How Substance Abuse Leads To Treatment
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that roughly 52 million people have abused prescription drugs at some point in their lifetime. Also, nearly 14 percent of this population qualifies as drug dependent, and many of these are youths and adolescents. Recognizing prescription drug abuse signs is the first step in addressing the problem.
Many first-time prescription drug users receive drugs through several outlets. For example, they often receive them from friends, family members, and even coworkers. However, others are prescribed drugs, and continue to take them even after the condition for which they were prescribed the drug has subsided. As a result, prescription drug use has increased since the early 1990s, and many Americans perceive prescription drugs as less harmful than their illicit counterparts. Despite this perception, prescription drug abuse can lead to a host of adverse side effects, including addiction and even death.
Certainly, it is important for clinicians to recognize the warning signs of prescription drug abuse and promote treatment at one of our substance abuse treatment centers. Clinicians are given the power to prescribe drugs, and are often in the first line of defense when it comes to identifying drug addiction. Therefore, recognizing the warning signs of prescription drug abuse early can prevent chronic addiction and fatal overdose.
Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Abuse In Adults
Its important to know the signs and symptoms of drug addiction. Alcohol or drug addiction changes the way a person looks, acts and feels. The symptoms of substance use disorders are linked to changes in the body, behavior and emotions. Thankfully, you can discover when a friend or family member has become addicted to drugs by observing the following signs of substance abuse in adults.
They Experience Financial Trouble Or Property Loss
While many people will experience financial hardship at some point in their lives, individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often go through sudden and seemingly unexplainable financial difficulties. This is due to a persons need to continue to obtain drugs or alcohol despite the inability to responsibly pay for them. People who are addicted to substances may choose to buy drugs or alcohol despite their upcoming bills or may sell off their personal property to be able to afford substances.
Additionally, a person struggling with addiction may steal or borrow money from loved ones. They may also steal drugs from friends or family in an attempt to get their next fix.
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Effects Of Prescription Drug Abuse
The effects of prescription drugs vary depending on the type of medication, however there are some common effects for all types of substance abuse. These effects include:
- Employment problems or loss of job
- Psychological issues
Some common co-occurring disorders found with prescription addiction include:
- Depressive disorders
Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose
How To Tell If Someone Is Using Drugs
Drug use affects people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic statuses. Whatever the reason a person starts taking drugs, whether recreationally or as prescribed, tolerance, patterns of increased use, physical dependence and, ultimately, addiction may developsometimes before the user even realizes it.1
When a full-blown substance-use disorder develops, it can be extremely difficult to stop using drugs without professional treatment.2 Drug use can wreak havoc on the body and mind and may eventually become deadly. When you realize that you or someone you love has a problem, its essential to get help right away. There is no shame in admitting that you need treatment for drug use doing so can be life-saving. Learn about drug detox helplines.
Use of most substances will produce noticeable signs and symptoms. These may include physical or behavioral symptomsmost likely both.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Addiction How To Tell If Someone Needs Help For A Drug Problem
Understanding the science behind addiction can be complicated. Some people might think that people become addicted if they dont have any willpower or good morals. In actuality, addiction is a complex and chronic brain disease that can affect people from all backgrounds. It can happen to anyone at any age.
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted because drugs have a different effect on everyone. Some people use drugs experimentally on occasion in a social setting. However, if usage becomes more regular, some people lose the ability to control when and how much they are using. Over time, drugs change behavior and how the brain, body, and mind function. This is how drug addiction, medically known as substance use disorder, develops. These changes can be long-lasting and cause stressful problems like missing work, legal issues, physical health problems, and trouble with family and friends.
Signs Of Benzodiazepine Abuse
Benzodiazepines are a prescription medication used to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures, alcohol withdrawal, and other conditions. These drugs are among the most highly prescribed in America. Benzodiazepines are mainly available in tablet or capsule form, though some are manufactured as injectable liquids and syrups. Short-term use is generally safe, but abuse can cause numerous complications.
As benzodiazepines are sedatives, some of their side effects overlap with the general signs of addiction. Persons using benzodiazepines may experience the following side effects, including:
- Impaired coordination
There are many well-known brands of benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Diazepam, Valium, and Klonopin. These pharmaceuticals can be acquired in numerous ways. Some people have legitimate prescriptions but may have used deceptive means to get them from more than one doctor. Currently, doctors do not have the benefit of a national database that stores information on a clients active prescriptions. The illegal circulation of benzodiazepines does not only happen on the street, it also happens when those holding a prescription share these drugs with others.
