December 27, 2023

Does Your Young Adult Abuse Prescription Drugs?

Identifying prescription drug abuse in young adults is crucial for intervening early and providing the necessary help. Prescription drug abuse involves using medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor. It can include using someone else’s prescription, taking a drug for its euphoric effect, or using medication in a way that differs from the prescription. Here are some signs and behaviors that may indicate a young adult is abusing prescription drugs:

1. Changes in Behavior or Mood:

  • Mood swings: Unexplained and frequent changes in mood or behavior.
  • Withdrawal from family and friends: Spending less time with loved ones or avoiding social interactions.
  • Decreased interest: Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.

2. Physical Signs:

  • Fatigue: Appearing unusually tired or lethargic.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns: Sleeping much more or less than usual.
  • Weight loss or gain: Significant and unexplained changes in weight.
  • Unusual health complaints: Reporting more frequent headaches, nausea, or other unexplained physical symptoms.

3. Academic or Occupational Problems:

  • Declining grades: A noticeable drop in academic performance or interest.
  • Skipping classes or work: Increased absences from school or workplace.
  • Lack of focus: Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks.

4. Secretive or Suspicious Behavior:

  • Secretiveness: Being unusually private about their activities or possessions.
  • Defensiveness: Reacting defensively or angrily when asked about substance use.
  • Unexplained need for money: Frequently asking for money without a reasonable explanation, or money missing from other family members.

5. Medication-related Signs:

  • Pills missing: Medication disappearing from your home, especially painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, or stimulants.
  • Multiple prescriptions: Having prescriptions from more than one doctor or having medication bottles with someone else’s name.

6. Changes in Social Circles:

  • New friends: Sudden change in peer group, especially if the new friends have a known or suspected history of substance abuse.
  • Avoidance of old friends: Distancing from long-time friends and activities.

7. Risky Behavior:

  • Impaired driving: Driving under the influence or other risky behaviors while under the influence.
  • Legal issues: Getting into trouble with the law, such as arrests for possession, DUI, or disorderly conduct.

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse:

  1. Open Communication: Start by having an open, non-confrontational conversation about your concerns.
  2. Seek Professional Help: Consult a healthcare provider, counselor, or addiction specialist for guidance.
  3. Educate Yourself: Learn about prescription drug abuse and its signs, effects, and treatment options.
  4. Support: Offer support and understanding, and explore treatment options together.

It’s important to approach the situation with care and concern rather than accusations. Young adults facing prescription drug abuse need support and professional help to overcome their addiction and address the underlying issues contributing to their substance use. If you suspect a young adult is abusing prescription drugs, acting sooner rather than later can make a significant difference in their journey toward recovery.

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