Do you suspect your loved one has a dependency on prescription medication? Remember, even if your loved one has a valid prescription for certain opioids, they still could be abusing them. They also could be illegally buying prescription medications or even “borrowing” them as well. How do you know if your loved one is abusing prescription pills? Here are a few signs to look out for and what you should do if you suspect a loved one is addicted.
1. Changes in Your Loved One’s Mood
Changes in behavior and attitude are a huge red flag that your loved one may secretly be struggling with prescription drug abuse.
Extreme mood swings can be indicative of withdrawals from opioids or other prescription drugs. Here’s how it works: When an addicted loved one’s “fix” wears off, they can begin to get irritable or aggressive because of the chemical changes occurring in their brain. Other withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on the drug type, but here are some to look out for.
Depression, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, sleeping problems, intense dreams, irregular heart rate
Seizures, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, sweating, tremors/shakes, increased heart rate
Irritability, anxiety, pain, sweating or chills, dilated pupils, or stomach issues such as abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
It can be as simple as noticing that your loved one always seems in a better mood when they return from the bathroom. Don’t let this kind of behavior fool you. Withdrawals are a serious health danger and could even take your loved one’s life. Dependency on opioids and other prescription drugs is a deadly illness that needs to be treated professionally.
2. Changes in Sleep Patterns Signifying Prescription Abuse
Depending on whether the drug of choice is a sedative, stimulant, or pain reliever, medications can have significant effects on sleeping patterns. If your loved one is abusing amphetamine, for example, they may have insomnia. If you notice your loved one sleeping at odd hours of the day or for unusually long periods of time, they may be abusing a sedative or opioid.
You might think that sleeping is harmless, but you can’t afford to take this kind of behavior lightly. Addiction is life threatening, and it only takes one mistake to fatally overdose.
3. Borrowing & Stealing Prescription Medication or Doctor Shopping
If you’ve ever overheard your loved one asking to “borrow” prescription medication from someone else, or you’ve noticed pills vanishing from your bathroom, this is a huge red flag. They may have a dependency on prescription pills.
Another sign that your loved one may be addicted to prescription medication is if you notice them “doctor shopping” or “pharmacy hopping”. Many people struggling with a prescription medication addiction will see multiple doctors to get more than one prescription for a substance. This then results in them having to go to different pharmacies to get each of those prescriptions filled. You can tell this is happening if you notice pill bottles with different doctors and pharmacy names on them.
Help for Prescription Pill Addiction
If your loved one is abusing prescription drugs, they’re in danger — whether those pills were legally prescribed or not. Once you suspect there is a problem, what do you do?
It may feel impossible to approach a loved one about their problem, but you can start by having a simple conversation. Ask them how they are. Simply showing you care may be the nudge they need to seek addiction treatment.
Keep in mind that addiction is a chronic, fatal disease. To treat that disease, they most likely will need to seek professional treatment to fully heal.
At Acqua Recovery, we use a trauma-informed approach to treat addiction and to begin to heal the years of trauma that often lie underneath it. Sitting by our serene waters, your loved one can focus on themselves and overcome their prescription pill addiction, so you can get your loved one back. Give us a call today to learn more about opioid abuse and how you can help your loved one.