Do you worry that your loved one may experiment with self-medication? Generally, this is the act of taking a chemical substance or prescription medication without a doctor’s direct order. If you’ve ever taken a friend’s tranquilizer to calm yourself before a big meeting, you’ve self-medicated. Likewise, if you’ve ever watched a friend try to drink away a memory, you’ve witnessed the act of self-medication. Using any chemical substance to make yourself feel better can lead to addiction. Therefore, it’s important to watch for the signs of self-medication if you suspect a friend or family member is in trouble. If your loved one suffers from an addiction due to self-medicating, reach out to Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge today at 844.442.8673.
1. Self-Medication May Cause Changes in Behavior or Appearance
If your loved one frequently borrows medication from others, or if they drink alcohol to excess, these are visible signs of self-medication. But there are others less noticeable. They include:
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Extreme mood swings
- Lingering tiredness
- Secretive behavior
- Drastic changes in weight
You may not witness your teenager or family friend self-medicating, but this doesn’t rule out the possibility. If you see signs of self-medication in friends or loved ones, reach out to a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center right away.
2. Doctor-Hopping to Self-Medicate
Surprisingly, those who self-medicate may be just as likely to come by their prescription through legitimate means as they are to borrow or buy it. Hopping between doctors, clinics, or emergency rooms may be a good sign that someone is self-medicating. Using new care providers each time makes it easier to get powerful drugs such as opioid painkillers.
While today’s medical records are more available digitally than they’ve ever been before, you shouldn’t assume that a new care provider has automatic access to your family member’s history. If your loved one regularly uses different care providers, it may be a sign that they’re misusing medication.
3. Inability to Make a Prescription Last Until the Refill Date
And if your loved one consistently runs out of prescription medication before the refill date, this could also be an indicator they’re misusing the drug. If you notice these behaviors in your family member, it’s time to ask for help.
4. Changes in Mental Wellness as a Result of Self-Medication
If your loved one who is regularly happy and well-adjusted suddenly becomes sullen and depressed, this could be a sign of self-medication. When you use a drug or a chemical substance for longer than recommended or in larger doses than needed, it may cause chemical changes to happen inside your brain. As a result, you may experience problems with your mental health. Consequently, those who self-medicate for long periods may suffer severe consequences that include:
- Extreme anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts
Treatment for mental wellness can be part of your loved one’s drug and alcohol addiction recovery program. These are referred to as co-occurring disorders. If your loved one struggles with their mental health as a sign of self-medication, they need a dual diagnosis to recover.
Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge Can Help
If you’re worried that your adult child, friend, or family member may show signs of self-medication, encourage them to seek help at a reputable drug and alcohol addiction treatment center. For those in or near the Keystone State, Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge may be the answer. We offer comprehensive care for those who struggle with self-medication and substance use disorder through our faith-based treatment programs. Our services include:
- Addiction detox programs
- Inpatient addiction treatment
- Eating disorder treatment
- Outpatient addiction treatment
Addiction is a disease that affects entire families, but through quality residential care and reliable support services, your family can recover. Therefore, if you see signs of self-medication in your loved one, contact Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge today at 844.442.8673 to learn more about how we can help.