Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

If a friend or a family member is abusing prescription medication, there are a variety of tell-tale signs. In order to get helped for yourself or a loved one, it is important to recognize the common symptoms of addiction to prescription drugs:


Prior to demonstrating physical signs of addiction, people will often engage in a series of strange behaviors. This can include things like:

  • Taking more medication than prescribed
  • Exaggerating and/or faking an illness/injury to get a prescription
  • “Doctor shopping,” i.e. going to different doctors to find routinely prescribed drugs
  • Seeing multiple doctors to acquire many prescriptions
  • Hiding and/or lying about medication
  • Family issues and a disinterest in family activities
  • Disregard for rules and authority
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Work/School Problems – increased absence from work/truancy, sudden rapidly-declining job performance/grades, worsening attitude, a higher rate of calling in sick
  • Social Problems – new friends, particularly ones who use drugs
  • Problems with the law
  • Withdrawal from old friends, clubs, or sports


There are also signs someone is addicted to prescription medication when it begins to affect their emotions. This can often lead to their inability to function in a normal social setting. Emotional symptoms can include:

  • Fluctuating moods
  • Change in personality
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Lapses in judgment/poor judgment
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Withdrawal/apathy


Some of the later stages of addiction involve a person’s body becoming physically addicted to the drug. So much so, to the point where they become physically ill without it. At this point, an individual’s body is physically dependent on the drug, and recovery will involve medical supervision. Some signs of physical addiction can include:

  • Chronic fatigue/tiredness
  • Changing in sleeping patterns
  • Red/unfocused/glazed eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Inattention to personal hygiene
  • Shaking

People can and do recover from prescription drug abuse every day. Give us a call and let us join you on your path to wellness.