Addiction to painkillers has become prevalent, particularly for teenagers. Today, 1 in 8 teens misuse prescription painkillers, surpassing all illicit drugs except for marijuana. In some cases, the pain medicine is given for a surgery or legitimate reason, and the addiction begins without the user truly realizing it.
Take precautions if anyone in your home is prescribed painkillers, and be alert for the signs below.
- Increased and Continued Usage – An addict will need to use increasing amounts of the drug in order to feel “normal” as a tolerance develops. Once the pain condition has resolved, a person still using the drug has likely developed a dependence on it.
- Changes in Daily Routine and Personality – An addict will often exhibit lifestyle changes, such as weak hygiene, difficulty eating or sleeping, and withdrawing from family, friends and co-workers. They may become forgetful or irresponsible and not show up to previously made plans. Any noticeable personality changes should be considered.
- Spends Time Getting Prescriptions – An addict will often be preoccupied or even obsessed with obtaining more of the drug. He or she may drive and wait for hours at multiple doctors’ offices to get a prescription.
- Physical and Emotional Sensitivity – Hypersensitivity to light, sound or emotional input are signs of a drug dependence. Hallucinations are also a red flag.
- Defensive– If the person is confronted about the possibility of a drug problem and he or she defensively lashes out or has violent outbursts, there is a likelihood of addiction.
If you notice your loved one exhibiting these traits or behaviors, it is important to consider the possibility of an addiction. Discuss the issue, show support and encourage him or her to get the help they need.