Recognizing When a Prescription Drug Becomes a Problem


Prescription drug abuse is rising among teens and young adults. Although this is the largest group of offenders, prescription drug abuse can affect all ages. It has nothing to do with gender, race, religion, or background. Many addictions begin innocently enough. Someone takes a friend’s pill to help their backache. Someone else decides on their own to increase their dosage. Others misuse the drugs on purpose simply to get a ”high” from the experience. Either one of these acts can lead to a problem that will require prescription drug addiction rehab.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is defined as using a prescribed drug for a use it is not intended for. This could be a number of things like taking someone else medication, taking more of your own the prescription drug then what is recommended by a doctor, or using the drug to get high rather than for what it is designed for.

Drug prescription drug addiction involves several different types of drugs. This includes anti-anxiety medication like Valium and Xanax as well as opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin and Percocet. Stimulants like Ritalin and Concerta, along with sedatives, can also be abused to the point of addiction.

Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

There are several signs that one can look for in a loved one when addiction is suspected. Watch for continued use of a drug long after the injury is healed. The addict may begin complaining that it still hurts in order to get more of the drug, but their complaints may seem vague or unrealistic. Another telltale sign would be having no interest in any other form of treatment other than drugs.

Addicts may also have changes in their behavior along with mood swings. They can also exhibit deceitful behaviors such as stealing and lying. They might take someone else’s prescription or claim that they lost theirs in an attempt to get the doctor to give them more. Severe addiction could even lead to buying and selling drugs in order to get what they need.

Drug addicts, whether using prescription medication or street drugs, will begin to isolate themselves. This is especially true if others are starting to realize something isn’t quite right. They will make other poor decisions as well, and most will begin having obvious financial problems as their addiction costs more and more.

The Four Phases of Prescription Drug Abuse

The first phase of prescription drug abuse is non-medical use. This is when the person firsts begins to over medicate or use prescriptions that were not intended for them.

The next phase is misuse. This phase is very similar to the first one, but it is much more severe. Their use of the drug has become a chronic problem that involves regular use of the drug, even when it isn’t medically needed.

The third phase is abuse. Abuse is marked by relationship problems, missed work, and neglecting responsibility. Their focus is fully on taking the prescription drug and finding enough to satisfy their cravings.

Finally, there is the fourth phase which is the actual addiction. People in this phase have lost control. They know that they have to have the drug or they will experience withdrawal. Withdrawal involves symptoms similar to the flu. Loved ones often confuse the two. What is actually a severe drug addiction is overlooked as a simple flu bug.

What to do if You Suspect Prescription Drug Abuse

If you suspect a friend or family member is struggling with an addiction, try to get help immediately. Keep in mind that no one can help an addict until they are ready to admit they have a problem. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find help in dealing with their problem. Talking to a counselor from a drug addiction rehab center or joining a support group can be quite beneficial. These people not only help you deal with the issue at hand, but they can give you advice when it comes to helping the addict seek treatment.

Prescription drug addiction is a rising problem among teens and young adults, but it can certainly affect all ages. Learning how to spot the signs of addiction, as well as the four phases of addiction, is a great place to get started when wanting to help someone you love.

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