Prescription drug use is commonplace in the United States. It is estimated that nearly half of all U.S. residents have used at least one prescription drug in the last 30 days. When taken as prescribed, prescription medications are effective in helping people manage symptoms from a variety of illnesses and after major surgeries. While effective as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, these medications are potent and highly addictive. Users can still become dependent even if taken as directed and under a doctor’s supervision.
This article outlines the signs of prescription drug abuse as well as the symptoms of prescription drug use. If you are dependent or addicted to prescription medications, Thrive Treatment can help break the cycle of abuse. Our evidence-based programs and experienced support will give you the tools you need to kick the habit for good. Thrive Treatment is a Los Angeles drug rehab center that can help you overcome addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program in LA.
How Do Prescription Drugs Become Abused?
No one who uses prescription medications sets out to become dependent on them. For some people, they take prescription drugs to battle anxiety or depression. Other people take prescriptions to manage the pain from surgery or to lessen the effects of major diseases such as cancer. For one reason or another, some people start abusing prescription drugs and get trapped in a cycle of misuse.
Why does this happen?
One major reason why people misuse prescriptions is to relieve tension and stress and to help them relax. Another reason for the misuse of these drugs is to help users concentrate or focus on their schoolwork or job. For others, the reason they misuse prescription medications is to feel prolonged states of euphoria or “being high.” Additionally, people may abuse prescription drugs as a way to “fit in” with a group of people or feel a sense of acceptance.
Many people feel they can’t get addicted to prescription medications because they are prescribed by a doctor and are, therefore, safe to use. In reality, prescription drugs are highly addictive and, in some cases, more potent than illicit drugs. For example, the synthetic opioid fentanyl is 50 to 100 more potent than heroin. Another synthetic opioid called Iisotonitazene is 20 to 100 times more potent than heroin. Believing the myth that prescribing drugs is “safe” can become life-threatening and even deadly.
Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse
As with addictions to other substances, the signs of prescription drug abuse may be subtle at first. When people become addicted to these medications, they will do anything to conceal their use from family and friends. At first glance, prescription drug abuse symptoms include taking more than the prescribed dosage or continuing the use of medications for longer than intended. In general, the signs of prescription medication abuse and addiction depend on the type of drug being abused. For example, people abusing prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin may experience the following signs:
- Impaired speech and coordination
Those abusing stimulant-based medications such as Adderall or Ritalin may experience the following signs of abuse:
- Prolonged periods of hyperawareness
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased agitation and irritability
For those who are abusing potent anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax and Klonopin, the common signs of abuse include:
- Unsteady gait
- Slowed breathing and respiration
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration and prolonged lapses in concentration
There are additional signs of prescription abuse that are seen in users, including forging prescriptions and having multiple prescriptions at the same time. Prescription drug abusers will also engage in the practice of doctor shopping, where they visit multiple providers to get the drugs they need to continue using. Additional signs include stealing prescriptions out of medicine cabinets and engaging in high-risk and impulsive behavior.
Are You Struggling with Prescription Drug Abuse?
While prescription drugs are legal and prescribed by doctors, they are far from being safe. It can be easy to fall into the trap of prescription drug misuse, and the results can be life-threatening. If you are needing treatment for prescription drug abuse in Southern California, call Thrive Treatment toll-free today. Our experienced treatment staff will create an individualized treatment program that fits your specific needs. Our treatment programs are evidence-based and proven to work in helping you overcome prescription abuse.