How to Know If Someone is Addicted to Pain Pills

How to Know If Someone is Addicted to Pain Pills

An estimated of 2.5 million people in the U.S. have an addiction to pain pills. The opioid epedemic is a serious and growing problem that can have devastating effects on individuals and their loved ones.

If you suspect that someone you know may be struggling with a painkiller addiction, it is important to be able know how to tell if someone is addicted to pain pills. By understanding the warning signs, you can offer support and help guide them towards recovery.

In this article, we will explore how to tell if someone is addicted to pain pills, the signs and symptoms to look out for, and the steps you can take to assist them on the path to recovery.

Understanding How to Tell if Someone is Addicted to Pain Pills

Before we discover many of the signs that someone is addicted to pain pills, it is crucial to have a basic understanding of what pain pill addiction entails. Pain pills, also known as opioids, are prescription medications that are commonly used to manage moderate to severe pain. They work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body to reduce the perception of pain.

Pain pills include medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. When taken as prescribed by a healthcare professional, pain pills can be effective in managing pain. However, they also carry a high risk of addiction due to their ability to produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

How to Tell if Someone is Addicted to Pain Pills: The Signs

How to know if someone is addicted to pain pills can be challenging, because individuals may go to great lengths to hide their substance misuse. However, there are several physical, behavioral, and psychological indicators that may help you know how to tell if someone is addicted to pain pills . Here are some key signs to be aware of:

Physical Signs

  • Constricted pupils: One physical sign someone is addicted to pain pills isconstricted or pinpoint pupils. Opioids can cause the pupils to become smaller than usual, even in dim lighting conditions.
  • Drowsiness or sedation: People who are addicted to pain pills may often appear excessively drowsy or sedated. They may have difficulty staying awake or exhibit slurred speech.
  • Changes in sleep patterns: Pain pill addiction can disrupt an individual's sleep patterns. They may experience insomnia or sleep excessively.
  • Weight changes: Significant weight loss or weight gain can be indicative of a pain pill addiction. Changes in appetite and eating habits are common among individuals struggling with substance abuse.
  • Physical agitation or restlessness: Some individuals may exhibit physical agitation, restlessness, or fidgeting as a result of pain pill addiction.

Behavioral Signs

  • Frequent medication use: Regularly running out of prescribed pain pills before the next refill is due or requesting early refills may be a sign someone is addicted to pain pills
  • Doctor shopping: Individuals addicted to pain pills may visit multiple healthcare providers in an attempt to obtain additional prescriptions.
  • Isolation and withdrawal: People struggling with pain pill addiction may withdraw from social activities, hobbies, and relationships. They may isolate themselves to hide their substance abuse.
  • Neglecting responsibilities: Addiction can lead to a decline in work or school performance, neglect of personal hygiene, and a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
  • Financial difficulties: The cost of maintaining a pain pill addiction can lead to financial strain. Individuals may borrow money or sell personal belongings to support their habit.

Psychological Signs

  • Mood swings: Pain pill addiction can cause frequent and extreme mood swings. Individuals may experience irritability, depression, anxiety, or sudden outbursts of anger.
  • Lack of motivation: Individuals addicted to pain pills may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and may struggle with a lack of motivation or drive.
  • Cravings and obsession: Strong cravings for pain pills and preoccupation with obtaining and using the medication are common signs of addiction.
  • Poor judgment and decision-making: Addiction to pain pills can impair cognitive function, leading to poor judgment, impaired decision-making, and difficulty concentrating.

How to Approach Someone Suspected of Pain Pill Addiction

Approaching someone suspected of pain pill addiction requires sensitivity and understanding. It is important to remember that addiction is a complex and multifaceted issue, and the person struggling with addiction may not be ready or willing to acknowledge their problem. Here are some tips on how to approach the situation:

  1. Choose the right time and place: Find a time and place where both of you can talk privately and without distractions. Avoid confrontational or stressful situations.
  2. Express concern with empathy: Start the conversation by expressing your concern for their well-being. Use "I" statements to avoid sounding accusatory and emphasize that you are there to support them.
  3. Provide specific examples: Share specific instances or observations that have raised your concerns about their potential pain pill addiction. Be prepared to provide examples of behavior changes you have noticed.
  4. Listen without judgment: Be prepared for defensiveness or denial. Listen actively and empathetically, allowing them to express their feelings and concerns without judgment.
  5. Offer support and resources: Provide information about available treatment options, such as rehab programs or support groups. Offer to assist them in finding professional help and encourage them to reach out.
  6. Set boundaries: If the person refuses help or continues to deny their addiction, it may be necessary to set boundaries to protect yourself and maintain your own well-being.

Seeking Professional Help for Pain Pill Addiction

While your support and encouragement are valuable, it is essential to encourage the person struggling with pain pill addiction to seek professional help. Addiction treatment programs can provide the necessary tools and support for long-term recovery. Treatment options may include medical detoxification, therapy, counseling, and support group participation.

If the person is open to seeking help, assist them in finding a reputable treatment facility or addiction specialist. Encourage them to reach out to healthcare professionals who specialize in addiction medicine.


How to know if someone is addicted to pain pills can be a challenging and delicate process. By familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of pain pill addiction, you can know how to tell if someone is addicted to pain pills and provide the necessary support and guidance for the individual to seek help. Remember to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and a willingness to listen. With the right support and treatment, individuals struggling with pain pill addiction can embark on a path to recovery and reclaim their lives.


Ashley Addiction Treatment - Signs that Someone Has a Painkiller Addiction

The Camp Recovery Center - Pain Pill Addiction Sign & Symptoms

WhiteSands Treatment - Signs Someone Is Addicted to Pain Pills

The smarter way to stay accountable
Real-time group support and personalized feedback to help you overcome addiction — no matter how many times you’ve tried.
Learn Morean iphone with the text identify where boundaries may have slipped

Find Effective, Evidence-Based Treatment for Addiction in the Relay Program

There is help available to you if you or a loved one has a physical dependence or psychological dependence on a behavior or substance. These urges and compulsive behaviors can control your life, but you can take back control. Relay's addiction recovery program provides a comprehensive, outpatient approach to behavioral change - at home, at your own pace. To each new program member, we provide a personalized recovery plan, a peer support group, progress tracking, journaling, and intelligent insights about your behavior patterns, all within a simple and secure mobile app Our proven approach helps program members achieve the best chance at long-term recovery without the time or expense of rehab or therapy. Try the Relay program for free here; if you need help as you get set up, contact us now at

relay logo

Get connected and stay accountable
with peers

Join a team

A better way to recovery, right in your pocket.

a cell phone with a text message on the screen