Signs a Loved One is Abusing Prescription Drugs

Signs a Loved One is Abusing Prescription Drugs

Are you worried that a loved one is abusing prescription drugs? If so, you probably want to know the signs of a loved one abusing prescription drugs and what you can do to help them move forward.


Are Prescription Drugs Addictive?


Before you can recognize the signs a loved one is abusing prescription drugs, you probably want to know if prescription drugs are addictive. The short answer is yes. Many prescription drugs come with serious risks and side effects, one of which is addiction. Medications like benzodiazepines given to treat sleep disorders or anxiety and opioids provided to treat pain have severe risks of addiction.


Prescription Drug Commonly Abused


There is a wide range of prescription drugs commonly abused.


The first category includes depressants. Depressants are typically prescribed to help with sleep problems or severe anxiety. Depressants actually slow down your brain anxiety. Depressants include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and sleep medications. These include Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta, and Nembutal.

Opioids and Morphine Derivatives

The second category includes all opioids and morphine derivatives. Opioids and morphine derivatives are typically prescribed for pain management or sedation. By design, they are used to block pain signals between your brain and your body to help treat chronic or severe pain after an injury or surgery. The most common include codeine, which is even used in Tylenol or Robitussin. Other medications in this category include morphine and methadone, Fentanyl, and opioid pain relievers. Opioid pain relievers include oxymorphone, propoxyphene, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. The prescription names for these drugs include Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Tylox, Darvocet, and Opana.


The third category includes amphetamines and Methylphenidate. You might be prescribed Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, or Dexedrine. These types of stimulants are usually prescribed to create conditions like narcolepsy or ADHD. By design, they increase your attention, your energy, and your alertness. 


The other category includes dextromethorphan, which is usually found in cold medications and cough syrups. This category of drug is available over-the-counter, and it can affect the same areas of the brain as ketamine or PCP.


Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse


The signs of prescription drug abuse will vary based on the type of drug being abused.





Drowsiness Constipation Increased alertness
Confusion Nausea Anxiety
Slurred speech Slowed breathing Agitation
Poor concentration Drowsiness Reduced appetite
Problems with memory Poor coordination Insomnia
Slowed breathing Increased dose requirement for pain management High blood pressure or irregular heartbeat
Dizziness Confusion Paranoia
Unsteady walking Increased sensitivity to pain High body temperature


There are many other signs shared across all prescription drug categories. For example, you might notice your loved one no longer engaging in hobbies or activities they once loved. You might see your loved ones pulling away from those they were once close to and avoiding responsibilities at work or in school.


Other shared signs include behavioral changes like severe mood swings or sudden changes to their personality. You might notice illegal behavior like stealing or other destructive decisions. If your family member continually loses their prescription or goes to more than one doctor to get prescriptions, or you notice your drugs are missing as well, that might be a sign of prescription drug abuse. Sleep problems, appetite problems, both of which can go severely up or down, as well as erratic energy or sedation, are often associated with signs of prescription drug abuse.


So what are the signs a loved one is abusing prescription drugs? They can be behavioral or psychological as well as physical. 


Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment in Laguna Beach, CA


If you recognize the signs a loved one is abusing prescription drugs, it might be time to encourage them to get professional help. Laguna View Detox is a comprehensive rehabilitation center that can give your loved ones medically-assisted detox programs to help them flush their body of any remaining prescription drug and manage their withdrawal symptoms. After completing this initial step, our trained professionals can help your loved ones cope with their cravings through regular therapies and holistic activities like horseback riding on the beach, hiking, yoga, meditation, and other similar therapies. 


Our goal is to help your loved ones cultivate the long-term skills they need to manage their cravings, avoid addiction in the future, and find alternative ways to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or anger that led them to abuse prescription drugs in the first place.

Let Laguna View Detox help you and your loved ones with prescription drug abuse. Reach out to us today.