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What are the Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?

Just because a doctor prescribes a medication does not necessarily mean it is less likely to be an agent of addiction than a drug bought on the street. Prescription drug abuse is a skyrocketing issue in many regions, causing addictions that may be far more difficult to pick up on than typical drug or alcohol problems. Looking for the signs of prescription drug abuse can not only help identify a person at risk of developing an addiction, it may help save a person's life.

Physical signs of prescription drug abuse may be different depending on the type of medication used and the amount taken. Red or bloodshot eyes are one common symptom, and prescription drug abusers may become extremely sensitive to loud noises and light exposure. Memory loss or an increase of forgetfulness may be another common sign of prescription drug abuse. Depending on the type of drug, hallucinations may also occur.

Behavioral changes are generally the hallmark of any form of addiction, whether it is to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication. Common signs of a developing drug problem include withdrawal or loss of interest in normal activities, unkempt appearance, personality changes, and increased sick days or neglected responsibilities. Many drugs tend to numb or dull emotional responses, and a person under the influence of drugs may appear lethargic, bored with life, or simply disconnected to the world.

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Those that abuse antidepressants or other drugs known as “uppers” may have the opposite reaction. It's not uncommon for prescription drug abusers to suddenly show bursts of manic or extreme energy, heightened emotion, and unchecked enthusiasm. These signs of prescription drug abuse may also be accompanied by decreased abilities to judge risks and danger, which can be a major threat to personal safety.

For those concerned that they are developing an addiction to prescription drug use, there are certain signs that can be self-monitored. Many people who are involved in prescription drug abuse build up a level of tolerance to the drugs, needing more and more to produce the same effect. When facing the prospect of running out of drugs, a person may feel panicked, anxious, and willing to lie or steal to get more of the drug. Constantly going from doctor to doctor in an attempt to get a new prescription despite their advice is a clear sign that an addiction may have developed.

People that are showing signs of prescription drug abuse are endangering their lives and those of people around them, and may even be committing crimes by obtaining drugs illegally or unlawfully. People with addictions often need outside help to confront and begin to manage their addiction. Once an addiction has reached the level of chemical dependence, the body can no longer properly function without a drug, and it becomes nearly impossible to quit without outside and medical help. There are many rehabilitation centers and programs dedicated to helping those with prescription drug abuse problems get help and achieve control over the situation.

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