UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Many people who need prescription painkillers to manage chronic pain become dependent on their medications. Because pain medications are doctor prescribed, they assume that their intake is healthy and do not notice the development of drug dependency. This makes it especially important to watch for symptoms of addiction if you or someone you care about is taking a prescription painkiller. Below are some signs of medication dependency.
The most visible sign of a problem is using more and more medication. Over time, it is common for individuals taking prescription drugs to grow tolerant to the effects of their prescribed dose. The gradual increasing of one’s recommended dosage is an indication that the amount they were taking is no longer providing them relief. Increased use is likely to reflect the person’s dependency on their medication to get through them through the day.
Many people who have become dependent on their medication feel they require continued usage even after a medical condition has improved. The person may state that they need extensions on their prescription or that they are still feeling pain. While some patients may just need to be on the medication a little bit longer to get well, others may require the medication to experience normalcy.
Changes in Personality
Changes in a person’s normal behavior can also be a sign of dependency. Shifts in energy, mood, and concentration may occur as the medication takes effect and wears off. They may be edgy and quick to anger. Speech may become slurred and disorganized, and they may have a hard time concentrating, seem more forgetful or more easily frustrated. In older people, medication dependency can sometimes be confused with cognitive impairment associated with age.
Changes in Relationships
People who are taking painkillers in excess often develop relationship problems. A person experiencing prescription drug addiction may withdraw from family, friends and other social interactions. If someone you know seems distracted, irritable and disinterested in the important people in their lives, this may be a sign that they have developed a dependency to their medications and may need help.
Prescriptions for pain medication can be safe when taken according to the doctor’s instructions and if carefully monitored. However, it is important to recognize that they can also be very dangerous. Anyone who is prescribed pain medications should take extra precautions to avoid the debilitating effects of pain medication addiction and watch for the warning signs. For a safe way to manage pain and avoid prescription dependency, check out our blog: Natural Ways to Manage Chronic Pain.