Determining Whether Your Teen Is Addicted To Painkillers

When your doctor prescribes medication for someone in your household, your first thought probably isn't whether it will turn your teen into an addict. However, every day in the US approximately 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription painkillers for the very first time. Most addictive prescription painkillers are opiates — just like heroin. They are highly addictive, and for many teens the first time they abuse a painkiller is the beginning of a ruthless addiction. Learn how to spot warnings signs that indicate your teen has been abusing opiates so that you can get him or her addiction treatment if needed.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

The physical withdrawal symptoms that addicts experience from regular opiate use mimic the symptoms of a stomach virus — body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and fatigue are common. Because of this it can be difficult to determine whether your child is simply sick or going through withdrawals caused by prescription painkiller abuse. So, you need to take a few other things into consideration to determine whether your teen is sick or using drugs. If your teen is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you might notice that he or she gets a "stomach virus" more frequently than what would be considered normal for him or her. Also, opiate withdrawal symptoms disappear once the person has enough opiates in his or her system. So, if your teen has a problem with prescription painkillers, you might notice that the symptoms your teen is experiencing disappear suddenly.

Behavior Changes

Teens who abuse prescription painkillers often experience odd, sudden behavior changes. If your teen suddenly seems to get irritated easily, develops random panic attacks, or suffers from random, extreme mood swings, it could indicate that he or she is battling a prescription painkiller addiction. Also, if your child is addicted to painkillers, you might notice changes in the way he or she interacts with friends. It's common for addicts to push people away, so your teen may not see regular, long-term friends as often, or your teen might suddenly have a new group of friends. Also, teenagers who abuse prescription pills may become upset when family members enter their private space or retreat to their rooms more often than normal.

If you believe that your teenager is experimenting with prescription painkillers or has a full-blown addiction, it's important to get help as soon as possible. You should calmly discuss the possibility of addiction with your teen to try to gauge the seriousness of the problem, and contact an addiction treatment center for help.