It is important to understand that even though benzodiazepines are legal, they may be used in a way that makes the use illegal. If a person is showing the signs of abuse, it is critical to get them help.
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Signs Of Heroin Abuse
Many people who suspect heroin abuse in a loved one or colleague may not even know what this substance or its related paraphernalia look like. As the Foundation for a Drug-Free World explains, heroin is white in its pure form, but other substances are often cut into it and turn it rose gray, brown, or black.
Heroin paraphernalia include the containers used to transport it and instruments used to consume it. Examples of paraphernalia include but are not limited to:
- Small pieces of foil with burn marks
Heroin is a highly addictive drug and an overdose can prove fatal. For this reason, signs of heroin addiction should be taken seriously, and measures should be taken to stage an intervention or otherwise convince a loved one to join a rehab program.
How Long Do Illicit Drugs Stay In Your System
The detection time for drugs in the system depends largely on the drug, how much has been taken, and the duration of use.
Drugs can be detected in your system in the initial days after the last use through a urine or blood test. While hair follicle tests can detect drugs in your system for months after theyâve been used.
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Effects Of Withdrawal And Overdose For Prescription Drug Abuse
Physical withdrawal symptoms will be different depending on the type of prescription medication consumed. Withdrawal symptoms will also differ depending on how much of the drug is consumed, the amount of time abused, and the level of addiction. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms may include:
Who Is At Risk For Drug Addiction
Various risk factors can make you more likely to become addicted to drugs, including
- Your biology. People can react to drugs differently. Some people like the feeling the first time they try a drug and want more. Others hate how it feels and never try it again.
- Mental health problems. People who have untreated mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder are more likely to become addicted. This can happen because drug use and mental health problems affect the same parts of the brain. Also, people with these problems may use drugs to try to feel better.
- Trouble at home. If your home is an unhappy place or was when you were growing up, you might be more likely to have a drug problem.
- Trouble in school, at work, or with making friends. You might use drugs to get your mind off these problems.
- Hanging around other people who use drugs. They might encourage you to try drugs.
- Starting drug use when youre young. When kids use drugs, it affects how their bodies and brains finish growing. This increases your chances of becoming addicted when youre an adult.
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Does Everyone Who Takes Drugs Become Addicted
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. Everyones bodies and brains are different, so their reactions to drugs can also be different. Some people may become addicted quickly, or it may happen over time. Other people never become addicted. Whether or not someone becomes addicted depends on many factors. They include genetic, environmental, and developmental factors.
Addiction To Prescription Drugs
Many people associate drug abuse with illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin. But addiction is far more common with prescription medications such as sleeping pills and tranquilizers. Drug dependence, which can be psychological or physical, is an uncontrollable desire to experience the pleasurable effects of a drug or to prevent the unpleasant effects of withdrawal.
Your body can build up a tolerance to a drug so that the dose must be increased to achieve the same results. This effect is called drug tolerance. It is characteristic of most commonly abused drugs, including alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Commonly abused prescription and over-the-counter medicines include opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone , sleep medicines such as zolpidem and eszopiclone , and stimulants such as methylphenidate .
When a person becomes physically dependent on a prescription medicine, the body has adapted to the drug’s effects so much that stopping it causes withdrawal symptoms. The only way to get free of it is to slowly use less and less, under a doctor’s supervision, to prevent severe symptoms of withdrawal.
In a small number of people , addictive behavior can develop during treatment with narcotics or tranquilizers. In these circumstances, supportive counseling combined with careful monitoring of prescribed dosages may be necessary to prevent addiction.
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Prescription Drug Addiction Phase Ii: Misuse
Misusing prescription drugs is similar to non-medical use, but its done at a chronic level. In other words, if youve taken more than the recommended dose a couple of times, this is considered non-medical use. But if you find yourself regularly misusing prescription drugs, then youve slipped into the second phase of prescription drug addiction. This is a crucial phase in addiction because it is where a persons tolerance is built up, which means they will have to keep increasing the dosage amount in order to keep experiencing the same pain relief or type of high. Tolerance is the gateway into dependence and addiction. Opiate painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl and others are especially prone to dependence and addiction if misused beyond their recommended doses.
Learn About Prescription Drugs And Substance Abuse
Most people go to the doctor for legitimate medical reasons and are prescribed medication to manage a host of conditions. Most people take these medications as directed and stop when the course of medication is over. However, some individuals come to like the effects of certain types of prescription medications and continue using these drugs in a manner other than intended by the physician.
