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Apex Recovery Blog

Are You Addicted to Prescription Drugs?

a doctor hands a prescription to someone

Prescription drug abuse is all too common in the United States and involves many often-prescribed opioids, depressants, and stimulants. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, estimated that about 18 million people misused these medications. This represented 6% of people aged 12 and older.1 Fortunately, prescription drug addiction treatment is available to help those affected. How do you know when it is time to intervene? These are some of the signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction to look for:

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

Signs of withdrawal between doses can indicate someone is addicted to prescription drugs. With opioid painkillers, such as oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl, and others, these signs can include nausea, constipation, confusion, depression, poor coordination, restlessness, and the need for higher doses to achieve pain relief. Headache, dizziness, changes in vision, breathing difficulties, seizures, and personality changes can occur as well. Depressant or sedative abuse can lead to drowsiness, unsteadiness, involuntary movements, poor judgment, slurred speech, memory problems, and slow breathing. Abusing stimulants can cause a wide range of symptoms as well. Frequent irritability, difficulty sleeping, reduced appetite, anxiety, and high body temperature are some withdrawal symptoms. Someone withdrawing from a stimulant may also exhibit signs of paranoia.

Using the Drug After Symptoms Have Been Resolved

Continued use, even after pain or other symptoms it was prescribed for have abated, is a sign of prescription drug addiction. The person may complain about vague symptoms to obtain more or refuse treatment alternatives to medication. They may also frequently lose prescriptions, request refills from physicians, or visit multiple doctors to get what they want. In extreme cases, one may even forge or steal a prescription; the use of deception to get more is a strong sign of a problem.

Personality Change

Personality changes are among the most common warning signs of prescription drug addiction. The most obvious include mood and behavioral changes. One may become hostile or easily agitated or anxious, more hyper or sedated than usual, or become withdrawn from social interaction. They may even lie about the medication they are using.

Using a Prescription Drug More Than Recommended

African psychologist supporting male rehab session participant put hand on newcomer shoulder Taking a drug in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed is a sign of abuse. Non-medical use, especially with painkillers, is a sign the person is taking the drug to get high. Misusing the drug becomes a risk as you build a tolerance to it and continue to increase the dosage, which is common with opioids. Abuse can become evident with cravings or preoccupations with a drug, signs of withdrawal, and, ultimately, physical and psychological dependence that accompanies addiction.

Call Apex Recovery Today

Our San Diego rehab center provides alcohol and prescription drug addiction treatment with a focus on long-term recovery. A California State licensed, dual diagnosis treatment program, we offer five levels of care and can also address co-occurring mental health disorders. Call 877-798-4404 today for a no-cost, confidential evaluation by a qualified clinician. Source:

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