7 Signs You Have a Prescription Drug Problem


    Prescription drugs have changed and saved lives, but when they are abused, they can also ruin them. No community or demographic is immune to this growing problem, and it is as serious as an addiction to any other substance, including illicit drugs and alcohol.

    Understanding the signs of prescription drug abuse can help you get the treatment you need to overcome it.

    If you recognize these signs and symptoms of abuse, talk to a professional for help


    1. You often think of your medication

    Are you constantly watching the clock until it is time for your next dose? Do you worry about running out of pills? A preoccupation with your medication is a sign that you are becoming dependent or already in the midst of addiction. Thinking about a pill makes sense if you are recovering from dental work, for example, and in pain. It doesn’t make sense in the absence of physical symptoms.

    You may also find yourself thinking obsessively about when or how you can get more pills or how you can hide your use from family and friends. This obsessive thinking means it is time to think about getting help.

    2. You take more medication than prescribed

    Many prescription drug dependencies begin in a doctor’s office. You’re prescribed pills for a specific purpose to be taken in strict quantities at set times. If you find yourself taking more medication than prescribed or hoarding doses to take more later, you may have an addiction problem.

    3. You’ve shopped for doctors

    “Doctor shopping” is a common behavior among addicts who seek new or additional prescriptions. You may have seen a new doctor and lied about your needs, pretended to have lost your prescription or searched for doctors with reputations for overprescribing. All of these behaviors are signs of possible addiction.

    4. You seek pills from other sources

    Many addicts try to obtain pills from sources other than doctors. You may have ordered drugs online, stolen prescription drugs from others, bought pills on the street or stolen a prescription pad from a medical office to write your own prescription.

    5. You’ve been using pills for longer than prescribed

    Most prescription medications, especially narcotics, are prescribed for a limited period of time with the expectation that they will no longer be needed. If you’re taking pills for longer than prescribed or because you simply like the way they make you feel, you likely have an issue. Even if you have chronic pain, you may be using pills beyond the recommend period and should explore other pain management techniques and treatments. Pills are generally not meant to be a permanent solution to pain, so talk to your doctor about both treatment for addiction and treating your underlying health concerns.

    6. You get defensive when questioned about your drug use

    If family or friends have spoken to you about your pill use, do you get defensive? Feeling angry when confronted about pills is typically a sign that you need treatment. The people closest to you may notice that you have an issue before you admit it to yourself, so if they show concern, pay attention.

    7. You aren’t yourself

    Addiction to prescription drugs, like all addictions, takes its toll on users in many ways. You may feel more moody than usual, have depressive or angry outbursts, experience anxiety or notice a change in your eating habits. You may also struggle with sleeping too much or too little, find less joy in activities you once loved or realize that your responsibilities have been neglected. These are all signs that you may need help to overcome your prescription drug addiction.

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