It’s estimated that 50 million Americans live with chronic pain. Many of these people use powerfully addictive opiates such as morphine oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone to cope with the pain. While able to stop the pain these drugs are also highly addictive. In addition to legitimate uses they are commonly used among recreational drug abusers to get high. The 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated 4.7 million Americans used prescription drugs nonmedically. What’s more alarming is that prescription drug abuse causes the majority of 26,000 fatal drug overdoses in the U.S. each year.
As these drugs are highly addictive it’s easy for people who are legitimately using the drugs to become hooked and need them for more than just pain relief and can be convinced of their necessity after the pain has subsided. It can be hard to decipher who is properly using these drugs and who has turned their use into an addiction.
Here are a few signs that can help you determine if you or a loved one is addicted to prescription pain killers:
- Increase in Usage of the Drug: As people take drugs over time their body will grow a tolerance to the drugs. People often self-medicate and increase their dosage to get relief without consulting a doctor.
- Change in Personality and Hygiene: A person’s disposition can change from an increased need for drugs. In some cases daily tasks and responsibilities and hygiene habits can take a backseat to a need for their drugs.
- Social Withdrawal: People with dependency problems may withdrawl from family, friends and social events.
- Ongoing Use of Drugs: People who become addicted to pain killers will continue to use the drugs after their medical conditions have improved. Often these people will speak of feeling pain and will claim to need to be on the medication a little longer to feel better.
- Defensiveness: People who are confronted about a drug dependency can become very defensive and angry about questions regarding their drug usage.
New Directions for Women helps women through problems with chemical addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs through recreational or prescribed use please contact to speak with a representative.