Pain pill addiction is a serious crisis in the United States today. The opioid epidemic continues to ravage families and communities, causing untold damage. Rarely do people ever begin taking a prescription with pain pill abuse in mind. Real issues and symptoms typically precede the prescription of painkillers. But over-prescription and the addictive nature of these drugs make them fertile ground for pain pill addiction.
Millions of loved ones are asking the question, “What should I do if a loved one is engaging in pain pill abuse?” Recognizing that a problem exists is a noteworthy first step. Don’t sweep things under the rug. You have a critical role to play in helping your loved one overcome pain medication abuse.
How to Tell If Your Loved One is Abusing Painkillers
Pain pill addiction often flies below the radar. Since people usually acquire these drugs legally—at least at first—it may not always be obvious when pain pill abuse or addiction is happening. Thus, it’s important to self-educate about the signs of pain pill abuse so you can intervene promptly. Some of the top signs of pain medication abuse are as follows:
- Spending more time alone or avoiding family responsibilities
- Doctor shopping
- Experiencing problems at work or school
- Mental confusion
- Slowed mental processing
- Physical and psychological symptoms
That last bullet point deserves a bit more unpacking. Pain pill abuse often causes various physical and psychological symptoms and side effects. Fatigue and sleep troubles are two of the biggest ones. People who struggle with a pain medication addiction may also display impaired coordination, mood swings, and weight loss. In certain cases, constant itchiness can develop in the limbs. Watch out for these common signs of pain pill abuse to determine if your loved one has a problem that requires professional help.
What to Do for a Loved One With a Pain Pill Addiction
Simply recognizing that your loved one has a pain pill addiction is the first step in getting them the help they need. Next, it’s worth educating yourself on viable addiction treatment methods and the science of addiction.
Know that addiction isn’t a choice and your loved one isn’t likely to overcome addiction simply by trying hard to quit. It’s also important that you refuse to ignore or enable your loved one’s substance abuse disorder. Neither approach will do them any good. Nor will it help the larger family structure in the long run. Your loved one needs help. Direct confrontation may not be the best approach, depending on the personalities and family dynamics at play. But ignoring the presence of pain pill abuse is never a good option.
Know the Signs of Painkiller Overdose
Another important thing to do as a family member of someone struggling with pain pill addiction is to know the signs of a painkiller overdose. Quick intervention could save their life. Common signs of a painkiller or opioid overdose include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Slurred speech
- Slack or droopy muscles
- Nodding off
- Blacking out
Err on the side of caution if you believe your loved one is experiencing an opioid overdose. In addition, many localities offer free naloxone to families. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it can reverse the effects of a painkiller overdose before they become fatal.
Overcoming Pain Medication Addiction With San Antonio Recovery Center
Your support can and often should extend as far as connecting your loved one to professional help. Many times, the safest, most effective way to deal with pain medication addiction is through formal addiction treatment. Providers like San Antonio Recovery Center guide patients through every step of recovery from initial detox through ongoing therapy into aftercare programming.
You will remain a key support to your loved one during addiction treatment. But you do not need to support them alone. Contact 866.957.7885 to learn how we can help your loved one address their pain pill addiction.