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What is prescription medication abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is the use of any prescribed medication in a way not intended by the prescriber. Also called prescription drug misuse, this substance use disorder includes everything from taking a friend’s prescription painkiller for your backache to snorting or injecting ground-up pills to get high.

Prescription drug abuse often takes place in the form of prescription painkillers like hydrocodone and OxyContin® but may also include tranquilizers like benzodiazepines including Ativan®, Xanax®, and Valium®, and are often used in combination with noncontrolled medications. These medications can include baclofen, muscle relaxants like Soma® and methocarbamol and even anticonvulsant medications like gabapentin and Lyrica®.

Common signs and symptoms of prescription medication abuse

Prescription medication dependence shows up in behavioral, physical, cognitive (mental), or psychosocial symptoms that may include some or all of the following:

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Withdrawal from friends and family members
  • Unprovoked anger
  • Association with a new peer group
  • Dramatic change in appearance, including clothing, weight, and personal hygiene
  • Lying about one’s whereabouts and engaging in other deceptive acts
  • Unexplained absences from work
  • Unexplained decline in performance at work
  • Changes in financial status (suddenly having no money, asking to borrow or being suspected of stealing from friends, family members, or colleagues)

Physical Symptoms

  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Shallow breathing and slowed heart rate
  • Itchiness
  • Delayed reflexes or response times
  • Apparent numbness to physical pain
  • Unexplained rashes

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Memory problems
  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Impaired problem-solving skills
  • Poor spatial relations
  • General confusion
  • Obsession with acquiring and using drugs
  • Inability to plan or follow through on plans

Psychosocial Symptoms

  • Unpredictable mood swings, including a tendency to quickly become angry
  • Panic and anxiety
  • Episodes of depression
  • Paranoia

Withdrawal Symptoms

Anytime an individual who has been abusing prescription medications for a prolonged time suddenly discontinues their use, withdrawal symptoms have the potential to occur. Some of the most common symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal may include:

  • Cravings to use
  • Nausea
  • Cramping in the stomach
  • Sweating
  • Chills or goose bumps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritation or agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Shakes or trembling
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bone pain

Getting treatment

Direct2Recovery uses clinically proven drug rehabilitation treatment methods that are carefully prescribed according to the patient’s individual needs. We will make a medical assessment based on your current health conditions and determine a course of treatment that will best address your dependency.

Thankfully, there is hope. We have over 10 years of experience that proves you can recover. Compassionate, comprehensive drug abuse treatment is available through Direct2Recovery. Call and make an appointment for your personal assessment today.

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