SURVIVOR SERIES: RECOGNIZING AN ADDICTION TO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
We’ve heard it a million times, “drugs are bad.” So why are thousands of people in the US abusing prescription drugs? An addiction might start because a person needs pain medication for an injury and eventually craves the medication to feel ‘normal’ again. Usually the addiction starts undetected by even the abuser, so by the time they realize help is needed, it’s a painful process to kick the addiction. Recognizing addiction in its early stages can make a huge difference in the path to recovery.
Warning Signs of Addiction
- Change in activities – An addict is focused on where to get his/her next fix- daily tasks don’t matter. Other activities that used to give them pleasure are not as important anymore.
- Change in personality – this is a major warning sign if you start to notice overwhelming personality changes. This could be increased aggression, or decreased concentration.
- Defensive – An addict will become extremely defensive if he/she thinks that someone is trying to take the drugs away, or if he/she is accused of having a problem.
- Amount of time getting medication – Obtaining medication takes excessively long, and is overly complex (driving out of town, setting up multiple doctors’ appointments). These are evasive measures, to make sure that no one is catching on to the issue.
- Social withdrawal – An addict will slowly start to cut off communication with family and old friends. Again, what matters most is his/her next fix.
If you suspect that you, a roommate, family member or friend are addicted to prescription medication, it is important to get help early from a professional. Remember: addiction can be overcome!
Katy Osborn, Peer Educator
Elana Ginsburg, Lifestyles Center Intern