What Are The Signs Of Addiction To Prescription Drugs?
Here are some noticeable, general, effects of prescription drug addiction:
- Chronic low mood or flat affect (reduced emotional reactivity)
- Mood swings and hostility
- Feelings of euphoria
- Confusion and paranoia
- Memory problems
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Visiting multiple doctors for the same condition, to try and obtain multiple prescriptions
- Consuming prescription medication faster than indicated
- Ordering prescription medication over the internet
- ‘Losing’ prescriptions and frequently requesting replacements
Stealing or forging prescriptions
- Stealing or forging prescriptions
- Prioritising obtaining and taking prescription drugs over activities that you once enjoyed
- Feeling as though you want to stop taking prescription drugs, but finding that you are unable to
- Inability to stop thinking about when, where and how you will obtain prescription drugs, and feeling as though this is taking over your life
- Being secretive and defensive about your prescription drug use
Intense cravings for the prescription drug
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed breathing
- High body temperature
- Heart palpitations
- Coordination problems
- Slurred speech
What Is Prescription Drug Addiction?
On 3 August 2020, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated its guidelines on the treatment of chronic primary pain, recognising that prescription medication contributes to addiction. The new guidelines state that GPs should not prescribe opioids or other medicines like paracetamol to patients because they could be ‘harmful’ and cause addiction.
It would be a mistake to think that prescription drugs are less addictive than illegal drugs or alcohol. The reality is that any psychoactive substance, regardless of how it is obtained or used, has the potential to become addictive.
In the UK, the most commonly abused prescription medications include those in the following categories:
Opiates (such as Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Fentanyl)
Antidepressants (some antidepressants have shown abuse potential)
Weight loss pills
Anti-anxiety medication (Benzodiazepines, Pregabalin)
ADHD medication (Ritalin)
Some prescription drug addicts start with legitimate prescriptions given to them by their doctors. A patient needing medication for chronic pain is a good example of this. When patients take their medications in ways that go beyond their doctors’ instructions, tolerance and eventual addiction can occur.
Prescription Drug Addiction Symptoms and Effects
Prescription drug misuse can result in a wide range of long-term problems that can have a devastating impact on all areas of your life. These may include:
Strained or ruined relationships
Job loss and unemployment
Legal problems, including arrest and imprisonment
Prescription drug addicts tend to be a lot better at hiding their behaviours. Some may even be able to cover up what they are doing based on a previous medical need that was legitimate. Having said that, there are some signs that are often seen with prescription drug addiction. These are:
- A tendency to visit doctors frequently
- A tendency to shop online for prescription drugs
Regular complaints about medical conditions that would justify drug use
- A gradual drop-off in school or work performance
- An increasing disinterest in personal appearance
- A tendency toward defensiveness when talking about prescription medications.
Our services are available 24/7, you can contact us for help whenever you need to. Once you have contacted us we can help you take the next steps in your recovery, help you in rehabilitating from addiction and offer support however you may need.
Remember addiction, no matter what kind, is beatable. YOU can overcome it, in reading this information, whether purposefully or not you have unknowingly taken the first step in your recovery. Don’t look back now.