Early Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is defined as “Taking drugs other than how they were prescribed to you,” and it is estimated that more than 18 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2017. Prescription drug addiction can lead to a dangerous opioid addiction, which increases the risk of overdose and death. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to medications originally prescribed by their medical doctor, find out how the prescription drug addiction treatment program at Midwest Recovery Center can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us confidentially online or call us at 833.627.0039.

The Phases of Prescription Drug Addiction

While every person’s path to prescription drug addiction will be different, there are common themes and phases. There are also early signs to spot and opportunities along the descent into addiction to usher your loved one or yourself into a prescription drug addiction rehab to get professional help.

Phase 1 of Prescription Drug Addiction: Non-medical Use

The first sign that someone is on the road to addiction is when they begin using prescription drugs for non-medicinal purposes. Some will take painkillers without a prescription recreationally or help cope with a co-occurring disorder or problem, and often these experiments with prescription drugs are not tied to a desire to continue using the drug, but non-medical use can become habit-forming and quickly move people into the second stage of prescription drug addiction.

For those who do have medical prescriptions for drugs, non-medical use involves taking a prescription more often than prescribed, using more than the doctor prescribed, or taking pills that are not prescribed to you specifically. If a person is using their prescription for non-medical purposes, it’s likely a red flag that they have begun to take their painkillers to get high, as opposed to treating pain. This is a strong indicator that a person is about to spiral into opiate addiction and may need the professional care of a prescription drug addiction treatment program to break free from their habit before it becomes treacherous and life-threatening.

Phase 2 of Prescription Drug Addiction: Misuse

Misusing prescription drugs is akin to non-medical use of phase 1, but it is done at a chronic level. If you have taken more than the recommended and prescribed dose just a few times, this is considered a non-medical use of the drug, but when you begin regularly misusing prescription drugs, you have entered phase 2 of prescription drug addiction. This is a critical moment in a descent into addiction because it is here where your tolerance is developed. This means you will have to increase the dosage and frequency of drug use to experience the same high or identical level of pain relief.

Because tolerance is the gateway to long-term dependence and opioid addiction, if persistent prescription drug use can be identified here, prescription drug addiction rehab can be started and help with a full recovery. Opiate painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, and Fentanyl are prone to dependence and addiction if misused beyond their recommended doses.

Phase 3 of Prescription Drug Addiction: Abuse

Repeated and chronic misuse of prescription drugs is a clear sign of drug abuse. When you reach this point, you are on the path toward addiction and need the medical help found in a prescription drug addiction treatment center like Midwest Recovery Center to help break the cycle and foster a successful recovery.

Other signs that you or a loved one is suffering from prescription drug abuse include:

  • Relationship problems
  • Missing work
  • Skipping school
  • Failure to meet other responsibilities

This is the stage of addiction where the warning signs of prescription drug abuse and an opiate addiction appear for all to see. Some of these common early signs include:

  • Craving
  • Obsessing about the drug
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Signs of withdrawal if the prescription drug is not used

Phase 4 of Prescription Drug Abuse: Addiction

Physical dependence on prescription drugs can swiftly lead to psychological dependence. When this does occur, a person is in the final stage of prescription drug abuse: addiction. Physical dependence refers to the withdrawal symptoms a person feels when not using the drug(s),  but a psychological dependence is a compulsive need to keep using, this despite knowing that there are severe negative consequences, including to:

  • Physical wellbeing
  • Mental health
  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Employment and career
  • Criminal record

Once a prescription drug addiction has taken hold, you may start timing doses, so you never come down from the high. This could take you down a path of stealing pills, doctor shopping, and buying pills illegally to never feel a withdrawal. If this sounds familiar to yourself or a loved one, learn how our prescription drug addiction treatment program can help right the ship before the seas become impassable.

The Early Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

It’s crucial that you’re aware of the early signs of prescription drug addiction, both in yourself and others in your life. If you know what to look for, you can seek out prescription drug addiction rehab that may not only help with recovery but also save a life. Here are the top 10 early signs of prescription drug addiction:

  1. Continued use of the drug, even after the pain it was prescribed for, has stopped
  2. Faking additional symptoms to obtain more drugs
  3. Mood and behavior changes
  4. Lack of interest in alternative treatment options
  5. Secretive behavior, like stealing prescriptions, doctor shopping, using other people’s prescriptions
  6. Physical withdrawal
  7. Needing more pills to ease the pain or get high
  8. Withdrawal from family, friends, and social life
  9. Financial issues
  10. Poor decision making

Learn More at Midwest Recovery

Learn how the prescription drug addiction treatment program at Midwest Recovery Center can help you break free from an addiction to doctor-prescribed meds today. Contact us using our secure online form or call us confidentially at 833.627.0039.