Skip to Content

What Are The Tell-Tale Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse has become a problem of epidemic proportions in the US today. One of the main reasons the issue has become so critical is because this is a type of addiction that has its roots in prescription medications.

In other words, people are being prescribed opiate-based painkillers to treat chronic conditions and they are increasingly being led down a path towards dependency and then addiction.

However, once someone has identified they have a problem and is ready to accept help, there is plenty of prescription drug addiction treatment options available to them.

When someone has issues with prescription drugs, they may display obvious signs or it may be impossible to detect. Although those close to them may suspect something isn’t quite right, they may not be able to quite put their finger on it.

All they are likely to know is that the individual is not behaving in a way they recognize.

For this reason, it’s important to know what the signs are in a person and when they require prescription drug treatment. When someone has issues with alcohol or recreational drugs, the signs are usually more obvious than with prescription medications.

Prescription Drug Dependence Causes Behavior Changes

When someone is slowly becoming dependent on prescription medications, they tend to “phase out” of other areas in their life such as home, school or work. They may start to be unreliable or stop carrying out their obligations within the household or at the office.

Ultimately, the more addicted a person becomes to prescription drugs, the more unrecognizable their behavior will become from what others are used to.

Another way someone’s personality is likely to change if they are abusing prescription drugs is that they will become withdrawn and secretive. They will also display mood swings that are quite extreme and particularly aggressive if challenged on their behavior.

In many ways, when someone is lost to dependence or addiction, they lose the part of themselves others know best. For that reason, it is often the family and loved ones of someone fighting an addiction that makes arrangements for them to get the prescription drug treatment they need.

Other signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Continued use of prescribed painkillers even when the pain has stopped
  • Increased visits to physicians with vague symptoms to get a prescription
  • No interest in alternative approaches to pain management other than medications
  • Using drugs that have been prescribed for others
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms such as joint and muscle aches, sweats and insomnia
  • A developed tolerance to the effects of prescribed drugs that require increased doses to “feed”
  • Withdrawing from friends, relatives, co-workers, and society in general
  • Financial problems as a result of funding prescription drug abuse

What Can Be Done?

When someone suspects a loved one has a problem with prescription drugs or if the person is able to recognize the issue themselves, communication is crucial.

Addiction is an illness that has widespread ramifications not only for the sufferer but for those close to them too. Being able to openly talk about addiction issues is a significant first step towards achieving sobriety as it is an acknowledgment that the person is ready to accept change.

There are plenty of resources available to people seeking help with prescription drug use, no matter how developed their dependence may be. It is always important to find the right course of prescription drug addiction treatment and determine whether an outpatient or inpatient option is best for the individual concerned.

Although addiction to prescribed medications can wreak havoc in someone’s life, with the right motivation, they can be supported through prescription drug treatment to achieve a healthier and happier life in recovery.