4 Warning Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse

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Scheduled or controlled prescription medications are commonly discussed because of their potential for abuse. Although these medications have an important place in the treatment of various conditions, such as anxiety or severe pain, all users of controlled medications should be aware of any warning signs of abuse or addiction. The sooner you recognize prescription drug abuse, the quicker you can utilize substance abuse treatment options and increase your chances of recovery.

Filling Prescriptions Too Close Together

Both doctors and pharmacies work together to monitor the amount of controlled substances that are dispensed. All controlled medications have a limit on the number of pills that can be dispensed for each prescription, if refills can be authorized on a single prescription, and how often you can receive refills. If you are attempting to refill a prescription prematurely, this is a sign that you are taking medication more often than prescribed, and the pharmacy will deny your request.

If you believe that asking a different doctor or filling your prescription at another pharmacy will work, it will not. Information on controlled substances in maintained in a central database. Although it is possible to receive a new prescription from a different doctor, a pharmacy will not fill the prescription if you have met your limit for the month.

Using Medication That's Not Yours

It is not uncommon for people you know to have similar medications around, whether they are used to help with anxiety or manage pain. Unfortunately, many people who are dealing with prescription drug abuse will take another person's medication, sometimes without asking.

Taking another person's medication, with or without asking, can be a sign of trouble. A friend or family member may give you their medication if you ask, because they feel intimidation or they are concerned that you will use other tactics to abuse drugs. You may become combative or insulting if your request is denied, or resort to buying medication off the street.

Another problem is the lack of empathy that can happen if you abuse prescription medications. You may know someone who has a chronic condition that requires use of prescription pain medications, but you do not care that taking their medication may leave them in pain or can make them appear to be abusing medications if they run out prematurely.

Altering Your Route Of Administration

Under normal circumstances, if you take your medication as prescribed and continue to experience problems because the medication is no longer effective at alleviating symptoms, your next step would be to talk to your doctor. When the underlying problem is not about the management of pain or anxiety, but the need to feel "high" or to satisfy a drug craving, you may change the way you administer the drug to feel quicker and more intense effects.

Since most prescription medications are administered as a pill, the medication will take longer to reach your blood stream and some of the medicine will be destroyed by stomach acid, which means the dosage that makes it to your blood stream is typically less than what you take. With prescription drug abuse, you may find ways to heighten the effect, such as crushing your pills and inhaling them, or dissolving the pills to administer them by injection.

Altering your administration of a medication is risky and can lead to a medical emergency or death. You do not know how much medication is entering your body through other routes of administration, and the quick absorption of large amounts of medication can result in an immediate, fatal overdose. Inhaling a crushed pill can cause respiratory problems and injecting a dissolved pill could cause infection, collapsed blood vessels or injecting air into a blood vessel.

Failing To Try Alternatives

Sometimes there are different medications that can alleviate or lessen symptoms without the need for a controlled substance. For example, if your medication is used to alleviate pain, you may be offered medication from a different class of medicines that is effective at alleviating inflammatory or nerve pain. Although the alternative medication may not completely eliminate pain, the medication may reduce the amount of controlled pain medication you take daily.

Another alternative may take the form of patches or pumps that are designed to reduce your ability to take more pain medicine than necessary. If you are not open to trying alternative medications, your use of pain medication is probably less about alleviating symptoms of your condition and more about satisfying an addiction.

The warning signs of prescription drug abuse are not always easy to distinguish from poorly controlled symptoms of a medical condition. If you or a loved one notice any signs of substance abuse, now is the time to speak with your doctor to effectively manage your condition, while treating substance abuse.