Prescription Drug Abuse -Identify the Signs and Symptoms

How to Identify the Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse


Prescription drug abuse is an endemic across the United States and numerous European countries, as the amount of individuals seeking prescription drug addiction treatment continues to rise. In the U.S., prescription drug abuse leaders include stimulants, sedatives, tranquilizers, and opioids. The number of people fighting benzodiazepines or opioid addiction and seeking treatment increased more than 400 percent between 1998 and 2008. However, only one in 100 people abusing prescription drugs seek treatment.

Prescription drug abuse often accompanies eating disorders as well.  If you are a female struggling with eating disorders and co-occuing addictions, please reach out to us so we can discuss the best way to help you.

Self-Medicating with Prescription Drugs


People misuse prescription drugs intended to treat anxiety, difficulty maintaining focus, severe pain, and sleeplessness. The abuse rate of these drugs is second only to marijuana. Many people may start by using a prescription drug legitimately but then progress to abuse after addiction occurs. Others try someone else’s medication at a party, in school, or at work and enjoy the effects. However it happens, at the Pines Recovery we see the rates of addiction, abuse, and overdose on the rise.


Signs and Symptoms of Abuse


Benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Halcyon, are intended to treat anxiety and sleeplessness, and are the most commonly abused prescription drugs because of their mind-altering properties. Someone abusing these drugs may seem abnormally drowsy and relaxed. In addition to aggression, agitation, paranoia, or suicidal thoughts, other signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse include:


  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Poor memory retention
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Dilated pupils
  • Depression


It is important to be aware of sudden and distinct changes in young people, such as losing interest in hobbies, withdrawing from family and friends, and lack of concern for appearance, as this may be a sign of someone who has started abusing prescription drugs. Parents often chalk up these changes to just being a teenager. However, if an excessive amount of symptoms show up, it is time for a closer look.


Withdrawal Warnings


Naturally, the signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse vary depending on the particular drug. A person abusing prescription opiates does not feel pain at normal levels and experiences drowsiness, nausea, constipation, confusion, and constricted pupils. If they pass out, their breathing may be abnormally slow. If they try to stop using the drug without medical support, they are likely to endure insomnia, vomiting, muscle and bone pain, chills, and diarrhea for several days. These drugs are highly addictive and are very dangerous to withdraw from without medical assistance. Fortunately, many medical drug treatment programs help people find sobriety even after years or decades of addiction.


For more information call call Wasatch Crest Center.

Schedule A Consultation

  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
    * All indicated fields must be completed.
    Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Accessibility Toolbar

Scroll to Top