More and more people in the United States are suffering from prescription pain medication abuse. Far from being just a personal problem, substance use usually impacts friends and family as well. For example, children of parents with substance use problems are less likely to behave in an age appropriate manner, while parents of adult children suffering from pain medication addiction can foster an inappropriate dependence on themselves, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Prescription pain medication can be more addictive for people simply because it is more readily available and inexpensive than illegal drugs. These types of pills are relatively simple to get prescribed by one or more doctors or found in medicine cabinets of friends and family members. The Mayo Clinic cites accessibility, pre-existing psychiatric conditions, and a history of inappropriate substance use in the family as risk factors for pain medication abuse.
There are many signs that can indicate when someone is facing an issue with prescription pain medication abuse. While each person will exhibit symptoms differently based on the degree and length of addiction as well as genetic predisposition, most of the following signs are present to some degree in each case of substance use.
Negative Behavior Changes
Those dealing with pain medication abuse tend to lie frequently in an attempt to hide their problem. It is not uncommon for them to visit several doctors to collect more prescriptions. As the substance use becomes more severe, they may begin to isolate themselves to conceal their addiction. Because those who suffer from pain medication addiction can develop a tolerance to the pills, they will require more and more as the problem progresses. This can lead to uncharacteristic behavior like stealing in order to get more pills.
Initial physical symptoms may be more difficult to detect and can include constipation, nausea, insomnia, and flushed skin. Poor coordination and drowsiness are more noticeable signs. As the substance use becomes worse, physical symptoms become much more obvious. The following are advanced signs that can indicate prescription pain medication abuse:
- Slurred speech
People dealing with pain medication addiction are more vulnerable to heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases and complications. These signs can indicate other medical conditions as well, so it is important to ask questions and not assume the cause of any medical symptoms.
Pain medication can have many adverse effects on the brain when not used correctly. The first warning sign can be confusion, even when in a familiar setting. Decision-making skills can also be affected, so those with substance use issues may seem to have poor judgment or be irrational. Increasing bouts of anxiety and depression as well as frequent bad moods are only the beginning. When left untreated, pain medication abuse can lead to psychosis.
Because most cases of substance use result in an inability to reduce or stop the use, this condition is nearly impossible to correct without professional help. Despite this, help is simple to find for those in need of it. From Medication Assisted Treatment to personalized therapy plans, there are many ways Real Recovery can help clients achieve and maintain sobriety.