Addiction to prescription drugs is an issue faced by millions of Americans each and every day. And if you’re one of those affected, you know the toll repeated substance abuse can take on your body and mind. Indeed, with life-threatening complications and a severe impact to overall well-being, prescription drug abuse a serious illness.
However, effective treatment is available. Keep reading to learn more about addiction to prescription drugs, including spotting the signs of dependence, and overcoming this debilitating disease.
Prescription Drug Abuse: Spotting the Signs
If you are prescribed narcotic drugs for an acute or chronic illness, you are at risk for developing an addiction to your medications. What’s more, in many cases, prescription drug users often move on to illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, which only increases the risk of complications. In fact, newer heroin addiction treatment plans often involve addressing an initial problem with prescription drugs, most notably painkillers like vicodin and oxycontin.
So, due to the risk of spiraling addiction, spotting the signs of prescription drug abuse is essential to health and quality of life. A few of those signs include the following:
- A preoccupation with medication, including obsessive thoughts, fears of running out, etc.
- Obtaining prescription drugs through illegal measures, e.g., buying or borrowing medications.
- Taking a larger dose than prescribed, or taking medications ahead of schedule.
- Faking illnesses or injuries with the intent of obtaining medications.
- Visiting multiple doctors for prescription drugs.
- Mood swings.
- Changes in behavior.
- Loss of interest in work, school, hobbies or relationships.
- The appearance of withdrawal symptoms when medications are discontinued. These can include nausea and vomiting, aches and pains, sweating, runny nose, sneezing, physical weakness, insomnia and anxiety.
How to Get Help
If you are experiencing the symptoms of addiction, getting immediate help is crucial to both physical and psychological health. The first step in seeking treatment is to decide on a treatment facility. Look for a rehabilitation center that best suits your individual needs. For example, research factors like location, treatment methods, price, etc., and choose the facility best-equipped to address your unique circumstances.
During treatment, it’s important to show up in every way possible. If recovery is what you really want, you have to do the real work, and take an active part in your own treatment. Follow the orders of doctors and staff members, and make every effort to recover, from the inside out.
Following addiction treatment, many people experience difficulties with returning to the real world. With the stresses of everyday life, combined with the temptation to use prescription drugs, this stage of recovery can often be the most difficult. Thankfully, tips like the following can help:
- Know your triggers. Recognizing and avoiding your triggers is essential to recovery. Whether your triggers include people and places or certain dates and events, be sure to avoid each one and avert your attention elsewhere.
- Work on personal growth. Recovery is the perfect time to focus on personal growth and development. Discover new hobbies, focus on work or education, and fill your time with positive, enjoyable activities.
- Seek support. Throughout your recovery, you’ll need support from friends, family members and loved ones. And, beyond that, you may also need professional help and support. If you feel it’s necessary, seek long-term counseling to help promote sobriety and enhance overall health and quality of life.
Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem with life-threatening complications. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction to prescription medications, don’t wait. Seek immediate help, and start building the foundation for a sober, healthy future.
Article By Jennifer Smith