10 Warning Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse
Right now prescription drug addiction in Colorado, and throughout the country is skyrocketing, especially with teens and young adults.
“Prescription drug misuse and abuse is a serious problem both nationally and here in Colorado. Each year, overdose deaths from opioid painkillers alone number approximately 17,000 nationally and 300 in Colorado. Such deaths are now more common than alcohol-related traffic fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call prescription drug overdose deaths one of the four most serious epidemics facing the nation.” Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention.
“The most recent national statistics count more than 33,000 opioid-related deaths across the U.S. in 2015. Many victims are young, often in their 20s or 30s. Increasingly, many are white. But the plague touches all demographics: farmers and musicians, lawyers and construction workers, stay-at-home moms and the homeless.” -statforecast.com
10 Warning Signs
Are you concerned that your loved one may have an addiction? Check out the 10 major warning signs of teenage prescription drug addiction:
1. Change in friends:
When an addict starts using, quite often they will gravitate towards people that are doing the same thing. They will also pull away from friends and family they feel would disapprove or be disappointed in them.
2. Change in personality:
This can happen very quickly or escalate over time. Some changes can include lashing out, withdrawing from social activities, becoming depressed or even suicidal.
3. Increased secrecy:
It can be normal for a teen to want more privacy, but when you add addiction in the mix this need will increase, to the point that they might lash out or disappear for long periods of time.
4. Unexplained need for money:
This is quite often paired with theft from family members. Either cash or something they can sell for money. The addict will also become upset or combative when pushed about what the money is for.
5. Frequent Unexplained injuries:
Drugs and alcohol will impair decision making as well as balance. Some addicts are also more likely to get into physical altercations due to potential mood swings caused by the chemical imbalances triggered by drug use. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), “Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among young people aged 16 to 19. When teens’ relative lack of driving experience is combined with the use of marijuana or other substances that affect cognitive and motor abilities, the results can be tragic.”
6. Missing household medications:
In America, prescription drugs are a 2.8 billion dollar industry. Any household that the addict has access to is a target. According to Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2012, Ann Arbor: Institute for Social research, University of Michigan, “Many teens feel that prescription drugs are ‘safer to use’ than street drugs since they are prescribed by a physician. Teens state that they are ‘easier to get than beer’ because prescription medications are easily obtained from friends and family medicine cabinets.”
7. Sudden Sleeping Changes:
Some medications such act as an “upper” and can keep an addict up for days. After the effects wear off, the user will “crash” and sleep for extended periods of time. Often it can be difficult to wake them up in this state. This is often experience by students that are feeling overwhelmed by their school work loads and feel like they need additional help to get everything done.
8. Poor Grades:
An addict will often lose interest in anything that doesn’t have to do with using and therefore not put effort into things like homework and school attendance. It can also be difficult to maintain focus when using.
9. Diet changes:
When an addict is under the effects of some medications they might go long periods of time with no appetite or suddenly overeat. It is also not unusual for teens to use prescription drugs to lose weight. These kinds of uppers can be very dangerous, causing high blood pressure and mineral deficiency.
10. Change in physical appearance:
These changes may include bloodshot eyes, widely dilated pupils, sudden weight loss or weight gain, poor hygiene, frequent nosebleeds, shakes or tremors, and red/flushed cheeks.
If you have a loved one that you suspect has an addiction problem, they likely have more than one of these symptoms. If your loved one exhibits multiple symptoms, InnerBalance Recovery is here to help. Download our FREE Guide to Surviving Addiction to discover more about what addiction is, how it can be treated and resources available to you as a caregiver.
We are also available to talk, answer questions and support you through the recovery journey. Call InnerBalance at 1-800-900-2252 to speak with our admissions coordinators today to start the journey of lifelong recovery.