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10 Signs Someone is Addicted to Pills

There were over 2 million people abusing prescription pain pills in 2015, according to data collected by ASAM. With the opioid crisis reaching the status of a national health emergency, noticing the signs someone is addicted to pills is vitally important. However, there are no glaringly-obvious signs that someone has become addicted to prescription pain relievers, just subtle ones.

3 Minute Read | Published Aug 09 2023 | Updated Mar 07 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Amber Asher
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Amber Asher
Reviewed by

Opioid Addiction – 10 Signs Someone is Addicted to Pills

Signs You May Notice

Addiction can actually change the way the brain operates, leading to behavioral and social changes. Physically, an addict may also exhibit different signs of pain pill abuse. A severe addiction will have more noticeable signs than a moderate addiction or abuse. Other factors that can affect the signs someone is addicted to pills include their genetics, financial status and the length of their pill abuse.

However subtle the signs someone is addicted to pills may be, they are still there. You may have to pay closer attention once you are aware what to look for. The signs include the following:

  1. Weight loss – Losing weight is one of the signs of pain pill addiction because of malnutrition.
  2. Poor personal hygiene – Since pill abuse can cause a person to neglect other aspects of their life, poor personal hygiene becomes one of the signs of pain pill addiction. Dirty clothes are worn and bathing becomes the last thing on their mind.
  3. Poor sleeping habits – One of the signs of pain pill abuse is poor sleeping patterns. At times they may sleep excessively and then barely sleep at all. Pain pills cause a person to be sleepy and nod off while withdrawal symptoms can cause insomnia.
  4. Flu-like symptoms they can’t shake – Withdrawal symptoms from opioid abuse are best described as flu-like symptoms. If a person constantly has these types of symptoms, it can be one of the signs someone is addicted to pills
  5. Energy level fluctuations – When abusing and recovering from pill abuse, a person becomes fatigued and lacks energy. They may quit activities such as going to the gym altogether.
  6. Stealing – Once a person becomes dependent on opioids, they will do many things they never would have done before to get a hold of more drugs. Theft is common among opioid abusers in an effort to sustain their habit.
  7. Decreased libido – Sexual drive is controlled by a person’s estrogen and testosterone levels. Pain pill abuse can cause these to levels to drop, causing a decrease in a person’s sexual drive.
  8. Relationship trouble – Relationship problems are common in substance abusers. Almost all relationships become strained and efforts to maintain them drop considerably from the addict’s side.
  9. The return of old habits – As the person slips into an addiction, old bad habits may return, such as smoking cigarettes.
  10. Work/school performance – Performance at school or at work may suffer due to the lack of concentration. Losing a job is also common.

Finding Help

It is never too late to help someone beat an addiction. It may require that you run an intervention if your initial attempts to get the addict help fail, or if you need the help of a professional to approach the subject of pill abuse, such as an intervention specialist.

Start by educating yourself on addiction and the science behind treatment so that you are in a better position to offer the addict assistance. Small efforts made today can bring about major changes. For more help, call Better Addiction Care at (800) 429-7690.

Resources

bullet American Psychiatric Association. (2013).
"Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing."
Retrieved on March 09, 2018
bullet Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006).
"Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US)."
Retrieved on March 09, 2018
bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020).
"Misuse of Prescription Drugs."
Retrieved on March 09, 2018
bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021).
"Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts."
Retrieved on March 09, 2018
bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US). (2015).
"Substance Use Disorders: A Guide to the Use of DSM-5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US)."
Retrieved on March 09, 2018
bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US). (2019).
"The Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2007-2017. National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US)."
Retrieved on March 09, 2018
bullet Volkow, N. D., McLellan, A. T., & Cotto, J. H. (2011).
"Characteristics of opioid prescriptions in 2009. JAMA, 305(13), 1299-1301."
Retrieved on March 09, 2018
bullet Zweben, J. E., & Cohen, J. B. (2019).
"Treatment of cocaine use disorder. Psychiatric Clinics, 42(2), 303-319."
Retrieved on March 09, 2018
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