Prescription drugs are essential to the health of tens of millions of Americans. Most of these medications don’t have the potential to trigger addiction. However, many of the most widely prescribed medicines do have this potential. If you become addicted to one of these medications, prescription drug treatment may be a vital recovery requirement. But how do you know if you’ve crossed the threshold into addiction? Quick recognition of addiction’s hallmark signs can help you spot the onset of this condition as soon as possible.
What Causes Prescription Drug Addiction – How the Illness Develops
Large numbers of the most commonly prescribed medications are potentially addictive. That includes dozens of medicines classified as stimulants, opiates/opioids, or sedatives/tranquilizers. But what does it mean when you say that a given medication is addictive? In other words, what causes prescription drug addiction?
If you take an addictive medication long enough or in high enough amounts, it can change your brain chemistry. Specifically, your brain may develop an expectation that this medication will be present. That expectation, known as dependence, can impact you physically and psychologically.
Physical dependence is not uncommon. By itself, it does not equal addiction. However, when psychological dependence also arrives, the threshold of addiction is not far away. Why? Emotional reliance on a medication can be a jumping-off point for drug-seeking behavior. This behavior is involuntary. When accompanied by a disregard for the consequences of your actions, it heralds addiction’s full arrival.
Potential Indicators That You’re Addicted to Prescription Drugs
Are you addicted to prescription drugs? A consultation with a doctor or addiction specialist will provide the most accurate answer to this question. But how can you tell if you should seek such a consultation? Several things may indicate to you that it’s time to get help, including:
- Losing your ability to control your prescription drug use
- Becoming more and more tolerant to your medication’s drug effects
- Not changing a pattern of medication intake that leads to mental or physical harm
- Developing cravings for your medication between episodes of use
- Going into withdrawal if the amount of medication in your bloodstream drops
- Having no success when you try to quit two or more times
- Prioritizing your medication use above your previous go-to activities
- Spending much of your day obtaining a medication, using it, or recovering from it
If you’re affected by any of these issues, consider seeking a formal diagnosis. If you’re affected by two or more of them, addiction is likely present.
Tips on How Not to Get Addicted to Prescription Drugs
Addiction is not inevitable for people who take potentially risky prescription drugs. Most users of these medications are not addicted. How can you make sure that you stay addiction-free? Tips on how not to get addicted to prescription drugs include:
- Only taking medication that is prescribed to you
- Following your doctor’s prescription instructions at all times
- Not doing anything to speed up the drug effects of your medication
It’s also essential that you avoid doctor shopping. This is the term for simultaneously obtaining prescriptions from multiple doctors for the same drug.
Learn More About Recognizing Prescription Drug Addiction Symptoms at Northpoint
Need more help recognizing prescription drug addiction symptoms? The professionals at Northpoint Colorado are standing by. We can help you decide whether to consult your doctor or an addiction specialist.
Are you addicted to prescription drugs? Northpoint is also your source for high-quality substance treatment. We feature customized services for all forms of medication addiction. No matter your situation, we’ll fully support your efforts to recover your sobriety. Call us today at 970.579.4569 or complete our online contact form to get started.