A Word or Two about Prescription Drugs.
Recent studies have found that prescription drugs are now the second most commonly abused type of drug in the United States. Experts say the overprescribing of narcotic painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants–along with the rise of online pharmacies–is contributing to this abuse epidemic.
But how can you tell if your prescription drug use is becoming an addiction? Here are 5 signs that you may be moving from prescription medication use to drug abuse.
- When you find you need to take more of a medication to achieve the same level of sleep, pain relief, or alertness, you have developed what experts say is a tolerance to the drug you're taking. Tolerance is a sign that your body is becoming physically dependent on the medication. Though it does not mean you're addicted to a prescription drug, it can be a warning sign that you are taking too much of it.
- Once your body has become physically dependent on a medication, you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug. Once people begin to experience these symptoms, they may find they are unable to stop taking a drug without medical supervision. Prescription drug withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, nausea, anxiety, depression, sweating, and shaking Medications are prescribed to help patients get back to their lives, not so they can put their lives on hold for their medication use.
- If you begin planning activities around the times you take your medications or miss important events because of your prescription drug use, it's a clear warning sign that you may have a problem.
- Taking more of a medication than is prescribed or than you planned to take at one time is a sign that you're losing control of your drug use.
- Sometimes addiction sufferers will also find that these accidental overuses are causing them problems such as mood swings, relationship problems, blackouts, or paranoia, but they find they keep using–and overusing–the drug anyway.
- If you find yourself seeking medication from a doctor even when another doctor has advised you not to take it or has refused to provide the drug, it's a sign you may have a problem with addiction.
Other behaviors prescription drug addicts exhibit include asking for prescription meds from friends and relatives, falsifying prescriptions, stealing money or goods to pay for meds, trading services for drugs, and foraging for medications.
If any of these behaviors describe you or someone you love, seek the help of trained professionals at a licensed treatment center for alcohol and other drugs. You could save a life and that life could be your own.