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Signs That a Loved One May be Overusing Prescription Medication

July 16th, 2015 4:37pm

Signs That a Loved One May be Overusing Prescription Medication

Painkillers are used in excess by millions of Americans daily.  Although the original intention in using prescription painkillers is intended to reduce pain for a short period of time, it is a common occurrence when painkillers become part of a regular routine.  It can be difficult for loved ones to tell the difference between using medication for pain management, and abusing it.  Where is the boundary?  Here are some sure signs that may indicate whether an individual has graduated to a physical dependency and how to help a loved one overcome the addiction.

Sign #1-  Decrease in energy level.  Do they seem drowsy and tired?  Are they missing out on activities and social events that they wouldn’t normally miss out on?  If this seems to be consistent and you begin to notice tired eyes and facial expressions, or there seems to be a withdrawal from family and friends, they may be overusing their medication.

Sign #2- Lack in concentration and motivation.  Having a hard time focusing and lacking the drive to complete tasks can be another indication.  It could be simple daily tasks that seem to go incomplete, or failing to maintain a consistent workload. This can in part be due to the fact that the individual is now reliant on their medication and it consumes or interferes with their natural thought process. They may think about their medication constantly; do they have enough? how can they get more? how do they hide it from those around them?  Aside from being preoccupied, painkillers can cause chemical changes in the brain. These chemical changes can disrupt the way that messages are communicated in the brain, causing a lack of concentration.

Sign #3- Social life becomes non existent. It is difficult to maintain healthy friendships and relationships when the body is constantly tired and an individual is withdrawing from those around them.  It is common to forgo healthy and regular social activities in order to keep isolated or spend time with those engaging in the same thing.  

Sign #4- Personality changes. Aside from acting less social than usual, painkillers can cause mood swings and may be the blame for unusual manners.  Communicating in an angry, agitated, and even hostile way is common.  Depression and anxiety are also very common side effects of physical dependency, both of which are red flags if not properly looked after and treated.  

Sign #5- Changes in appearance.  A common side effect to high doses of prescription medication can be irritated or itchy skin. Heavy scratching may occur and even skin acne or heavily red and irritated skin may develop.  The eye pupils can also appear constricted on a regular basis and their eyes may appear more droopy than normal. Additionally, physical dependency can result in eating habit changes, nausea, or even weight loss.

What can YOU do?

First, approach the friend or loved one in a kind and nonjudgmental manner.  Meet with the person and discuss your concerns. Go into this meeting well researched and with some options in mind, structure is key.  However, these conversations can be difficult and often require a trained professional.

Here at Recovia, we approach dependency and addiction in a biopsychosocial manner.  Patients have the ability to undergo detox treatment while simultaneously receiving care to improve function, mental health, and overall lifestyle habits. If you believe a friend or a loved one may need help, Recovia might be an option.

Recovia is a functional flex-care program that aims to maximize recovery for individuals suffering from chronic pain, injury, or dependency.  The mission is to provide a compassionate, comprehensive, cost effective, and individualized functional rehabilitation program.  For more information, please contact us at 480-364-4009 or visit our information page.

The advice and information provided herein is for educational purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.  Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.


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