You blew out your knee and had to get surgery. During recovery, you took prescription painkillers, but when you ran out, you still wanted more. Or maybe you started taking Adderall in college to help you study. But even though you graduated, you still find yourself using the drug regularly. You suffer from chronic back pain. Your doctor gave you medication to help with the pain, but you have found that you need to take more to make the pain go away. These are all common signs of pill addiction that a lot of people overlook.
While no two stories are the same, these are all-too-common scenarios. Prescription pill abuse is on the rise in the United States. Our Massachusetts inpatient drug rehab understands that using these substances can get away from you, and addiction can develop before you realize it. To find and receive the care and support needed for long-term sobriety, it is important to first recognize common pill addiction signs.
Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse & Addiction
There are so many different prescription drugs on the market, each of which can produce dramatically different side effects and symptoms depending on the class of the drug, doses taken, and other factors. Below are common signs of prescription drug addiction by drug type to help those struggling with misuse find care better suited to their needs.
Signs of Pain Pill Addiction
“Pain pills” is a broad term that refers to any type of medication used to treat pain. There are several types of pain pills, including over the counter (OTC) medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen, as well as prescription medications such as opioids (e.g., oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl) and non-opioid pain medications (e.g., gabapentin, pregabalin).
Over-the-counter pain pills are typically used to alleviate mild to moderate pain caused by conditions like headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis, or injuries. On the other hand, prescription pain pills (narcotics) are used to treat more severe or chronic pain, such as pain caused by surgery or cancer. Prescription narcotics are habit-forming and can lead to dependence and addiction if not effectively use, so it is important to look out for any signs of misuse.
Some common pain pill addiction signs include:
- Abnormal sleep patterns
- Being unable to stop or cut down on drug use
- Borrowing medication from others
- Claiming to have lost their medications to get more prescriptions
- Constantly thinking about obtaining or using pain pills
- Dilated pupils
- Mental confusion or disorientation
- Regularly taking the opioid or pain pill in a way other than as prescribed by the doctor
- Seeking the same prescription from multiple doctors (doctor shopping)
- Social isolation
- Taking opioids “just in case” even when they do not feel pain
- Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit or cut back on use
If you or someone you care about is exhibiting any of these signs, it is important to seek help from a healthcare provider or addiction specialist right away. Our Clearbrook Massachusetts rehab offers opioid addiction treatment, among various other drug-specific rehab programs, that can help those suffering from addiction get sober.
Signs of Stimulant Abuse
Stimulants are a class of drugs that speed up activity in the central nervous system. These drugs are known to increase alertness, attention, and energy, and can also improve mood and cause feelings of euphoria. Stimulants include both legal and illegal substances and can be used medically or recreationally.
Some common examples of prescription stimulants include Adderall and Ritalin, which are both often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Other prescription stimulants include medications that may be prescribed for obesity or as a short-term treatment for depression. On the other hand, illegal stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy (MDMA).
Like pain pills, stimulants are also habit-forming and can lead to addiction if abused or misused. They can lead to various short and long-term side effects, which can lead to serious health problems.
Some common stimulant abuse signs include to look out for include:
- Aggressive behavior or angry outbursts
- Agitation or irritability
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Dilated pupils
- Drastic weight loss
- Exhibiting excessive energy or motivation
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Noticeable increase in energy
- Racing thoughts
- Restlessness or jitteriness
- Using illicit stimulants
- Using prescriptions more than prescribed
For those in need of stimulant addiction treatment, our facility also offers substance-specific rehab programs like ecstasy and cocaine addiction treatment that can aid in recovery.
Sedative Abuse Symptoms and Signs
Also known as tranquilizers, sedatives are a class of drugs that depress or reduce activity in the central nervous system, producing calming or tranquilizing effects. They are commonly used to treat conditions like anxiety, insomnia, and other sleep disorders. Some examples of sedatives include benzodiazepines or benzos (such as Valium and Xanax) and barbiturates (such as phenobarbital and butalbital).
Benzos and barbiturates work by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which inhibits or blocks the activity of certain nerve cells and produces a sedative effect. Like narcotics and stimulants, sedatives can be habit-forming and can lead to dependence and addiction if misused.
Common signs of sedative addiction include:
- Craving the drug
- Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms
- Impaired cognitive functions
- Impaired motor functions
- Lethargy or drowsiness
- Mental confusion or lack of concentration
- Muscles shaking
- Needing a greater dose or more frequent doses to experience the same effects or a high
- Poor coordination
- Poor impulse control
- Slurred or slowed speech
- Taking the drug even when it is caused problems in the person’s life
Another way to recognize the signs of pill addiction is to look beyond the physical symptoms. For instance, if your loved one is always seeing new doctors for no apparent medical reason, they may be doctor-shopping for more prescriptions. A person’s character and attitude may also change, causing them to isolate themselves from loved ones and often even lie and cheat to obtain more drugs.
If you or someone you care about is displaying any symptoms of pill addiction, do not wait any longer to get help. Our Northeast addictions treatment center offers prescription drug addiction treatment in a non-judgmental environment for individuals struggling with drug use disorders. From medically assisted detox to address withdrawals to aftercare support to reduce the risk of relapse after rehab, we offer everything needed to overcome addiction.
For more information about our Massachusetts substance abuse treatment and how to get started, call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today at 570-536-9621 or send us your contact information, and we will reach out to you.