Prescription Drug Abuse Among Moms: Spotting the Signs and Getting Help

Being a parent is hard work. With all the stress associated with raising children, excelling at a career, running a household and maintaining relationships, it’s no wonder that many mothers have difficulties coping. And, due to the pressures of motherhood, many women turn to prescription drugs as a means of escape, which often results in physical and psychological dependence.

Keep reading for more information on prescription drug abuse, including tips on recognizing the signs of addiction, seeking treatment and staying sober.

Why Prescription Drugs?

In overwhelming numbers, women – and mothers, especially – use prescription medications instead of illicit drugs like heroin or methamphetamine. This could boil down to a matter of availability, as prescription drugs are generally easier to obtain than harder drugs, and are also considered “safer” and more socially acceptable. What’s more, prescription drug abuse usually starts innocently enough, typically following an illness, injury or other valid ailment. These drugs, while effective at treating symptoms like pain, anxiety, depression or even insomnia, produce euphoric effects, which leave the user coming back for more.

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For moms, in particular, the euphoria associated with certain prescription drugs is especially appealing. For example, drugs like prescription painkillers can produce feelings calm and competence, while prescription anxiety medications help moms deal with mounting stresses at work and home.

For the most part, the most commonly-abused prescription drugs include the types listed below:

  • Painkillers. Opioid drugs like Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin are usually prescribed for moderate to severe pain, and are some of the most misused medications in the world.
  • Anxiety drugs. Xanax, Valium and other anti-anxiety medications are used to treat mild to severe anxiety, and can also be useful in patients with insomnia.
  • Stimulants. Designed to treat ADD and other conditions, stimulant drugs include Ritalin, Adderall and prescription diet pills. When misused, these medications act as powerful stimulants, and can even mirror the effects of drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.

Recognizing a Problem

The signs of prescription drug addiction can be difficult to detect. However, when addiction occurs, symptoms like the following are common:

  • Obsessive thoughts concerning prescription medications.
  • Frequent trips to a doctor with the intent of obtaining prescription drugs.
  • Visiting multiple doctors, or “doctor shopping,” in hopes of receiving more prescriptions.
  • Obtaining prescription drugs through illegal methods, e.g., theft, forgery, illegal purchase, etc.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when prescription drugs aren’t taken. These include fever, chills, aches and pains, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea and more.

Getting Help

If you think you have a problem with prescription drugs, seeking immediate help is crucial to both you and your family. Intensive addiction treatment can give you the tools necessary to health and sobriety, as well as help lay the groundwork for better coping skills. And in addition to addiction rehabilitation, the following tips and treatment methods can be beneficial in promoting long-term sobriety and enhanced quality of life:

  • Self-monitoring techniques. When it comes to staying sober, learning to monitor your thoughts and behaviors is essential, as it can help you avoid triggers and prevent a relapse with addictive substances.
  • Continued therapy. Long-term counseling can be extremely beneficial in keeping addictive tendencies at bay. Family counseling, as well, can help you and your family improve communication skills, as well as repair some of the damage done by addiction.
  • Support. Support is crucial to individuals suffering from addiction. Close friends and family members, group therapy and various support groups can provide the understanding and accountability you need to stay sober and live life to the fullest.

Although prescription drug abuse is a widespread problem, help is available. With the tips provided here, moms suffering the effects of addiction can recognize the signs of dependence and seek the help they need in living sober, healthy, productive lives.


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