Prescription drug abuse is the usage of prescription medications in a way not intended by the prescribing physician for the effects produced by taking the drug. Prescription drug abuse includes acts such as using a loved ones prescription pain killers to relieve symptoms of a particularly brutal migraine. Others may crush up the prescription medications and snort them or dilute the powdered drug in water for injection to obtain a strong high or rush. The most common classes of prescription drugs that are abused include prescription painkillers, sedatives, anti-anxiety agents, and stimulants.
Anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives, including Xanax, Valium, and Ambien, are prescribed to individuals who are struggling with anxiety or sleep disorders. Individuals who abuse these drugs often report doing so in order to counteract the effects of stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine, or to increase intoxication by mixing them with other downers such as alcohol or opioid narcotics.
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08/20/2021|Ruben Bermea, LPC
Drug addiction can lead to serious consequences for both the individual using drugs and those around them.1 When left untreated, substance misuse can affect families and children, households, and communities.2 People experiencing the signs of addiction may benefit from support in seeking addiction treatment services.3
In This Article:
Signs And Symptoms Of Prescription Drug Abuse
When individuals are abusing prescription drugs, the signs and symptoms that they may exhibit will vary depending upon the specific type of medication that they are consuming. However, some common examples of behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms that may arise that could indicate that someone is struggling with a prescription drug abuse problem include:
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Going to multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions
- Altered ability to perform occupationally
- Frequent absences from work
- No longer participating in activities that one once found enjoyable
- Loss of sound judgment
- Periods of emotional detachment or emotional numbness
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
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Material Signs Of Drug Addiction
Physical clues may be evident of substance misuse. Take note of any paraphernalia that you encounter, such as:
- Pill bottles for someone elses prescriptions
- Baggies or containers used to store or transport substances
If you have concerns, ask questions. Taking an open, curious, and compassionate approach to discuss your concerns can foster supportive conversation. Prioritize safety and set firm limits to protect yourself, your family, and any other people who may be affected by your loved ones substance use or addiction.
What Can You Do If You Suspect Prescription Drug Addiction
If you suspect prescription drug addiction, you can help a loved one by scheduling individual, group, or family counseling sessions that help determine the factors that lead to the person consuming the drug and the skills for resisting cravings. You can also opt for addiction intervention, which is especially ideal for users who are unable to see or unwilling to accept they have a problem.
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Youve Noticed Missing Money Items Or Medications
If you live with a suspected pain pill addict, you may have noticed that some objects around your house have gone missing. It could be your favorite pair of diamond earrings or a brand-new iPod or TV. It could even be items like clothing or decorations. While it may be hard to believe, the person youre living with could be selling these for money to buy more prescription drugs to support their habit. Its no surprise, then, that you may have also noticed some of your cash has gone missing. Or maybe a credit card that you simply thought you left at a restaurant and had to cancel. And though your loved one may put on a convincing show of ignorance, this pattern of events may be far too regular to be random. Watch out for missing medication as well. Though you may not be holding their exact drug of choice, they might still be traded or sold on the streets.
Effects Of Painkiller Addiction
The effects of prescription painkiller abuse and addiction can lead to devastating consequences for those who abuse them. Prescription drug abuse can leave virtually no area of an addicts life unscathed. Effects will range from mild to severe depending upon individual genetic makeup, frequency of use, length of abuse, and other factors. Most common effects of prescription painkiller abuse include:
- Social isolation
- Inability to quit using prescription painkillers despite multiple attempts to cut down or stop using
- Increasing physical consequences of prescription painkiller abuse
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Signs And Symptoms Of Opioid Addiction
Opioids can produce a euphoric feeling and are mainly prescribed to manage pain. In 2019, an estimated 9.7 million people above the age of 12 years old abused prescription opioids, involving diverted opioid medications, misuse of prescribed opioid medications, or illicit opioids. Opioid addiction is a chronic illness that is associated with high mortality and morbidity rates.2
How Drug Use Starts
For some individuals, substance abuse begins when they start socially experimenting with various substances. This can be the case with drugs such as amphetamines, alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs.
Opioid abuse can begin differently. People who become addicted to opioids are often prescribed prescription drugs, such as painkillers, often following something like an accident or surgery. They can then start taking higher doses of those prescription drugs, which can lead to abuse. They may also seek cheaper forms of opioids, such as heroin. Overall, 75% of heroin users report that the first opioid they took was a prescription drug.
When someone begins using drugs of any kind, they may start feeling as if they need larger and more frequent doses to get the same effects, even with something that started as social experimentation. This is called tolerance.
Drug use can start at any age. However, starting during childhood or adolescence is linked to an increased risk of dependence on the substance, where they feel like they need the drug to function normally.
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