More than 11.4 million people in the U.S. have admitted to misusing prescription opioids in 2016 and 2017. The Health and Human Secretary declared a state of emergency with the opioid crisis because more people are misusing the drugs, an increased amount of overdoses, and the rising number of newborns born addicted to these medications because of mothers using during pregnancy.
Are you concerned that a loved one might be abusing prescription pills? If so, click here to help learn about the pill abuse signs you should look for.
The Opioid Epidemic
Back in the late 1990s, medical doctors began prescribing opioid pain killers at greater rates because they were assured that they were safe. These pills were prescribed to help relieve chronic pain, injury, and illness. Opioid pills (also known as narcotics) include:
- Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet)
- Oxycodone and naloxone
More and more people became addicted, and we found out the hard way that these prescription pills are highly addictive. About 115 people die each day from an opioid-related overdose.
Prescription drugs have been tied to heroin use. Nearly half of young people that use inject heroin started by misusing prescription drugs.
Signs of Prescription Pill Abuse
Addiction is when a person is mentally and physically dependent on a substance. The user can’t stop taking it without adverse effects. The person may have needed and been prescribed this medication at one time, but the dependency now requires treatment.
If you are worried your loved one is addicted to these pain killers, here are some physical signs and symptoms to watch for:
- Slowed breathing rate
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Unsteady walking
- Memory issues
- Bad concentration
- Pinpoint pupils
- Having trouble staying awake
- Weight loss
- Flushed and itchy skin
- Increased pill intake for pain relief
You may also notice change in the person’s behavior. The most common behavior signs include:
- Excessive mood swings and irritability
- Stealing or selling prescriptions
- Visiting multiple doctors for prescriptions
- Poor decision making
- Reckless behavior
- Taking higher doses than prescribed
- Difficulty meeting work obligations
- Withdrawing socially
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if drug is not taken
If someone is addicted to this medication, he or she may go to great extremes to get it. This includes stealing from loved ones and other legal issues. Your loved one may seem more secretive all of a sudden because he doesn’t want you know about his addiction.
Relationships will begin to suffer with a pill addict. She may spend more time with new people and withdraw from former activities and relationships.
If your loved one starts missing school or work regularly, it’s time to investigate. The opioid drugs make it hard to concentrate, and users find it hard to focus on various activities. You may even notice a decline in grades or work performance even if the person still attends these commitments.
One of the biggest things you may notice about an addict is the person’s lack of energy. Addicts look like they are about to fall asleep at any given moment and may just be too tired for anything.
Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse
If the person does not get treated for this addiction, this issue can lead to further problems. Effects of this drug abuse can include:
- Job loss
- Isolation from social activity
- Financial problems
- Thoughts of suicide
- Legal issues
- Physical health problems
- More addictions
- Loss of personal relationships
Prescription drug abuse can happen at any age and at any time. It’s important to take action if you see any signs or symptoms of abuse immediately before the person has additional problems listed above.
What Causes Prescription Pill Abuse
People typically take medicines as the doctors prescribe. Some people have a higher tendency to be predisposed to addiction even if they have a legitimate prescription from their doctor for treatment of pain, surgery, or injury.
This kind of drug abuse is increasing. Part of the reason is that these drugs are readily available and online pharmacies are making them easier to get without a prescription.
People don’t take these prescription drugs thinking they will become addicts. They start taking this medication for pain relief. After time, the person builds a tolerance so the person begins to take more of these pills to get that pleasurable feeling and relief.
It’s hard to stop taking these drugs even with a prescription. If someone stops abruptly, the person may feel withdrawal symptoms like seizures, shakes, severe headaches, and convulsions. A person needs medical supervision to stop taking these drugs effectively and safely.
How to Help Someone with an Addiction
It’s hard to watch someone you know go through an addiction as you watch his or her changes in behavior. The person begins to turn into someone else and has different behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes. Pill addiction is hard to overcome.
These addictions need medical treatment to stop taking these medications because the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely difficult and even deadly. You can meet with an intervention specialist to talk about the best way to get your loved one to treatment at a drug rehab center.
You need to protect yourself when you try to help your loved one. This could mean setting severe consequences and clear boundaries for your loved one to seek treatment. You want to do this in a loving way, but need to help them get treatment even if that means harsh rules and outcomes.
If you are looking for a treatment center in Salt Lake City, Utah, contact Better Help Addiction Care. The center focuses on helping the person with positive changes in his or her life along with the medical treatment needed.
Pill abuse can cause several problems with finances, the person’s health, and takes an emotional toll. Our treatment programs in Salt Lake City help people reach their goals and keep them after leaving the center. Contact us to start recovery for you or your loved one today.