If a friend, family member is abusing their prescription drug (s), a distinct set of adverse reactions and warning signs will manifest according to the type of pharmaceutical they are misusing.
Top 10 Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse
Drug reactions and individual warning signs can vary from person to person, depending on the drug being used and its dosage amount.
1. Increased Tolerance – Over time, individuals who are taking prescriptions eventually grow tolerant to the initial dosage amount of a medication. With or without their physician’s involvement, an individual may begin increasing their dosage. This sometimes produces a faster need for a prescription refill as well as physical withdrawal symptoms and, in some cases, physical dependency. Dependency itself is not the same as addiction, but is an unsafe stepping stone toward that direction.
2. Behavioral Changes – Sudden and severe shifts in an individual’s personality can often be the most tell-tale sign of medication abuse. You might notice dramatic changes in mood, energy, motivation, and concentration as a person becomes dependent on their prescription drug(s). Normal responsibilities or previously enjoyed hobbies may take a backseat to a need to consume the drug.
3. Lack of Social Interaction – When a begins misusing their medication, they may feel a desire to withdraw from normal social interaction. This could be due to a fear of being found out or mere loss of motivation. Prescription drug abusers might not be up for participating in activities which might hinder their ability to use the drug, and they may not want people to see them in their inebriated state.
4. Continued Use – When a person becomes addicted to a medication, they will continue to use the drug even after their medical condition has improved. The individual may make comments on how they are still in pain or how they need to continue their medication for just a little bit longer. They may even go so far as to ask or even beg their doctor for another prescription. Doctors are trained to screen for these signs of prescription misuse, dependency and addiction.
5. Drug Seeking Behavior – A dependent person will do just about anything to assure they have another prescription refill lined up. Whether by multiple doctor visits or long-distance drives to meet dealers, these activities can be very time consuming and should be easily spotted.
6. Physical Appearance Changes – When one begins abusing drugs, personal appearance often suffers. Changes in sleeping patterns, loss of appetite and other biological factors contribute to physical appearance shifts caused by prescription drug abuse. These changes can vary widely, depending on the drug being abused.
7. Irresponsibility/Priority Shifts – As in the case of physical appearance shifts, responsibility and priority shifts take place as a result of prescription drug abuse becoming the individual’s primary concern. Loss of one’s job, family tension and relationship struggles are common byproducts of prescription dependency cases.
8. Physical Discomforts or Illness – Headaches, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, bone/muscle aches and other physical discomforts may be a sign of opioid medication withdrawal. Odd spells of illness which appear and subside regularly are a definite red flag.
9. Mental Instability – Abuse of medications can often produce emotional instability as well as loss of memory control, or an inability to recall recent events. An individual may complain of memory “blackouts” or display severe mood swings.
10. Defensiveness and Anxiety – When an individual tries to hide his/her dependency to a medication, defensiveness, anxiety and fear of being found out can result. Abusers may become very defensive when they feel their drug abuse secret may be discovered, or react inappropriately to questions from a healthcare provider about their medical condition or medication use.
Get Help Now
If you notice any of these 10 warning signs, look a little deeper. Are these isolated incidents, or are there other red flags? If you feel something may be seriously wrong, get help right away.
To learn more about the signs of medication abuse, or to get help for yourself or a loved one, call 1-800-468-6933.