Prescription Drug Abuse Signs and Symptoms

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Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse is a serious problem that is growing each year. It is estimated that around 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide. The combination of the “rush” of pleasurable physical effects that usually come along with prescription medication along with the ease of access and the frequency with which new and stronger drugs are becoming available all contribute to the increase in addiction. Those who end up sucked into prescription drug abuse often get the medication from physicians that prescribe them despite there only being a self-report of the need, or the user steals prescriptions from friends or family.

Oftentimes, people may not even realize they have a problem because the medication they’re taking was legally prescribed. While they may never have considered using an illegal drug, using prescription medications seems comparably harmless. Depending on the substance dependence and then tolerance may build slowly, so that by the time they realize they have a serious problem, their abuse has become an addiction.

The symptoms of prescription drug abuse can vary widely depending on what drug is being used. However, there are certain symptoms prescription drug abusers usually have in common. These include the following. 

Prescription Drug Symptoms:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Poor judgment and weak decision making abilities
  • Appearing “high,” disoriented, or confused
  • Obsessed with getting, taking and/or recovering from using the drug
  • Relationship problems
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Stealing prescriptions from friends and/or family
  • Unable to fulfill their basic responsibilities
  • Stealing or lying to physicians to get different prescriptions to sell to make money to buy their prescription of choice
  • Getting prescriptions from several different doctors
  • Crushing pills and snorting the powder or mixing it with water to inject it in order to get a quicker and stronger high
  • Inconsistent or contradictory responses to questions asked about the amount of frequency of usage
  • Sleeping very little or sleeping all of the time
  • Appearing energetic bordering on mania or exhausted
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Frequent bouts of nausea, headaches and/or dizziness
  • Taking the drug of choice to prevent withdrawal
  • Building a tolerance so more and more of the drug must be taken to achieve an effect

Along with the above signs and symptoms, there are many co-occurring disorders that go along with prescription drug abuse. These include the following. 

Co-occurring Disorders:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Somatization Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Determining the exact causes for why prescription drug disorders are so numerous can be difficult. Genetics, however, may play a role. It has been found that those with a close relative that abuses substances are at a far higher risk to develop a drug use disorder in the same category. Of course there are many other reasons as well, including abusing drugs to try and overcome anxiety and/or depression, decrease physical pain, lose weight, have a “fun” time with friends, increase their social acceptance or peer pressure, increase the effects of other drugs or alcohol already consumed and improve performance in school, at work or in sports. People may also abuse prescription drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms from a different drug they’ve already taken.

Withdrawal symptoms from prescription drugs can be extremely unpleasant and even be life threatening, which is one of many reasons why it is so important to seek addiction treatment at a facility that offers drug detoxification programs overseen by medical professionals.

Fortunately, it is possible for anyone to get into addiction recovery. Here at New Life Treatment Center we will help you choose the most effective addiction treatment program for your needs and guide you through every step of the recovery process. Please contact us today at (855) 658-0035 to begin your journey to a healthy, happy, sober life!