My Prescription Drugs Have Taken Over My Life.
Am I Addicted to My Medication?
For many experts, prescription drug abuse and addiction represent the next great American health crisis. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.5 million Americans reported in 2014 that they used prescription drugs nonmedically. A year before that, 10.7 million Americans admitted to using prescription pain relievers in a nonmedical fashion at least once.
Additionally, previous years reports suggest that these numbers aren’t a fluke; prescription drug abuse isn’t slowing anytime soon.
Unfortunately, one of the main reasons that prescription drug abuse (and addiction) has become so prevalent is because it can be very difficult for individuals to identify when their prescription drug use becomes problematic. It’s easy to forget, or never have been aware, that something prescribed by a doctor may have a high potential for dependence.
Commonly abused prescription drugs include:
- Stimulants: Physicians typically prescribe drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine to treat behavioral and sleep disorders.
- Opioids: Many people with prescription drug problems in America struggle with and abuse drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, and other opiate-based prescription drugs.
- Sedatives: Certain anxiety medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Ambien have addictive properties that might incite recreational abuse.
Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is typically a very gradual and subtle process. A small miscommunication between doctor and patient, for example, can lead to the patient taking larger doses of his or her medication than suggested. As a result, the patient can develop a tolerance to the drug more quickly than intended and need even larger doses to achieve the same effects as before, a pattern that inevitably ramps up to full-on abuse.
Consider the following questions if you fear that your prescription drug use has gotten out of hand:
1) Have your weight or sleeping patterns changed considerably since starting the prescription?
2) Do you travel to multiple doctors and pharmacies to make sure your prescription stays full?
3) Have your family or friends expressed concern over how often you take your prescription?
4) Do you find yourself getting anxious when your prescription is about to end?
5) Have you lied to your doctor about how often you take your medication?
6) Have you ever taken a prescription pill that wasn’t prescribed to you?
7) Do you ever feel tempted to crush and snort your medication?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then you may want to strongly consider the possibility that your prescription drug use has become unhealthy. Seek help and support immediately before the problem escalates into a full-blown addiction.
When Abuse Becomes Addiction
Prescription drug addiction occurs when the individual’s substance abuse habits are replaced with physical and psychological dependence. In addition to experiencing a more destructive relationship with prescription drugs, individuals struggling with addiction are also a much higher risk of suffering a fatal overdose.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine if your substance abuse habits have evolved into a dangerous addiction:
1) Do I find myself experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms if I don’t take my medication?
2) Does my prescription drug use have a negative impact on my work performance?
3) Do I mix my medication with other substances to manage my symptoms?
4) Has my prescription drug use caused me to neglect my responsibilities?
5) Have I repeatedly upped my dosage in an attempt to avoid withdrawal?
These are just a few of the troubling behavioral patterns that characterize addiction to prescription drugs. If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then you should reach out to friends or family for help with getting treatment.
Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse
The most commonly abused prescription drugs carry with them the most extreme withdrawal symptoms. That’s why it’s so important for individuals struggling with prescription drug addiction to seek a rehabilitation center that can provide medically guided detox.
Get in touch with The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village if you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug abuse. We are available 24/7 at (866) 295-6003, and we’re ready to give you the help you need.
Want to Better Understand Prescription Drug Addiction?
Visit Our Prescription Drug Wiki Pages