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Drug Use Warning Signs

One of the fastest growing trends in the United States is prescription drug abuse. Unlike illicit drugs, which can sometimes be hard to come by, "legal" prescription drugs are fairly easy to find. This is probably one of the main reasons that prescription drug abuse is becoming such a wide problem. Chances are, someone you know could be addicted to prescription drugs.

Prescription drug abuse does come with warning signs. Below are listed some of the signs to watch for - they may indicate an addiction to prescription drugs.

Dramatic changes in behavior

Some with a prescription drug abuse problem shows signs of it in their behavior. Dramatic changes in behavior should be examined. Prescription drug abuse can cause withdrawal from one's social life. Addicts withdraw from activities they used to enjoy and often become reclusive. Dramatic drops in grades at school, or in performance at work, may indicate an addiction to prescription drugs.

Addicts may also become moody. Abrupt mood swings on a regular basis could point to prescription drug abuse. Be careful, though. An outburst on rare occasions is not abnormal for many, especially for teenagers. Watch for increasing frequency in moodiness, and for an increase in violence.

Increased annoyance, secrecy, paranoia and irritability can also be signs of a prescription drug abuse.


Continued use of the prescription drug

If someone has been taking a prescription drug for a long time, without seeming to improve in condition, it could be a sign of prescription drug abuse. Someone addicted to prescription drugs may fake symptoms in order to continue receiving medication. Another indication is if the user keeps switching doctors. This may be a ploy to get extra prescriptions. Another warning sign is an increase in the amount of the prescription drug taken.

Dramatic changes in appearance

Prescription drug abuse can lead to dramatic changes in appearance. Sudden weight loss is one of the most common manifestations of this. A loss of appetite preceding the weight loss is especially telling. However, if you notice a change in grooming and hygiene, that can also be a sign of prescription drug abuse. Prescription drug addicts eventually stop taking proper care of themselves. You may notice that a friend, relative or child stops bathing as often, or pays little attention to the neatness and cleanliness of clothes and hair.

Presence of drug related paraphernalia

Do you notice that there are more empty bottles in trash cans? Is a bottle of pills always with the other person? The presence of drug related paraphernalia could be an indication of prescription drug abuse. Also, keep track of your own medications. If you seem to be going through them at a faster than normal pace, it could mean that someone you know is stealing them for "recreational" purposes - or even to sell to others.

Even though it is not a prescription drug, the DXM found in some over the counter cough medicines can be addictive and dangerous. Look for stains around the mouth of a cough medicine abuser. Additionally, some who abuse cough medicine actually use the gel caps. Watch for empty blister packs that could indicate a large amount cough medication is being consumed.

Always looking for money

While this could merely indicate that one has fallen on hard times, it is also another sign of prescription drug abuse. Addicts need to pay for more drugs. This takes money. If someone is selling his or her treasured possessions, stealing or always asking for money to buy vague things that they "need", it could be an indication of a prescription drug addiction.

Is it really a prescription drug addiction?

It is important to realize, though, that the presence of just one sign of prescription drug abuse is unlikely to indicate a problem. Many of the above signs also indicate other problems that may not be related. The key is to look for more than one indication of possible prescription drug abuse. The more indications of prescription drug abuse that are manifest, the higher the likelihood that there really is a problem. But it is important to be careful. It is not an accusation to make lightly.

If you are concerned about a loved one, make time to talk to him or her lovingly. Be sure to make it clear you are worried, and that you want to help. Rather than being accusing, start out by saying that you noticed something out of the ordinary, and you want to make sure everything is okay. Even if the other person doesn't admit to a problem right then, he or she may wake up to the fact that help is needed. If you see that a loved one is in immediate danger, though, you should take whatever action is necessary to see help is obtained.