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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Many Don’t Know Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Do you know the signs of prescription drug abuse? If you answered no – or maybe you’re not quite sure – you’re not alone. A new national survey conducted by researchers from Michigan State University found that out of 4,600 respondents, a full 32 percent were unsure of the signs of pill addiction. And men as well as those who lived in an urban setting were particularly bad at recognizing when something was amiss.

“My sense is that people just don’t recognize the risk factor or take the necessary precautions to look at what’s happening,” Michigan State economics professor Mark Skidmore, director of behavioral-health organization CAPE and a co-investigator on the survey, told New York Magazine. “Loved ones around may not be watching whether or not a prescription is being followed.”

If we’ve learned anything from the opioid epidemic – with more than two million Americans abusing prescription opioids or heroin in 2015 – it’s this: Anyone can become addicted to pain pills. This includes moms, professionals and young student athletes alike. Many people struggling with opioid addiction appear to be so-called normal; certainly not the typical image of a strung-out junkie looking for their next fix. 

The Signs of Opioid Abuse
Mood swings, changes in energy levels and sleep habits (all signs of opioid abuse) can be relatively easy to conceal from friends and family. Here, we take a look at these and other warning signs:

Increased or ongoing use: People taking painkillers most often become tolerant to the effects of their prescribed dose, needing more and more to get the same effects. 

Unusual drowsiness: A common symptom of opioid use is drooping eyes, or eyes that look like they’re about to fall asleep. A loved one struggling with prescription pill abuse may tend to nod in the middle of a conversation, during a TV show, or at the dinner table.

Shifts in sleep patterns: This can include sleeping longer than unusual or staying up and awake all-night and sleeping all day. 

Changes in appearance: In addition to dropping tired-looking eyes, opioid abuse can lead to metabolic changes that cause weight loss as well as compromised personal hygiene and appearance. Physical signs that a loved one is high includes: 
  • Red, glazed eyes
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Flushed face and neck
  • Constant cough or runny nose
  • Slurred speech
  • Intense calm
  • Nodding head
Persistent flu-like symptoms: If your loved one always seems to be “coming down with something” and then feeling fine again, it could be a sign of abuse and withdrawal. Long-term abuse can also compromise the immune system, making the user more susceptible to flu, viruses and infections. 
More signs of withdrawal include: 
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Severe insomnia 
Getting Help for Prescription Drug Abuse
The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care that includes medical detox, residential programs for men and women, partial hospitalization, and outpatient programs. If you or a loved one is showing signs of a pain pill addiction, call today: 805-202-3440. 


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