Is Your Spouse Hiding a Painkiller Addiction?

Prescription drug abuse is defined as “Taking drugs other than how they were prescribed to you,” and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 18 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2017. Prescription drug abuse is dangerous not only on its own but because it can lead to opioid addiction. With that comes an increased risk of overdose and death. If you or someone you care about is suffering from an addiction to medications originally prescribed by a doctor, find out how painkiller addiction drug rehab at Midwest Recovery can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us confidentially online today to discover the important role prescription drug addiction treatment centers play in your recovery.

The Phases of Prescription Drug Abuse

While every person’s path to prescription drug abuse and addiction is different, there are common themes and phases to painkiller addiction and a set of signs of drug addiction to pain pills to be on the lookout for in your spouse.

Non-medical Use

The first prescription drug addiction symptom is when your spouse begins using their prescription drugs for non-medicinal purposes. Some people take painkillers without a prescription recreationally or to help cope with a co-occurring disorder or problem. Sometimes these experiments with prescription drugs are not connected to a desire to continue using the drug, but for many, and maybe your spouse, the non-medical use can become habit-forming and move into the second stage of prescription drug abuse, eventually requiring help from prescription drug addiction treatment centers.

If your spouse has a medical prescription for the drug, non-medical use involves taking that prescription more often than prescribed, taking pills not prescribed to them, or using more than the doctor prescribed. If your spouse is using their prescription for non-medical purposes, it’s one of the signs of drug addiction to pain pills. They likely have begun to take their painkillers to get high, as opposed to treating pain. This is a strong indicator that your loved one is about to spiral into addiction.


Misusing prescription drugs is akin to non-medical use but done consistently. If your spouse has taken more than the recommended dose just a few times, this is considered a non-medical use of the drug. When regularly misusing prescription drugs, they have entered phase 2 of painkiller addiction. This is a critical spot in the slow descent toward addiction because it is here where a person’s tolerance is being built up, which means they will have to keep increasing the dosage amount to keep experiencing the same high or same level of pain relief.

Being one of the prescription drug addiction symptoms, if the misuse can be identified, painkiller addiction drug rehab can be started and help with recovery. If left untreated, a tolerance may be built up, which can be a gateway to long-term dependence and opioid addiction. Opiate painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, and Fentanyl are prone to dependence and addiction if misused beyond their recommended doses.


Repeated and chronic misuse of prescription drugs is one of the clear signs of drug addiction to pain pills. Other signs that your spouse is suffering from prescription drug abuse include:

  • Relationship problems
  • Missing work
  • Skipping their commitments
  • Failure to meet other responsibilities

This is when prescription drug addiction symptoms and a painkiller addiction begin to appear for all to see. Some of these common signs include:

  • Irritability
  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Obsessing about the drug(s)
  • Depression
  • Signs of withdrawal if the drug is not used regularly


Physical dependence on prescription drugs can swiftly lead to psychological dependence. When that occurs, your spouse is in the final stage of painkiller abuse: addiction. Physical dependence refers to the withdrawal symptoms a person will feel if the drug is not used, but a psychological dependence is a compulsive need to keep using the drug, despite known negative consequences, including to your spouse’s:

  • Physical condition
  • Mental health
  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Employment status
  • Criminal record

Once addiction has taken hold, your spouse may start timing doses so that they never come down. This behavior may take them down a path of stealing pills, doctor shopping, and buying pills illegally to never experience the pain of withdrawal.

Top 10 Prescription Drug Addiction Symptoms

It is important to be aware of and recognize the signs of drug addiction to pain pills in your spouse. Here are the top 10 prescription drug addiction symptoms:

  1. Continued use of the drug after the pain has stopped
  2. Faking symptoms to get more of the drug
  3. Mood and behavior changes (for example, hostility and anxiety)
  4. Lack of interest in other treatment options
  5. Secretive behavior (stealing prescriptions, doctor shopping, using other people’s prescriptions)
  6. Physical withdrawal when doses are missed
  7. Needing more pills to ease the pain or get high
  8. Withdrawing from family, friends, and life
  9. Financial problems
  10. Poor decision making

Learn More at Midwest Recovery

A spouse who is abusing painkillers can not only be causing their life to spiral out of control, but the family finances and relationships may also be suffering as a result. Thankfully, prescription drug addiction treatment centers can help. Contact us using our secure online form or call us at 833.627.0039 today.

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