Prescription medications are used daily by millions of Americans to treat conditions ranging from anxiety to pain management. There are several classifications of prescription medications, many of which have a high risk for misuse, dependency, and addiction. Opioids, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants are the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Studies on prescription drug abuse indicate that nearly 20% of Americans over age 12 report using prescription drugs for recreational purposes. In the face of the rise of prescription drug addiction, prescription drug addiction treatment has become more widely available.
If you or a loved one is abusing prescription drugs, Westwind Recovery® can provide the help needed to get your life back on track. We have a broad spectrum of addiction and mental health treatment programs in a variety of settings. To learn more about your treatment options, contact us at 855.340.8832.
What Are the Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction?
When used correctly, prescription medications can be beneficial and effective. Most are not intended for prolonged use, mainly because of the risk for misuse and addiction. When these drugs first became available, the medical community and the general public were unaware of how addictive they were. Doctors began writing more prescriptions than ever before. The sheer availability of these drugs was a significant contributor to the rise in their misuse. Thankfully, today there is widespread awareness about the risks associated with prescription stimulants, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives, and opioids,
Prescription drug abuse refers to using medications in any way other than how they were prescribed. Many people with prescription drug addictions cannot recognize it because they are in denial or do not believe they can become addicted to medications prescribed by a doctor. Others are aware and go to great lengths to hide their addiction from friends and family. Some signs of prescription drug addiction include the following:
- Refusal to try treatment options other than prescriptions
- Taking more than the prescribed dosage or running out of medicine early
- Having multiple medications from different doctors
- Appearing to be high, overly sedated, or excessively energetic
- Developing a tolerance so that higher doses are needed to achieve the same effects
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking prescriptions
- Buying prescription drugs illegally or stealing, forging, or selling prescriptions
Addiction causes people to lose judgment and rationalize their behaviors to get their drugs at any cost. Stealing, gambling, lying, financial instability, secretive behavior, sudden friend changes, and unexplained disappearances are also common signs of addiction.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction
When discussing prescription drug addiction, most people think only of opioids like OxyContin. However, stimulants and central nervous system depressants are also highly addictive and greatly abused. These include common medications such as Adderall, Ambien, and Xanax. Common reasons people misuse these drugs besides to get high include:
- Appetite suppression
- To experiment with the effects
- Avoiding withdrawal
- Staying alert or improving concentration
- To improve performance at work or school
- To alleviate psychological discomfort
The physical and psychological symptoms of prescription drug addiction vary depending upon the type of drug. Here is a closer look at the symptoms of addiction for each category of prescription drugs:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech or lack of coordination
Central Nervous System Depressants
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration
- Slow breathing and speech
- Walking unsteadily
- Difficulty sleeping
- Excessive energy
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Rapid heartbeat
- Racing thoughts
Prescription drug abuse can also lead to mood swings, aggressive behavior, risk-taking behaviors, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and an inability to cope with everyday stressors, all of which contribute to the cycle of addiction.
Find Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at Westwind Recovery®
Prescription drug addiction causes significant changes to the structure and functioning of the brain, especially with prolonged use. Tolerance develops quickly, leading to physical and psychological dependence and then addiction. The withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous for many of these drugs, and attempts to detox should occur in a medically supervised detox center.
If you are ready to find help for prescription drug addiction treatment, contact Westwind Recovery® today at 855.340.8832. Successful treatment is only a phone call away.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.