Tag Archives: prescription drugs

50 Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse You Can’t Miss

When most people think of prescription drug abuse, they think of opioids. The prescription opioid epidemic has gotten a lot of media attention and these are the prescriptions most people think about when they hear about addiction, but, there are actually 3 commonly abused classes of prescription medication: opioids, stimulants, and benzodiazepines. The symptoms you experience when you abuse these medications vary based on the type of medication as well as your level of abuse. If you are experiencing and of the following symptoms and you worry that you may have a problem with prescription drug abuse, it is time to speak with your doctor about treatment.

Inpatient rehab is often the first choice, especially for doctors who realize the dangers involved in addiction and withdrawal. If you’re not sure how to choose the best rehab center or you need more information about local inpatient rehab centers near you, call our helpline toll-free at 1-888-605-7779 today. We’ll help you find a residential rehab center that can treat prescription drug addiction safely and effectively so that YOU can get well.


Prescription opioids are used to treat pain. Common examples include oxycodone, hydrocodone and codeine. In addition to the hundreds of opioid analgesics that are on the market and available by prescription, illicit opiates such as opium and heroin are also widely abused throughout the United States. Although opioid withdrawal is rarely fatal, prolonged users may experience symptoms of low blood pressure, seizures or other complications when they quit abruptly. As such, it is recommended that you seek inpatient rehab when you decide to quit taking opiates or any other prescription medication. Call our helpline at 1-888-605-7779 to be connected with an inpatient rehab specialist that can assist you.

Signs of prescription opioid abuse may include:

  1. Feeling no pain
  2. Sedation
  3. Vomiting
  4. Flushed or itching skin
  5. Nausea
  6. Constipation
  7. Slowed breathing rate
  8. Drowsiness
  9. Poor coordination
  10. Poor judgement or confusion
  11. Nodding off
  12. Heavy limbs

If you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, addition is a real threat and you should be concerned. Help is available if you’re ready to get sober.


Prescription stimulants are typically used to treat sleep disorders such as narcolepsy as well as behavioral disorders such as ADHD otherwise known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Commonly prescribed stimulants include Ritalin and Adderall. Most of these are considered Schedule III or Schedule IV controlled substances as they have a relatively low potential for abuse and misuse but this does not mean that taking these medications for ANY reason other than prescribed is safe. In fact, misuse of stimulants may lead to addiction and attempting to quit taking them cold-turkey will most definitely lead to withdrawal symptoms that require a professional level of monitoring and care.

Signs of prescription stimulant abuse include:

  1. Unexplained weight loss
  2. Paranoia
  3. Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  4. Increased hostility
  5. Seizures
  6. Increased heart rate
  7. Increased temperature
  8. Increased blood pressure
  9. Irregular heartbeat
  10. Irritability or agitation
  11. Anxiety
  12. Excessive hours of awake time (sometimes staying awake for days)
  13. Upbeat behavior and excessive activity

If you’re abusing stimulants, it’s important to seek the help of an inpatient rehab that can provide medically monitored detox. While certain prescriptions, such as opioids, are not likely to lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms (you may feel like you’re going to die but you’re generally not at serious risk of death), stimulants require a tapering method in order to safely reduce risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms during detox. Failure to seek medical treatment when you detox could lead to dire consequences including seizures, coma or death.


These medications are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders such as insomnia or the inability to fall asleep. Common examples of prescription benzos include include Xanax and Valium. These medications are usually considered Schedule IV controlled substances as they have a relatively low potential for abuse and misuse, but don’t mistake that for believing that these medications are “safe.” In fact, Benzodiazepines account for thousands of overdoses and are to blame for many drug related deaths each year. Mixing these medications with alcohol or with other medications especially opiates or stimulants could prove deadly.

Signs of prescription benzodiazepine abuse include:

  1. Unsteady walking
  2. Weakness
  3. Anxiety
  4. Anorexia
  5. Headaches
  6. Insomnia
  7. Difficulty breathing
  8. Slurred speech
  9. Lack of coordination
  10. Blurred vision
  11. Dizziness
  12. Drowsiness
  13. Confusion
  14. Problems with memory
  15. Sleeping excessively

If you’re using benzos such as Valium, Ativan or Xanax and you need help, call 1-888-605-7779 to be connected with an inpatient rehab specialist that can assist you.

Additional Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse or Misuse

The previous signs and symptoms are all physical and emotional. But, there are also behavioral cues that point to the possible abuse of prescription medications. In addition to the common symptoms of abuse listed above, you may notice a loved one is acting weird or out of sorts. Maybe you have experienced the first-hand behavioral patterns of the addiction of a loved one without even realizing what was happening right before your eyes. For instance, if you have a loved one that is doctor shopping, calling in fake prescriptions, or blaming others for taking his or her prescriptions, there may be a deeper problem that he or she is not telling you about.

With prescription drugs, any use of the medication that is not EXACTLY as prescribed could be a sign of addiction and is surely a sign of abuse. If your loved one loses medication, takes more than prescribed, or uses the medication for any reason other than for what the doctor prescribed it for, consider calling for help. Our phone number is 1-888-605-7779. We can help you differentiate between abuse and addiction, and if you decide that someone you love needs help, we’ll connect you with an inpatient rehab center near you today.

