You may exhibit drug-seeking behavior
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Maybe your insurance company is onto your doctor-shopping, and now you’re paying out-of-pocket for your meds. Or maybe you’re contacting friends and family members who might have some leftover opiates lying around in their medicine cabinets. Eventually, as Dr. Myer points out, your drug-seeking behavior is going to rise to a level where it becomes more important than those family and friends. Maybe you’ll go as far as stealing meds from them. Maybe you won’t show up for work because you’re out trying to find pills.
Maybe you’ve considered trying other non-prescription drugs, not because you want to, but because it’s readily available, cheap, and, as users attest, “provides a better high,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
According to Matt Feehery, CEO, Foundations Recovery Network in Brentwood, Tennessee, 80 percent of first-time heroin users began using as a way of coping with withdrawal symptoms from prescription pain medication.
You may experience withdrawal
Withdrawal may first present as agitation, according to Feehery, but you may not notice it because inherent drug-seeking has already taken a toll on your sense of well-being. “The sudden cessation of drugs can cause significant physical symptoms,” Dr. Mogali says. According to MedlinePlus, symptoms of withdrawal include:
- muscle aches
- runny nose
Later symptoms include:
- abdominal cramping
Find out the 10 ways to safely use prescription drugs.
Longer-term symptoms of addiction
You may feel increasingly lethargic and less motivated to do the things you used to do and enjoy, says Scott Dehorty, LCSW-C, a psychotherapist specializing in substance use disorders and chronic pain in Columbia, Maryland. “Your primary relationships are no longer with your friends and family but with the drugs,” says Dr. Myer. “Overall wellness suffers as you begin to ignore all your physiological needs, including food, exercise, and hygiene, with the primary focus being obtaining your drugs.”