Addiction is a deadly disease and one that the U.S. is currently struggling to treat. A huge cause for the current opiate epidemic originally was pill mills and negligent doctors that overprescribed. Doctors and psychiatrists today are more cautious when it comes to prescribing drugs, and keeping an eye out of drug-seeking behaviors, which are a symptom of drug addiction, can help reduce the number of people struggling with drug addictions and get them help.
Escalated Use of Prescription
The body can become use to drugs, which means that dosages may have to be upped for them to continue working. If a patient is stating their dose is no longer working during every visit, this could be a sign of escalation that is more than just drug tolerance. While this alone isn’t a sign of drug addiction, as drug tolerance is a very real thing, it could hint at more pressing issues and should be discussed.
Increasing Dosage Without Discussion
Drug tolerance can lead to needing to increase the dosage. However, patients should always discuss this with their doctor before doing so. If you find out that someone is upping their dosage without consulting a medical professional, this could be a sign that they are struggling with addiction.
Self-Medicating for Other Conditions
This situation is common. For example, if a person is prescribed pain medication for a certain condition, but then starts using it for sleep, anxiety, and stress, it could signal that they are self-medicating. These additional conditions they’re trying to self-medicate could actually be signs of drug withdrawal or that they may be developing a dependency.
Use of Illicit Drugs
If a person begins to use illicit drugs in addition to their prescribed medication, this also qualifies as drug-seeking behavior. If a patient self-admits they are using other non-prescribed drugs, or you believe that they are, this should be addressed. Mixing illicit and prescription drugs are dangerous and potentially deadly.
Insisting on a Particular Medication
People who have a drug addiction often have a drug of choice. If they are combative when you suggest switching drugs this could be a sign of something more serious. Doctors should always listen to a patient’s concerns about switching medications, but also realize that this is drug-seeking behavior.
Doctor shopping is one of the biggest red flags for drug addiction. It is when a patient visits multiple doctors seeking prescriptions and moves on when they no longer provide them. Doctors should always double-check to see if patients are getting a prescription from somewhere else before prescribing more medication.
One of the most desperate drug-seeking behaviors is forging prescriptions. It is hard to do, but not impossible. If you realize a patient has forged a prescription you need to alert law enforcement. It is illegal and could result in worse consequences for the patient.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction or withdrawal, please contact us today.