One of the most common ways that people abuse drugs is through what is known as “doctor shopping.” Doctor shopping occurs all over the United States and refers to the illegal practice of visiting various doctors in order to have multiple prescriptions filled. When people are addicted to a prescription drug, they may build up a tolerance as a result of prolonged use, resulting in them needing to take more of the drug to achieve the same high they had before. As a result, they may be seeking ways to get their hands on more of the drug.
Doctor shopping often involves lying, as patients won’t tell their new doctor about their past prescription in order to get prescribed the same amount. Some addicted patients may be cured of their afflictions but lie about having them in order to get the drug they want. If you’re unsure whether you or a loved one has a drug addiction, the practice of doctor shopping is a clear warning sign of drug abuse –when applied to prescription drugs, drug abuse refers to using the drug in any other way than what your doctor intended.
Prescription drugs that are commonly abused in this way include:
- Benzodiazepines: Also known as sedatives or tranquilizers, benzodiazepines are often prescribed for insomnia, seizures, and anxiety and panic disorders, but many people become addicted to them for their calming effects. Common types of benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin.
- Amphetamines: Classified as stimulants, amphetamines increase brain activity to produce more energy, focus, and confidence, and many people become addicted to them for the euphoric feelings they can produce. Amphetamines are often prescribed to treat ADD, ADHD, and narcolepsy, and can sometimes be prescribed for depression. Adderall is the most well-known amphetamine and one that is often abused.
- Opioids: Opioids are a class of drugs known for being extremely addictive. Also referred to as painkillers, these drugs are prescribed to relax the body and treat pain, but they can also make users feel high and relaxed, and overdoses and deaths are common. Common prescription opioids include morphine, fentanyl, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.
Signs of Doctor Shopping
Because doctor shopping is a clear indication of drug abuse or addiction, it may be helpful for you to recognize the signs if you’re feeling worried about a family member or friend. It can be challenging to know whether your loved one doctor shops if you’re not tracking their visits, but there are some specific signs to be aware of.
These signs can include:
- Stashing prescription drugs around the house or in the medicine cabinet
- Using medications in an atypical manner, such as by crushing them and snorting them
- Combining medications with other drugs
- Faking illnesses often
- Complaining about the medications not working (a sign of physical tolerance)
- Requesting stronger versions of their medications from doctors
If you or someone you know is addicted, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer addictions to prescription medications – 15 million, in fact - which is more than the combined number of people who reported abusing other drugs like heroin, cocaine, inhalants, and hallucinogens. The first step towards recovering from your addiction is to seek professional help.
Individualized Drug Addiction Programs
At October Road, we offer a wide range of programs that focus on specific addictions, including prescription drug addiction. While movies and TV shows would like us to believe that people with addiction are always abusing street drugs, millions of Americans are addicted to the legalized medications they’ve been prescribed by their doctors. Our team has worked with countless patients who have become addicted to prescription drugs, including painkillers and depressants. Whether you’re addicted to Valium, Adderall, Xanax, or something else, you can trust our team to treat you with respect and without judgment during your time with us.
October Road takes a holistic approach to addiction. Call us today to learn more about our rehab services at (833) 993-1914 or reach out via our online form. We’re proud to serve patients throughout North Carolina, including Charlotte and Asheville.