drug addiction.
5 Early Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction
1. Physical Effects
Physical signs of prescription drug addiction can depend on the type of drug being taken.
Symptoms of opioid addiction include confusion, constipation, drowsiness, nausea, and intense pain that can’t be relieved by high opioid doses. Symptoms of CNS depressant addiction include dizziness and walking unsteadily, memory loss and poor concentration, and slow breathing and speech. Symptoms of stimulant addiction include high blood pressure and body temperature, irregular heartbeat, and trouble sleeping.
2. Behavioral and Psychological Effects
Prescription drug addiction can also lead to irritability, mood swings, and neglecting responsibilities like school or work. Other behavioral changes might include:
- Constantly changing school or work schedules
- Frequent bathroom breaks
- Leaving home at odd hours
- Not sticking to previously regular routines
- Requesting early prescription refills
- Seeing multiple doctors for the same issue
3. Relationship Problems
Addictions have a way of driving people to lash out at family and friends or to isolate themselves because the addiction’s effects have made it too difficult to communicate with their loved ones.
The problem can reach a breaking point if their family and friends bring up addiction and professional forms of detox and treatment. At this point, most people with addictions will be angry and in denial, which can further damage their relationships. If loved ones want to stage an intervention, the best way to do it is with the help of a professional interventionist and therapist.
4. Financial Problems
Financial difficulties are a clear sign of any addiction. People with an addiction will need to spend large amounts of money to buy prescription drugs — from legal sources or not. Someone with a hidden prescription drug addiction could start selling their valuable belonging or may even steal or borrow heavily to support their habit.
5. Withdrawal Symptoms
People with an addiction can go through withdrawal symptoms even if they’re not going through the detox process because these symptoms can start occurring within hours after their last drug dose.
If someone with an addiction isn’t somewhere where they can dose, they can start showing withdrawal symptoms that others can recognize. It’s important to remember that the severity of some withdrawal symptoms could be life-threatening. Going to the hospital, calling an ambulance, or immediate admittance to a medical detox program may be necessary.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms include body aches and shakiness, dilated pupils, excessive yawning, feeling tired, goosebumps, heavy sweating, pale complexion, and nausea and vomiting. CNS depressant withdrawal symptoms include anxiety attacks, fever, hallucinations, heavy sweating, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure, overactive reflexes, and seizures, and shakiness. Stimulant withdrawal symptoms include bouts of depression, feeling tired, and sleep disturbances.
What Are the Dangers of Prescription Drug Addiction?
Prescription drugs can be very dangerous. Some of them can even be life-threatening when taken in very high doses or when combined with other alcohol, certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications, prescription drugs, or other recreational drugs.
Because addictions can lead to physical dependence or tolerance, the main danger of any addiction is the risk of overdosing because of a very large dose. Here are some serious consequences of prescription drug overdoses:
- Opioids: Taking too many of these drugs can cause low blood pressure, a slowed breathing rate, and breathing to stop. Overdosing can result in a coma or death.
- CNS depressants: Taking too many anti-anxiety medications and sedatives can cause memory problems, low blood pressure, and slowed breathing. Overdosing can result in a coma or death. Abruptly quitting may also cause withdrawal symptoms that include seizures and nervous system hyperactivity.
- Stimulants: Taking too many of these drugs can cause aggressiveness and paranoia, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular problems, life-threateningly high body temperature, and tremors or seizures. Overdosing can result in “over-amping” or bouts of mental distress. No medication can help with stimulant overdose.
Learn More About Midwest Detox Center’s Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Program
If you start observing signs of pill addiction in yourself or someone you care about, contact Midwest Detox Center online or call 833.647.0392 to find out more about our prescription drug addiction treatment program.