What are the Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction?

By Nashville Detox

Prescription drug abuse has become an issue not just in the United States, but around the world. It is considered an epidemic in various places. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 48 million people aged 12 and above have utilized prescription drugs in their life for reasons outside of medical prescriptions. 

Therefore, an astonishing 20% of the U.S. population has abused prescription drugs at least one time in their life. There are various reasons believed to contribute to prescription drug abuse rise including the following items:

  • Persuasive unemployment
  • Doctors prescribing more of these medications 
  • Socio-economic elements 
  • The ease of obtaining these medications 

It is essential to learn more on how to prevent prescription drug abuse to save a life and ultimately a future. 

How Do You Know If Someone Abusing Prescription Drugs? 

The effects that prescription drugs can have to vary significantly depending on the following factors:

  • The amount taken
  • If prolonged use has been occurring
  • The type of drug
  • The individual taking it

Opioid Pain Killers

As an individual engages in higher doses, it can lead to more pain, which opioids are intended to treat. Some of the physical symptoms can include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Confusion 
  • Constipation 
  • Lack of coordination 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Nausea 

There are also many withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Involuntary movements
  • Pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Flashes of cold
  • Restlessness


Sedatives, including anti-anxiety prescription medications, can lead to the following physical symptoms:

  • Slurred speech
  • Sleepiness
  • Memory problems 
  • Concentration problems
  • Slower breathing 
  • Walking problems
  • Dizziness problems
  • Poor judgment such as involuntary tics or movements


The warning signs of an individual using stimulants such as Amphetamines are the following:

  • Jitty feeling
  • Agitation 
  • Anxiety
  • Raised body temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures 
  • Unexplainable weight loss 

What are Some of the Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs? 

When an individual is attached to a prescription drug or any type of drug, they will begin manifesting behavioral warning signs and physical signs. Prescription drugs, along with any kind of drug, alter the structure of the brain as time progresses. Once this process occurs, it becomes increasingly difficult for the addict to make good choices.

The following drugs are legitimately used to treat medical conditions, but chronic or infrequent abuse can still occur by the individual using the drug in a way not intended by the provider. The result of an addict abusing prescription drugs can be deadly and dangerous. Therefore, it is imperative to know the answer to what are the signs of prescription drug abuse and how can an addict be helped.

support during prescription drug abuse addiction treatment


These are prescription drugs that are commonly used to treat pain. Opioids are one of the most addictive classes of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, the process that normally begins to take place is once individuals abuse opioids, heroin is their next desire. Heroin is a potent opioid that is cheaper than prescription drugs.


Depressants are commonly prescribed for the treatment of sleep problems and anxiety. It’s important to be careful when embarking on this drug because it can lead to abuse when particularly paired with other substances.

The central nervous depressants (Benzos) in this category are the following:

  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Klonopin
  • Ativan


Stimulants are prescription drugs like Methylphenidates such as Ritalin and Concerta, and Amphetamines such as Adderall. It is prescribed to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder. 

People abuse these drugs for the following reasons:

  • It decreases people appetite
  • Individuals feel more alert
  • They receive a sense of self-confidence
  • A euphoric feeling is granted

What Are The Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse? 

The signs of prescription drug addiction occur in the following way:

  • Taking higher than recommended doses, also known as hostility
  • Drug-seeking tendencies
  • Eating and sleeping habits shifting 
  • Appearing sluggish, hyperactive, and intoxicated
  • Alcohol use increased
  • Taking prescription drugs from others and borrowing them
  • Prescriptions are being filled at an incredibly fast rate
  • The individual confessing that multiple prescriptions have been lost

The other most common signs of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Falsification or theft of prescriptions 
  • Online pharmacy prescriptions being ordered 
  • Medication being stashed in numerous places in the house
  • Crushing or breaking pills
  • Providing false information on the amount of medication taken 

What are Some Behavioral Warning Signs?

The telling factors of knowing whether or not an individual is abusing prescription drugs isn’t just based on red flags or physical signs only but behavioral warning signs. During the beginning of individual abusing prescription drugs, the behavioral changes can be subtle and include: 

  • Lack of concentration or focus in areas such as work or school 
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Withdrawing from normal social interactions

As time progresses, the signs to look out for include:

  • Increasing aggressive behavior
  • Noticeable changes in personality 
  • Damaged relationships with friends and loved ones 
  • Depression
  • Secrecy, lying
  • Financial problems
  • Taking extreme measures to obtain the prescription drugs

If an individual is abusing prescription drugs, they will begin to create new social groups. A clever trick addict will try analyzing a fellow addict so they can go to the doctor and admit they have the same problems the addict has. It is called doctor shopping. The process might continue until they find a participating doctor who will prescribe the medication to them. 

The signs of pill addiction are critical and the addict will go to great lengths to secure their fix. They will even steal the drug from other people as a last resort. 

What Are The Factors That Contribute To Prescription Drug Abuse?

Though researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint a single factor that contributes to prescription drug abuse. It is said that individuals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction usually have close or related family members, such as a brother or parent, battling with addiction. 

Brain Chemistry

It’s been speculated that precise individuals might have been born lacking particular neurotransmitters responsible for sensations pleasurable in their brains. These specific people might attempt to self-medicate the deficiency with prescription drugs to increase neurotransmitters levels. 


Secondly, individuals who have grown up in a home where addiction was uncontrollable, these same individuals might grow up believing that abusing drugs is the route to handle life difficulties. Additionally, individuals who begin to abuse substances early in life are at a greater risk of developing an addiction later on. 


It is extremely common that when an individual is struggling with prescription drug addiction that they might also be suffering from a co-occurring mental illness. When individuals are struggling with both difficulties, they might be attempting to self-medicate the symptoms of their undiagnosed or untreated mental illness. 

How Does Prescription Drug Detox Work?

Detox, also known as detoxification, is the process of allowing the body to eliminate all of the drugs. When an individual puts a halt to taking alcohol or drugs, the detox journey manages all withdrawal symptoms appropriately. The detox procedure is a personal moment for each individual. The therapy will be tailored to each person. 

Each person’s detox will be unique to the following factors:

  • The length of time the drug was used
  • The type of drug used


The incoming patients are screened for mental and physical health issues by our medical staff. During this evaluation, blood tests are used by doctors to determine the level of medications in a person’s system. Once the level of medication is discovered, the medical staff can figure out the amount of medication needed for that patient. 


Throughout the psychosocial and medical treatment, the patient must be stabilized. The main purpose of stabilization is to keep the patient safe from injury. During this process, therapy drugs for addiction can be prescribed by doctors to lessen withdrawal symptoms and avoid complications. 

Getting Ready To Start Treatment

The final step of detox is the preparation for a treatment program. This step is when doctors will explain the therapy process and what is to be expected from their patients. The inpatient rehab supplies the best prospects of success after detox is completed. 

When an individual detoxes from prescription drugs, the process is difficult and harmful. This is why medical detox is so necessary. Patients will experience the luxury of detoxing under medical supervision in a comfortable and secure atmosphere. Outpatient and inpatient rehab have varying levels of monitoring the patients. 

Get Help At Nashville Detox Today

As discussed above, there are various forms of prescription drug medications that an addict can utilize and become hooked on. Here at Nashville Detox, we offer a premier provider of drug and alcohol detoxification. We understand how intimidating and difficult this process might be. Contact us today to get started on the journey. 




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