Symptoms of prescription drug addiction

In times of healing after a serious injury or major surgery, prescription drugs can offer short-term relief from acute pain. However, given their chemical makeup, these substances also carry a high potential for misuse. When taken outside of the recommended dose, these drugs produce a euphoric, tranquil high that can be addictive for some. Therefore, any prescription for an opioid painkiller should be accompanied by an explicit warning about the potentially addictive nature of these substances.

At Priory, we are pleased to offer comprehensive care for anyone suffering from a prescription drug addiction, in addition to many types of co-occurring conditions.

Find out more about prescription drug addiction treatment.

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction

If you receive a prescription for a habit-forming substance and develop a subsequent dependence on the drug, it is likely that you will exhibit some of the following signs and symptoms:

Behavioural symptoms

  • No longer being able to adhere to the tasks of daily living
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene
  • Disinterest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Trouble performing at work or university

Physical symptoms
If you have an addiction to prescription drugs, you may experience some of the following physical symptoms:

  • Diminished or increased appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Unintended weight fluctuations
  • Physical health problems such as nausea, vomiting or headaches
  • Catatonia

Psychological symptoms

  • Intense cravings for the substance
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Irritability
  • Chronic low mood and / or flat affect

Social symptoms

  • Financial strain
  • Problems in important relationships
  • Social isolation

Effects of prescription drug addiction

If you are addicted to prescription drugs, these substances will soon become the focal point of your life. More and more time will be spent upon your efforts to acquire and misuse your drug(s) of choice, causing you to neglect parts of your life that were once important to you. Left untreated, a dependence upon prescription drugs can lead to the following:

  • Financial strain
  • Loss of employment
  • Academic failure
  • Health problems
  • Worsening of mental health concerns
  • Damaged personal relationships
  • Legal trouble

However, by making the decision to receive treatment, you can avoid suffering from these effects.

Risk factors for prescription drug addiction

Research has shown that the two most accurate predictors of the onset of a prescription drug misuse problem are genetics and environment. Addiction has a known genetic component, which means that if you have a first-degree relative who struggles with substance misuse, you’ll be at greater risk for developing a similar problem.

Also, early exposure to drug or alcohol misuse in the home might put you at increased risk too. Additionally, being surrounded by peers who engage in addictive behaviours may increase the odds that you could become addicted to substances such as prescription drugs.


Symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal

One of the most difficult aspects of addiction is the onset of uncomfortable symptoms that set in when you do not have access to your drug of choice. Known collectively as 'withdrawal', this experience can serve to keep you trapped in your substance misuse problem, even when you truly want to overcome your addiction. Some of the common symptoms of withdrawal from prescription drugs are listed below:

  • Strong drug cravings
  • Insomnia or fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Fortunately, with the proper treatment, the symptoms listed above can be significantly lessened or removed altogether. With help from Priory, you can rid your mind and body of illicit substances in safety and in comfort, and have immediate access to the services and support that will assist you in achieving your goals for a drug-free life. This includes 24/7 clinical supervision and medical management in a nurse-led environment.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding prescription drug addiction treatment and rehab, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here for a free addiction assessment.