Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

How to Tell If a Loved One Is Abusing Your Rx Drugs

How to Tell If a Loved One Is Abusing Your Rx DrugsIn 2009 the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 16 million Americans, ages 12 and over, had abused a prescription narcotic within the previous year. The largest increase in prescription drug abuse has occurred among teens and young adults. Every day close to 2,000 teens, aged 12-17, abuse a prescription drug for the first time according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Symptoms of Rx Drug Abuse

Some warning signs can indicate that someone you love is abusing your prescription drugs. While symptoms of drug abuse vary according to the substance taken, a few general symptoms include the following:

  • Severe mood swings
  • Lack of judgment
  • Doctor shopping or seeing many doctors to get multiple prescriptions
  • Claiming to have “lost” prescriptions so more can be written
  • The unexplained avoidance of friends, family and loved ones
  • Lying, stealing, sneaking around or other suspicious behavior
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Inconsistent complaints about pain or other symptoms
  • A change in sleep habits
  • Appearing to be sedated

The Dangers of Rx Drug Abuse

The dangers of prescription drug abuse are just as damaging as those produced from illegal drug abuse. Prescription drug abuse can be habit-forming, and over time a person can develop both a physical and psychological addiction to drugs. An addiction to prescription drugs can destroy a person’s life; damaging relationships, careers, finances and causing extreme health concerns. There are many categories of drugs, and each of these has its own dangers when abused. The risks associated with certain drugs include the following:

  • Opioids such as OxyContin or Vicodin can cause depression, low blood pressure, decreased respiration, mental confusion, constipation and death.
  • Central nervous system depressants such as Valium or Ativan can result in sedation, drowsiness, confusion, seizures, irrational thinking, slowed breathing, slowed heart rate, permanent brain damage and death.
  • Stimulants such as Ritalin may lead to extreme weight loss, irritability, agitation, paranoia, insomnia, increased blood pressure, heart complications and death.

What to Do If a Loved One Is Abusing Your Rx Drugs

If you suspect that someone close to you is abusing Rx drugs prepare for a conversation. Denial is common among drug users, and the last thing they want to feel is attacked. If it is likely that a loved one is indeed abusing Rx drugs, then help must be sought out immediately. The longer drug abuse persists, the harsher the consequences. To approach a person who is abusing drugs, one must express her concern without blaming or judging the addict. One of the most successful approaches for getting an addict help is by staging an intervention. It can be uncomfortable to approach a loved one who is struggling with drug abuse, but without help a loved one faces grave danger. Drug abuse treatment can save a person’s life.

Finding Treatment for Rx Drug Abuse

If you believe someone you love has a problem with Rx drug abuse, getting help may save his life. For more information about Rx drug abuse treatment programs please call our toll-free helpline today. Our highly-trained addiction counselors can speak with you about finding treatment, staging and intervention, the costs of treatment and the process of addiction treatment as a whole. Let experienced rehab professionals guide you through this difficult time. We are here 24 hours a day to help, so do the right thing and call today.

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