Common Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse can lead to opioid addiction, which leads to an increased risk of overdose and death. Millions of people struggle with prescription drug abuse every day, and it is often nearly impossible for them to stop using without the support of a team of addiction specialists.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from an addiction to medications prescribed initially by a doctor, find out how prescription drug addiction treatment at Alina Lodge can help. Don’t hesitate to contact our Alina Lodge team confidentially online or call us at 833.685.1700 today. The first step in recovery is recognizing that there’s a problem. Sometimes, it helps to be able to identify common signs of prescription drug abuse.

Phases of Prescription Drug Abuse

While every person’s descent into prescription drug abuse and addiction is different, there are common themes to opiate addiction.

Non-Medical Use

The first sign that someone is on the road to an opioid addiction is when they begin using prescription drugs for non-medicinal purposes. For people who do have medical prescriptions for the drugs, non-medical use involves taking your prescription more often than prescribed, taking pills not prescribed to you, or using more than the dose the doctor prescribed. If a person is using their prescription for non-medical purposes, it’s likely a red flag that they have begun to take their painkillers to get high instead of treating pain.


Misusing prescription drugs is similar to non-medical use, but it is done at a chronic level. If a person regularly misuses prescription drugs, they will have to keep increasing the dosage amount to keep experiencing the same high or same level of pain relief. If the prescription drug abuse can be identified here, prescription drug treatment can be started and help with recovery. This is because tolerance is the gateway to long-term dependence and opioid addiction.


Repeated and chronic misuse of prescription drugs is a clear sign of drug abuse. Other signs that you or a loved one is suffering from prescription drug abuse include:

  • Relationship problems
  • Missing work or school
  • Obsessing about the drug
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Signs of withdrawal if the drug is not used regularly


Physical dependence on prescription drugs can swiftly lead to psychological dependence. When that occurs, a person is in the final stage of prescription drug abuse. Physical dependence refers to the withdrawal symptoms a person will feel if the drug is not used, but a psychological dependence is a compulsive need to keep using the drug, despite severe negative consequences. Once an opioid addiction has taken hold, you may start timing doses so you never come down, which takes you down a path of stealing pills, doctor shopping, and buying pills illegally to never feel a withdrawal.

Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

It is important to be aware of and be able to recognize the signs of prescription drug abuse in yourself and others in your life. That way, you can seek out prescription drug treatment that may not only help with recovery but also save a life. Signs of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Lack of interest in treatment options other than the prescribed medications
  • Secretive behavior, such as stealing prescriptions, doctor shopping, or using other people’s prescriptions
  • Physical withdrawal when doses are missed
  • Needing more and more pills to ease the pain or get high
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and social life
  • Poor decision making

Overcome Prescription Drug Abuse at Alina Lodge

If you struggle with opiate addiction and have the desire to stop, prescription drug treatment is a critical piece of long-term recovery. Learn more when you contact our Alina Lodge team using our secure online form or call us at 833.685.1700 today. Take the first step in your recovery journey by reaching out to Alina Lodge today.

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