Chronic pain is a common phenomenon for people suffering from injuries, joint pain, migraine, accidents or other related conditions. Living with chronic pain can be devastating as it can damage productive lives and tear families apart. Sadly, most people experiencing painful conditions are either misdiagnosed or misunderstood, making the situation much more miserable. The scenario has become so complicated that more and more people are now succumbing to overdoses and opioid-related deaths due to improper intake of prescription drugs.
Opioid addiction is not a new concept. Traditionally, the use and misuse of opioid drugs has been widely prevalent among the military veterans. Of late, there has been a sharp increase in the rate of opioid addiction even in the general population, including teenagers and women. While the prime reason behind the escalation of prescription drug abuse is easy availability of such medications, frequent prescriptions for painkillers written by doctors has also contributed to the increased rate of opioid addiction.
Since it is difficult to identify opioid abuse in a person, many people continue to abuse such drugs despite knowing its serious repercussions. Here are some warning signs that can help identify whether a loved one is addicted to painkillers:
1. Taking pills too often
Bearing with chronic pain is difficult, and therefore, many patients end up consuming a higher dosage than required to get an instant relief. The habit of popping pills every now and then is the most important warning sign of prescription drug abuse. An excessive intake of pain-relieving drugs, reduces the ability of the body to fight the pain naturally, thereby reducing the tolerance level.
2. Altering doses without prescription
Since painkillers are meant to give only a temporary relief, a majority of patients develop a tolerance toward the prescribed dosage. As a result, users tend to increase the dosage to attain the desired relief. Increasing the dosage may alter the chemistry of the brain, making a person completely dependent on the drug.
3. Changing doctors rapidly
Doctors are well aware about the likelihood of prescription drug abuse in vulnerable patients, and therefore, they keep on changing the drugs and their dosage in such patients. For people who are on the threshold of developing an opioid addiction, or have already developed it, changing the doctor is the most viable option to get a fresh stock of such medicines.
4. Using painkillers over a prolonged period
If a person is ingesting a particular drug over a prolonged period, it could be a sign of an underlying addiction. Moreover, when they stop taking the drug, they may experience physical cravings, which are a part of the ongoing cycle of addiction.
5. Living in one’s own shell
Like any other addiction, people with opioid addiction also tend to isolate themselves from the surroundings and remain confined to their own shells. Such individuals neither have the courage to own their responsibilities nor are they inclined to take care of their personal hygiene. They often suffer from sleep disturbances, mood swings, as well as changes in behavior and eating habits.
Road to recovery
Misusing painkillers can come naturally to a person suffering from chronic pain. Therefore, while it is important to recognize the warning signs of addiction, it is also important to be transparent with the doctors, family and friends about the medicines consumed. Immediate medical help should be sought if any signs of addiction are noticed.
If you know someone addicted to prescription medications, seek help from the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline to know about prescription drug abuse treatment centers in the United States. To learn more about the prescription drug abuse treatment clinics, chat online with our treatment advisors or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 to get immediate help regarding any prescription drug abuse issues.