Thousands of people rely on prescription pain medications for relief of the discomfort and pain that can come with a variety of different kinds of ailments. The most commonly prescribed prescription pain medications like Percocet, Lortab, Vicodin, and OxyContin offer a great deal of pain relief, but are also highly addictive. A simple use of these kinds of drugs can quickly turn into a dependence and then an addiction without anyone taking notice.
Here are some signs to watch out for indicating that you or someone you love may have a problem with prescription pain medication addiction:
1. Increasing Dosage / Usage
It is normal for the body to become accustomed to prescription pain medications over time. The body will build up a tolerance so that the user will need to take more and more of his or her chosen pain medication to achieve the same effects that were experienced at the beginning of treatment. If you or your loved one are increasing your dosage or usage over time, this is a sign that the amounts that you were taking before are no longer providing relief and that your body is developing a tolerance. This may be a sign that you need to back off or stop taking the medication altogether. Either way, a consultation with the prescribing doctor is in order.
2. Continued Use
Once you find that you are taking more and more the prescription pain medication to achieve the same effect, it is time to do something about it. If you make the decision to do nothing but continue to take the medication and increase your dosage without consulting your doctor, this is a sign of impending addiction as well. Continued use can also be a warning sign if you are feeling better, but you keep taking the prescription pain medication. You or your loved one might start to complain about continuing to feel pain even though it is gone just so that you can continue to take your chosen pain medication.
3. Personality Changes
If it is your loved one who has been experiencing the problem with prescription pain medication, you may notice some personality changes. If your loved ones are commenting on personality changes in you, it might be a warning sign for you to take notice of. You may experience mood shifts, energy fluctuations, and have difficulty concentrating on and completing tasks. Your everyday responsibilities are likely to become secondary to your prescription pain medication addiction.
4. Excessive Time Spent Gathering Prescription Pain Medication
As the addiction grows, you or your loved one will need to spend more and more time obtaining your prescription pain medication. At first, this will probably include visits to multiple doctors and multiple pharmacies to get prescriptions filled. Later, if the doctors catch on and stop prescribing, or you are to a point where so many pills are needed that you cannot get enough from the doctors. This is when you will need to turn to more illegal means. Tracking down someone who will sell you prescription pain medication without a prescription can be a big job and a time consuming one as well.
5. Increased Sensitivity
Because of your prescription pain medication addiction, you will be more sensitive to outside stimulation. It may be noticeable that you or your loved one is easily overwhelmed by emotional, auditory, or visual stimuli. Eventually, you may start to have hallucinations because of all of this stimuli. In a loved one, hallucinations are difficult to monitor, but if you are the one with the prescription pain medication addiction, and you are having hallucinations, seek the help of a trained professional immediately.
6. On the Defensive
If someone asks you or your loved on a question that could be leading toward the discovery of the drug dependency or addiction, you or the loved one immediately becomes defensive. You might get angry and belligerent. Some of the first things that drugs addicts learn are lying and hiding. Defensiveness covers both of these things. You might lie in order to better hide your addiction.
Prescription pain medications are safe when taken under the supervision of a doctor who will be closely monitoring you for signs of dependency. But they are also very dangerous and can get out of hand very quickly. Taking extra precautions when prescribed pain medications can help keep you safe from the beginning.