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How to Spot Prescription Pill Addiction

Most people who use prescription pills to manage conditions such as anxiety and pain use their medications consistently to maintain their therapeutic effects. As people come to rely on these drugs, they may not see anything wrong with taking an extra pill every now and then. However, users of these medications often fail to recognize how addictive they can be, and they develop a dependency more quickly than they realize.

Spotting signs of abuse and addiction to prescription medications can often be more challenging than it is to identify warning signs of addiction to illicit drugs such as meth or cocaine. The possible red flags vary among classes of drug, which complicates the problem of identifying when someone has begun to develop a substance use disorder.

Signs of Prescription Anti-Anxiety Abuse

The most common anti-anxiety medications are central nervous system depressants. These drugs reduce activity in the brain and lead to a calm, relaxed state. While these results make CNS depressants a viable option for treating anxiety and sleep disorders, taking them without a prescription or in larger quantities than prescribed leads to side effects like dizziness, slowed breathing, slurred speech and inability to concentrate.

People who misuse depressants may seem uncoordinated and confused. It may also be challenging for them to recognize their surroundings or answer straightforward questions. 

If you become physically dependent on anti-anxiety medications, you will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms as quickly as a few hours after last taking the drug. Because this class of medication interacts directly with the nervous system, withdrawal symptoms are severe and potentially life-threatening. They include:

  • Severe cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Agitation and paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Seizures

If you are abusing benzodiazepines and other anti-anxiety medications, medical supervision will be necessary to help eliminate the drugs from your system and ensure a safe, comfortable start to recovery.

Signs of Prescription Opioid Abuse

Painkiller pill addiction is driving what may be the most severe addiction epidemic in the world. The most recent research reveals 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids from 2016 to 2017, and 2.1 million people met the criteria for an opioid use disorder.

Chronic pain is a severe issue that affects millions of Americans, and painkillers are an effective way to treat pain in the short term. However, the longer someone takes opioids, the more likely it is they will become addicted. These rapidly worsening side effects can be signs that you are taking more than your prescription specifies:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Sedation

These side effects can accompany legitimate opioid use, but if they are suddenly more intense or apparent than usual, it can be because you have begun using the medication outside your prescription guidelines. 

Withdrawal from opioids is intensely unpleasant, and can prevent you from moving forward with detoxification and recovery, even if you are determined to get sober. Once the body has become physically dependent on opioids, a person accustomed to their use will start experiencing these symptoms within hours after last taking the medication.

The most painful and challenging part of withdrawal comes two to four days later and brings:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Goosebumps

Opioid withdrawals are the most significant signs of pain pill addiction, and can stop even the most motivated person in their tracks when it comes to recovery. Getting the appropriate treatment is the most effective way to reduce the severe symptoms and complete the elimination of opioids from the body.

Your New Beginning Starts at Inland Detox

Inland Detox is Southern California’s leading provider of drug and alcohol detox. In our comfortable facility, you or a loved one can get the help you need to stop using prescription medications and move safely into your next stage of addiction treatment. Contact us today to learn more.