Prescription drugs are medications prescribed by a doctor for treating illness or injury. But for some, those prescribed medications can pose a serious threat in the form of addiction. If you suspect you or your loved one is abusing prescription drugs, it’s important to seek help right away, as long-term abuse can lead to overdose, coma and/or death. What are the signs of prescription drug addiction? And who is most at risk?
Typical Signs of Drug Abuse
While every substance comes with its own unique set of side effects, there are many common physical and behavioral changes that you may notice in someone abusing prescription drugs.
Physical signs may include:
• Changes in eating habits
• Extreme hyperactivity
• Tremors or unexplainable shakes
• Deteriorating hygiene or a decrease in overall wellness
Behavioral signs may include:
• Paranoia or nervousness
• Dishonesty or secretive behavior
• Mood changes or irritability
Commonly Abused Drugs
There are a number of over and under-the-counter drugs that can trigger an addiction, particularly when they are not taken under the careful supervision of a doctor. However, there are three types of prescription drugs in particular which are commonly abused:
• Painkillers/Opioids: commonly prescribed to reduce pain after injury or surgery, these types of drugs are known to produce a relaxed feeling of euphoria
• Depressants: often prescribed for anxiety or sleep issues and create a calming effect on the user
• Stimulants: commonly used to treat disorders such as ADHD and give the user an alert sensation
The common thread in all these drugs is that they produce a pleasurable sensation for the user. Over time the user will require more and more of the drug in order to duplicate the desired effect. This often leads to abuse and addiction.
Groups at Risk for Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug addiction affects a number of age groups including adolescents, adults and even seniors. However, the latest trends suggest that the number of teens abusing prescription drugs is on the rise and will likely continue to increase. In general, many adolescents feel that using prescription drugs is not as dangerous as using heroin or cocaine because these drugs can be prescribed by a doctor, increasing the likelihood for overdose.
If you or your loved one is struggling with prescription drug abuse, it’s time to seek help. Recovery is possible with the right treatment option. See more on the types of treatment options Talbott Recovery has to offer and schedule a consultation today.