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What are Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse occurs whenever a prescribed medication is used in any way that is not intended by the prescribing doctor. Some prescription drug abuse is as innocent as taking prescription allergy relief if you are suffering from allergies yourself. Most common, prescription drug abuse happens compulsively.

Because prescription drug abuse is becoming an increasing problem in the United States, it’s important to know the signs of abusing prescription drugs. Although some signs of prescription drug abuse can be subtle, others are more obvious. By knowing these signs, you can identify substance abuse early on so you or the individual you love can get the treatment needed.

Keep reading to learn the most common signs that you or a loved one is abusing prescription drugs. 

Most Common Signs of Abusing Prescription Drugs 

Signs of prescription drug abuse often depend on the prescription category or classification. The most commonly abused prescriptions are considered opioids, anti-anxiety medications, and stimulants. Let’s take a close look at each one of these categories, including signs of abuse.


Opioids are typically used to treat pain. Many opioid medications contain oxycodone. Common opioids containing oxycodone include Oxycontin or Percocet. Other opioids contain hydrocodone, like Norco. Signs of opioid abuse include:

  • Constipation 
  • Confusion 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Euphoria 
  • Nausea 
  • Poor concentration 
  • Slowed breathing 
  • Increased dose needed for the same effect 
  • Increased sensitivity to pain 

Anti-Anxiety Medications 

Anti-anxiety medications, sometimes called sedatives, are designed to treat anxiety and certain sleep disorders. Some of the most commonly abused anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. Some symptoms or signs to look out for include:

  • Confusion 
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness 
  • Memory problems
  • Slowed breathing 
  • Unsteady walking 
  • Poor concentration 
  • Slurred speech 


Stimulants are normally used to treat attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder and certain sleep disorders. The most commonly abused stimulants include Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Dexedrine. Signs of stimulant abuse include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Agitation 
  • Alertness
  • Euphoria 
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Insomnia 
  • Increased blood pressure 
  • High temperature
  • Reduced appetite 

Other Signs to Watch For 

In addition to the signs above, there are some other signs to look out for. These signs can point to prescription drug abuse or illicit drug abuse. These signs include:

  • Stealing 
  • Selling prescription drugs 
  • Forging drugs 
  • Excessive hostility 
  • Excessive mood swings 
  • Run-ins with the law
  • Poor decision making 
  • Appearance of being “high” 
  • “Losing” medications regularly 
  • Seeing more than one doctor 
  • Disheveled appearance 

What to Do If Your Loved One Shows Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse 

If you or someone you love is showing multiple of the signs above, prescription medication abuse may be to blame. Unfortunately, many prescription medications lead to physical dependence and addiction. Physical dependence and addiction both need medical treatment so that the individual can recover safely.

If you or your loved one has reached the point of addiction, simply quitting cold turkey may seem like an impossible task. Instead, individuals who suffer from compulsive prescription drug abuse need medical intervention and treatment to detox from the substance and learn healthier coping mechanisms. As such, you should contact a doctor or treatment facility for professional help. 

90210 Recovery Can Help 

If you are looking for a rehab facility to treat prescription drug abuse, 90210 Recovery can help. 90210 Recovery is a luxury rehab facility in Beverly Hills that offers comprehensive, holistic treatment for individuals suffering from addiction and substance abuse. We even offer intervention help if your loved one refuses to recognize the extent of their problem.

At our facility, you will be treated in a luxury environment, all while receiving the medical attention you need. To learn more about our prescription drug abuse treatments, contact 90210 Recovery today.


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