Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction accounts for roughly one-third of all drug abuse in the US yet it is one of the most poorly recognized types of chemical dependency. It is still hard for many patients to believe that a medicine they received from their doctor to help make them feel better could cause such devastation. Since many prescription drug addictions do start with a legitimate prescription from the addict’s MD, many develop a false sense of safety. Unfortunately, this can easily spiral out of control if the medication is not taken strictly as directed on the label and/or when there is no exit plan in place to assist the patient in healthfully stopping the prescription.

Family members of those with a prescription drug addiction often have a hard time differentiating between the side effects related to medical prescription drug use and the signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction that requires treatment. If you have questions about whether or not it is time for you or someone you care about to seek prescription drug rehab, contact us at the phone number listed above today.

What Is Prescription Drug Addiction?

A prescription drug is any medicine regulated by law that requires a doctor’s permission before it can be obtained. The prescription drugs most likely to cause addiction are those that operate by either blocking or promoting chemical reactions in the brain. Any drug that alters your brain chemistry has the potential to be addictive.

Three different classes of prescriptions are most susceptible to addiction:

  • Stimulants: Most commonly prescribed for ADHD or narcolepsy (e.g., Ritalin and Adderall), stimulant prescription drugs have an “upper” effect on the user and increase the rate of metabolism.
  • Opiates: Most often prescribed to treat severe or chronic pain or relieve cough (e.g., OxyContin, Vicodin, Codeine, Demerol),opiate prescription painkillers are the most commonly abused class of prescription drugs.
  • Tranquilizers/sedatives: Frequently prescribed to treat anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disorders (e.g., Valium and Xanax), tranquilizers and sedatives are the second most commonly abused class of prescription drugs.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Despite the fact that the different types of prescription drugs that cause addiction have dissimilar and sometimes opposite effects on the body, there are still common signs and symptoms to look for no matter which class of drug is being abused. The following signs of prescription drug addiction in any combination signify that prescription drug rehab that includes both prescription drug detox and addiction treatment is necessary for recovery.


  • Neglecting Your Responsibilities at school, work, or home (e.g., failing classes, skipping work, neglecting your children) because of your drug use.
  • Unexplained Financial Difficultiesin someone due to the high cost of their prescription and/or the loss of a job due to prescription drug addiction.


  • Using Drugs Under Dangerous Conditions such as driving while under the influence of drugs, using dirty needles or having unprotected sex.
  • Drug Use Is Causing Legal Trouble such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence or stealing to support a drug habit.
  • Drug Use Is Affecting Relationships such as frequent fights with your partner or family members or the loss of good friends.
  • Drug Tolerance is a term that describes the need to take increasingly larger amounts of a drug to feel normal.
  • Physical Dependenceoccurs when an addict goes too long without their drug of choice and they experience withdrawal symptoms (e.g., nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating and shaking) as a result.
  • Unable to Quit despite the desire to stop and repeated attempts.
  • Life Revolves Around Using Prescription Drugs with the majority of time spent using drugs, figuring out how to get more and recovering from the drug’s effects.
  • No Longer Participates in Favorite Activities such as hobbies, sports and socializing.
  • Continue to Use Drugs Despite Harmful Consequences like blackouts, infections, mood swings, depression and paranoia.
  • Mood Swings that correspond to the availability or absence of prescription drugs.
  • Extremes in Sleep Patterns that alternate between sleeping excessively and not sleeping at all.

There Is Help Available

If you feel that you or someone you love may have some of the signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction, you don’t have to figure out the next step alone. Give us a call today so we can help you understand what the options are for rehabilitation and recovery from prescription drug addiction. We have programs to fit almost any individual’s needs. With one phone call, you can get yourself or someone close to you on the road to recovery.