It’s easy enough to tell when a character on TV is struggling with drug addiction but when addiction strikes you or someone you love, it can be difficult to clearly identify what is happening. How do you know whether or not what you or your loved one is dealing with is actually drug and/ or alcohol addiction and not abuse? In the case of prescription drugs, it is even more difficult. Is what you are simply part and parcel to the experience of taking prescription pain medication or is it a serious addiction?
The Issue of Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drug addiction is a little bit trickier to identify than addiction to other addictive drugs. With regular use, even when you follow the prescription exactly as the doctor intended, the body quickly develops a tolerance. This tolerance is the hallmark of physical dependency, and the beginning of drug addiction for any kind of drug. This is a common occurrence, however, among those who use prescription drugs, especially to treat chronic conditions like pain or anxiety.
Physical dependence upon a prescription drug doesn’t necessarily mean that drug rehab is necessary. It’s when you become psychologically dependent, craving the drug and depending upon it to handle emotional situations or get to sleep that it’s a significant problem that requires treatment.
How To Recognize Drug Addiction: Physical Dependence
Being physically dependent on any drug such as an OxyContin addiction is usually most obvious when you try to stop taking your drug of choice. Within hours of missing dose, your body physically responds with withdrawal symptoms that start small and steadily increase until they are almost unbearable. These withdrawal symptoms will be different depending upon whether you are addicted to alcohol, cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, prescription drugs or a combination of drugs, but they are usually significant and difficult to endure without relapse.
How To Recognize Drug Addiction: Behavior
Your behavior metamorphoses under the control of addictive drugs. You become completely focused on getting your drug of choice and staying loaded, drunk or high to the exclusion of all else. You may become moody or angry and depressed depending upon your drug of choice and when you last used. Short-term memory and the ability to maintain commitments becomes more difficult and your relationships, your job and your finances suffer as a result.
How To Recognize Drug Addiction: Compulsivity
Addiction is defined by using a substance compulsively as well as the lack of control over the addiction or the inability to stop. When you are at the mercy of drug addiction, you no longer have the ability to control your behavior. Taking your drug of choice seems less like a decision and more of a compulsion. You may think of few things other than getting drugs and making sure that you keep a certain amount of your drug of choice in your system at all times. You may not have any concern about the danger that you put others in or the fact that you’re hurting those who love you. Your sole occupation is maintaining your addiction to the point that you let everything else go.