The use of painkillers, especially those prescribed by a doctor, has been steadily increasing for some time; with the term “Prozac Nation” becoming apt. Whether the drugs are being prescribed because of surgery, migraine, injury or other long-term problems, these prolonged periods of administering prescription drugs could lead people to become addicted to pain medication. Additionally, some of the most common painkillers can also become highly addictive if not managed properly.
However, there is help out there. Sites such as Pain Scale help people to recognize and manage their pain; reducing chances of addiction. However, recognizing addiction in friends, loved ones or even yourself is incredibly important. Therefore, here are a few signs you should be on the lookout for, especially if you know someone who is currently taking prescription drugs.
Those who are on long-term painkillers will often find that their tolerance increases over time as they become more resistant to the drugs. Therefore, this can lead them to up their intake in the hopes of getting a better effect. If the intake is achieved through a doctor and carefully watched, then this may not be a problem to highlight. However, if they are increasing the dose themselves, it could be a potential problem.
Unwarranted Prolonged Use
Another sign that someone could be becoming dependent on a prescription is prolonged use after the need has gone. This can be evident when someone is prescribed pain medication for an injury or surgery, yet they are still taking the pain medicine well past the recovery date. Therefore, if they are continuing to use the painkillers after the injury or the surgery has healed, then this could signal a dependency.
Changes in mood and behaviour can be an early sign that something is not quite right. They could be lacking in energy and concentration or finding it difficult to get motivated. They may even become uninterested in their priorities or leave important jobs unfinished. This type of low mood should be a cause for concern in any instance, but can also be a sign of addiction. Additionally, some addicts may become threatening or violent when without their drugs.
Memory Loss and Blackouts
Another indication that someone has a dependency problem is them experiencing a lack of memory or blackouts. Therefore, if they are regularly forgetting things or suffering from gaps in their memory, this could be because they are under the effects of drugs most of their day. Look out for frequent blackouts that cannot be explained.
When someone has been prescribed painkillers, it is usually only for a short period, or under a regular review. If you know someone who has been denied another prescription and is desperate to see other doctors, then it could be a cause for concern.
Although pain medication helps millions of people worldwide, it can also have serious, life-threatening effects on those who become dependent. Therefore, recognizing these signs and helping them to obtain the proper help is important for their physical as well as mental well-being. However, most importantly of all is the love and support of family and friends. This can often be the catalyst to them seeking help and starting the road to recovery.