The specific signs of prescription drug abuse depend on the drug being taken, but signs common to all drugs include cravings and the appearance of withdrawal symptoms if the drug use stops. As addiction develops obtaining the drug becomes increasingly important, even when it begins to cause problems in financial, health, and relationship areas of the person's life. Drug abuse and addiction can lead to activities such as stealing, forging prescriptions, and "losing" prescriptions, doctor shopping, missing work, and failing. Lexington prescription drug addiction treatment centers thoroughly treat individuals who find themselves frequently abusing prescription drugs.
Several classes of drugs commonly lead to prescription drug abuse, often because they have mind-altering properties. These prescription drugs include opiates and opioids such as morphine, codeine, Vicodin, and OxyContin, sedatives like Xanax and Valium, and stimulants and drugs prescribed for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine.
All drugs can cause problems, result in dependence, and have adverse effects on health but prescription drugs can be especially dangerous, especially if taken in large doses or in combination with other drugs (prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal) or alcohol.
Prescription drugs that are often abused are the opioids and opiates related to or derived from substances in the opium poppy. Abuse of these medications produces early signs and symptoms such as nausea, constipation, slowed breathing, confusion, poor coordination, and drowsiness. Complications that may arise with prescription opioids include low blood pressure and breathing that can become slow enough to stop altogether, resulting in coma and death.
Abuse of sedatives also produces drowsiness and confusion, along with dizziness, memory problems, and poor concentration. Heavy or frequent use of sedatives can also slow breathing to the point of coma and death, and stopping their use too abruptly can cause seizures.
Stimulant abuse signs include poor appetite, agitation, unsteadiness, memory problems, irregular heartbeat, and slurred speech. Stimulant drugs can raise the body temperature to dangerous levels and produce heart irregularities, high blood pressure, and seizures. Stimulant abuse can also result in aggressive behavior and paranoia.