Making Strides

For the majority of people with temporary or chronic medical conditions involving pain, prescription medications can provide welcome relief and enable the ability to function.

Responsible physicians prescribe pain medications for patients to use as needed to help them move through physical pain to recovery. It’s when patients have recovered yet continue to take and refill their medications long past the point of needing them that a new and devastating medical problem emerges: physical and/or emotional prescription drug dependency. The continued or compulsive use of a prescription drug despite its negative effects and the slide from dependency to addiction is a silent, slow progression that happens almost unnoticed.

An epidemic of prescription drug dependency and addiction currently affects people of every demographic and socio-economic group in every community in Hernando County, and we’re not alone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently reported that the number of people over the age of 50 needing treatment for overuse and abuse of addictive medications is likely to triple by the year 2020. However, there is hope for recovery for those who resolve to take action.

Dependency Versus Addiction—Crossing The Line

For many people, drug dependency is a normal occurrence in making chronic conditions tolerable.

However, with addiction, people cross the metaphorical line and begin to overtake and misuse prescriptions. Addiction results in an overwhelming fixation on the need for pain medication that affects every aspect of a person’s life and consumes them entirely. They use them and focus on real or imagined ailments—rather than focusing on their health and ways to wellness. In doing so, a drug-addicted person escapes from day-to-day responsibilities and manifests compulsive actions and behaviors.

Recognizing The Signs

By recognizing the physical and behavioral signs of prescription drug abuse, family and friends can help prevent the problem from progressing and causing further damage to a loved one’s health, relationships and even the loss of life.

The first sign of drug abuse is the development of drug tolerance, an increased need for a substance in quantity and strength over time to achieve the desired feeling of euphoria. Drug abuse also leads to physical and behavior changes, including deterioration in appearance, job loss, memory loss, flashbacks, volatile mood swings and overdoses. People struggling with addiction are typically introverted and become defensive and quickly and easily offended when confronted about substance abuse and addiction.

Taking Action

Recognizing the signs of addiction is the first step in getting someone help. The professionals at New Vision recommend consulting with an experienced professional about a specific situation and seeking out qualified care. These are recognized as essential components to helping a person struggling with addiction. People who are successful in overcoming addiction are those who are ready for positive change in their lives. When professional help is coupled with support from friends and family, addicts can successfully reverse the impact of addiction on their lives and health and make strides toward a positive future.

New Vision at Bayfront Health Brooksville › 17240 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville › (352) 797-4649 ›

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