Are you wondering if you have a prescription drug problem? This is sadly all too common, as approximately 7 million people in the US — or 3 percent of the population — abuses prescription medication. Learn the signs to find out if you are addicted to prescription drugs, and find out how to get help for a prescription pill problem.
Addiction vs. Dependence
To find out if you are addicted to prescription drugs, it’s important to first make sure you understand the difference between addiction and dependence.
Many people are physically dependent on medications, such as antidepressants for bipolar disorder and even opioids for chronic pain. With dependence, you form a tolerance to the drug, and will experience withdrawal symptoms if you discontinue the drug. But this does not necessarily mean you are addicted to the drug.
When you are addicted, you experience strong cravings for the drug, inability to control your drug use, and compulsive drug use despite the drug causing harmful consequences in your life. You may or may not be physically dependent on the drug.
This resource has further information on the difference between dependence and addiction.
Problem Drug Use
Problem drug use, also called drug abuse, is a main signifier of prescription pill addiction. Even if your addiction is not too severe at this time, problem drug use indicates that you are in the initial stages of addiction.
If you are taking a medication for recreational purposes (to “get high”), this is a sign of problem drug use. It is also considered drug abuse if you take more of your medication than is prescribed because you enjoy the effects of the drug.
Some more signs of problem drug use:
- Failing to meet personal, work, or social responsibilities because of drug use
- Using the drug irresponsibly (for example, taking a sedative medication before driving)
- Using one drug to enhance or counteract the effects of another one
Are You a Prescription Pill Addict?
The first step to treating prescription pill addiction is realizing that you have a problem. Only a medical professional can definitively diagnose whether you are physically or psychologically addicted to prescription pills; however, taking a self quiz about your symptoms and behaviors can provide you with more insight into your condition.
Here are two professionally designed self-assessments to help you determine if you are addicted to a substance:
Drug Abuse Self Test by NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.)
Some prescription pill addiction symptoms described in these tests include:
- Putting the purchase of drugs ahead of your financial responsibilities
- Engaging in illegal activities (e.g., stealing) to obtain drugs
- Feeling bad or guilty about your drug use
When and How to Get Help
If you have some or many symptoms of prescription pill addiction, it’s important to get help. Call an addiction hotline where you can talk to a substance abuse counselor. If you have health insurance that covers mental health services, make an appointment with a therapist or psychologist who can refer you to the proper channels to treat your addiction.
The best treatment for most prescription pill addicts is inpatient treatment, where you can get clean and receive therapy to uncover and heal the root causes of your addiction. If you think you might be addicted to prescription drugs, please call us today to learn about your treatment options, including our inpatient program to treat prescription pill addiction in Alpine, Utah.