Look out for these additional signs that someone you care about is abusing potentially dangerous medications:

  1. A pattern of “losing” prescriptions, so that it’s ok to ask for another to be written
  2. Seeking and/or obtaining prescriptions from multiple doctors
  3. Appearing to be high, oddly peppy, or sedated
  4. Poor decision making
  5. Decrease or increase in sleep
  6. Remarkable hostility or mood swings
  7. Taking larger doses than prescribed
  8. Taking medication more frequently than prescribed
  9. Forging, stealing, or selling prescriptions
  10. Doctor shopping—using multiple doctors to get prescriptions

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

detecting prescription drug abuseAccording to NYU Langone Medical Center, prescription drug addiction affects thousands of individuals across the country. Some have found themselves addicted following a legitimate need for the medications that they are prescribed while others find themselves addicted as a direct result of taking these medications for reasons other than prescribed or when they never were prescribed. Regardless of how addiction occurs, the symptoms of prescription drug abuse are often easy to spot.

While prescription medications contribute to the health of the individuals who use them as prescribed, they also have the potential to cause serious side effects when they are misprescribed, taken against prescribed recommendations or taken when they weren’t prescribed at all. According to the Texas Division of Student Affairs, “prescription drugs are the second most commonly abused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs.”

Recognizing the Symptoms of Prescription Abuse

You may not realize it, but early detection of the potential symptoms of prescription drug abuse can help you know when someone you love needs professional help. Studies show that individuals take prescription drugs in an abusive manner for many different reasons including:

  • To stay awake while studying for a test or exam.
  • To have fun or extend a night out partying.
  • To relieve depression, anxiety or another mood.
  • To alleviate symptoms of pain.
  • To lose weight.
  • To counteract the withdrawal symptoms of other effects of some other illicit or controlled substances.
  • To treat underlying health conditions outside the recommendations of a doctor.

Symptoms of prescription drug abuse can include:

  • Taking more of a prescription medication that is prescribed.
  • Taking a dose of medication more often than prescribed.
  • Taking prescription medications when they haven’t been prescribed.
  • Taking the prescription medications of a friend, family member, coworker, loved one or someone else.
  • Taking prescription medications for any reason other than prescribed such as because you feel like getting high, because you feel better when you take the medication or because you simply want to see what happens when you take the medication.
  • Taking prescription medications when a doctor has told you not to.
  • Taking prescription medications as part of an unsupervised weight loss regimen.
  • Taking prescription medications to treat your mood.

How can you tell if you someone is taking a prescription medication in an abusive manner?

You may first notice signs of prescription drug abuse such as missing medication from the medicine cabinet or a continued “need” for more medication before the next scheduled refill date. Individuals who abuse drugs will often exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, changed behavior, or changed mood. Appearances may change as the individual becomes more consumed with his or her drug us and less concerned with things like showering, changing clothes or otherwise taking care of his or her appearance.

Here are some quick ways to spot a problem in someone you care about, pay close attention, if you notice the following signs, there could be a prescription drug abuse problem:

  • Missing medication.
  • Need for medication prior to refill date.
  • Medication is “lost”
  • Medication consistently runs out or doesn’t work or isn’t as effective as before.
  • Doctor shopping for more than one healthcare provider to prescribe a medication.
  • Going to more than one pharmacy in an attempt to fill medications.
  • Stealing money to purchase medication.
  • Telling lies about medical conditions in order to obtain medication.
  • Resorting to other methods of obtaining medication such as purchasing from other users on the streets.
  • Acting high or otherwise incoherent.
  • Acting reserved or otherwise not being involved with family or friends.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Changes in behavior, acting out or lashing out at loved ones.
  • Feeling sick or otherwise uncomfortable when drugs are not available.

If you or someone you love is abusing prescription medications, seeking help can change your life. While addiction may be difficult to cope with and equally difficult to control, your decision to seek treatment during your time of need could be life changing. Don’t let addiction to drugs rule your life and ruin you. Call our helpline toll free at 1-888-605-7779 to get immediate placement into a counseling or therapy program that will assist you in making the positive change necessary to live drug free.

Prince’s Death Tied to Pain Medication?

Pop singer Prince died suddenly on April 21, thrusting the world into shock and launching scores of tributes to the man and his music. It hasn’t taken long for speculation to start about what exactly led to Prince’s death at age 57. Some people close to the star have come forward to say they believe that his demise was related to drug abuse, and Prince’s manager is one of those who has said that drugs are to blame for his death. There have also been reports that his death was due to a severe case of the flu.

A week before Prince’s death, his private aircraft had to make an unscheduled stop in Illinois because he was “unresponsive.” The singer was taken to a local hospital for treatment. It is believed that the singer had taken Percocet, a prescription pain medication, made up of oxycodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen. He was treated for what has been reported to be a drug overdose.

Prince’s death may have been due to complications from the flu virus, which can be deadly.Between three and four thousand people in the US die each year due to the flu. In most instances, these deaths effect the young or the elderly, but even healthy people can succumb to the virus.

It’s also possible that medications he was taking made his flu symptoms worse. Codeine is a narcotic pain reliever as well as a cough suppressant. It is effective at stopping coughing, but for some people with the flu, it can lead to more serious complications.

Authorities are still conducting their investigation into Prince’s death and are looking at several possibilities, including one that his death could have been a result of a reaction to the pain medication he was taking. When someone is taking a medication regularly and then becomes acutely ill, they may not consider that something they take to provide symptom relief may react with their regular prescription. The combination of the two medications can have serious consequences.