When Prescriptions Become a Problem: Medication Abuse

doctor warns patient about prescription medication abuse

Although prescription medication abuse is now a topic of common knowledge, many people still assume that if doctors are allowed to recommend something, going a little farther with it can’t be so bad. The truth is, especially with opiate medications such as Percocet or OxyContin, anyone who steps outside carefully regulated therapeutic boundaries is playing an extremely dangerous game. In fact, a substantial number of prescription abusers are doctors themselves.

Which Behaviors Suggest Prescription Medication Abuse?

If you have any suspicions that you might have a prescription medication abuse problem, ask yourself the following questions.

Have You Ever Gone to Separate Doctors for Identical Prescriptions Without Telling Them about Each Other?

If you don’t feel your regular doctor is giving you “enough” medication, talk with him or her about the concern, but don’t go behind your doctor’s back. Odds are that, however you feel, a doctor can judge the safest path better than you—but only with accurate and complete information.

Have You Ever Bought from an Online Pharmacy Instead of a Brick-and-Mortar One?

Online pharmacies tend to be more lax in what they ship to whom—some don’t even ask for a copy of the prescription—and taking the “easiest route” toward obtaining medication is often a sign of not wanting to face up to a potential drug problem.

Prescription Drug Addiction Symptoms

Does the Dosage You’ve Been Taking Now Seem Less Effective?

This could indicate increased tolerance to the medication, a potential sign of addiction risk. Or it could mean that your body chemistry, and therefore your medication needs, has changed. Either way, the best decision for any change is made with the advice of a doctor; don’t ever just decide on your own to take a little more.

Do You Experience Physical Withdrawal Symptoms If You Miss Your Regular Dose?

While a non-addicted medication user may notice mild discomfort or mood change if a dose is missed, a genuine addiction manifests itself in withdrawal symptoms more often associated with serious illness: heavy sweating; excessive fatigue or physical weakness; violent muscle spasms; nausea and vomiting; breathing difficulties; violent mood swings.

If you have any reason to think you may be becoming addicted to your prescription, talk to your doctor immediately. If you have an addiction, enter prescription drug detox immediately once you stop using. Detox is key to combatting possibly fatal side effects of severe withdrawal symptoms.

Additional Signs of Prescription Medication Abuse

Do the person’s eyes fail to react to light—or has he or she begun wearing dark glasses in dim conditions, which may be an attempt to hide a strange-eyes effect?

Is the person losing weight for no obvious reason?

Have the person’s grooming habits changed for the worse?

Has he or she lost interest in favorite activities?

Has this person ever had a drug or alcohol problem in the past?

Convincing someone else to get help tends to be more difficult than convincing yourself, though sometimes the person already suspects they have a problem and needs only a gentle prod from a friend. More often, the immediate reaction will be denial or defensiveness.

How to Help a Loved One with Prescription Medication Abuse

To minimize the risk of winding up in a pointless argument:

Don’t Delay Talking to the Person

It’s tempting to “avoid stirring up trouble” and hope they’ll talk to you eventually; but the longer you wait, the worse things will get and the harder it will be to resolve the problem.

Never Start with Accusations, Criticism, or an “I’m Going to Fix You” Attitude

Resolve in advance that you will express your concerns gently, listen to the other person respectfully, and not get angry whatever response you get. If the person agrees to seek treatment, offer your full support; if he or she refuses to talk about it, let them know you will always be there when they need to talk. Keep reaching out regularly and with gentle empathy.

Get Advice from a Doctor or Support Group for a Loved One

Not to learn how to solve anyone’s problem for them, but to keep yourself prepared to help your loved one in the most effective way. If you think an “intervention,” or group confrontation, may be necessary, make a careful plan in alliance with an expert; poorly managed interventions can make things worse.

Get Help at Kemah Palms Recovery®

With numerous addiction treatment options in South Houston, Kemah Palms Recovery® can help you or someone you love take the first step to a better life. Along with painkiller addiction treatment, we offer a number of Houston substance abuse treatment programs, including:

Don’t let prescription medication abuse continue to dominate you or your loved one’s life. Call Kemah Palms Recovery® today at 855-568-0218.