10 Side Effects of Prescription Drug Abuses

Like any kind of drug abuse, using prescription drugs against what a doctor’s orders is abuse and has serious risks for a person’s health. With prescription drug abuse comes numerous side effects. It is important to recognise these side effects and get help; in doing so, further health risks may potentially be avoided.

Most Abused

There are three different classes of prescriptions that are most susceptible to abuse: opiates, stimulants, and depressants.


Prescribed to treat sever or chronic pain (oxycontin, Percocet, morphine)


Usually prescribed for ADD or ADHD (dextroamphetamine, Ritalin, Phentermin)


Prescribed to treat anxiety or sleep disorders (Valium, Xanax, clonazepam)


Each prescription drug has different side effects; some have many of the same side effects and others have very different effects. Abusers of prescription drugs tend to combine their medication with other prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol. This leads to more side effects and the risk of overdose very high.

10 Side Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

In general each of the following side effects of prescription drug abuse can occur with all three classes: opiates, stimulants, and depressants. The user may only exhibit a few of the side effects, but this does not necessarily mean they are not abusing.

Alterations in Mood

One of the most obvious side effects of prescription drug abuse is the alterations in the user’s mood. This means that one moment the user could be very calm and relaxed and soon after they may seem very irritable. Overtime, their mood changes or alterations in behavior may seem closer apart; this is because they are developing a tolerance to the prescription and need more of it to feel the same desirable feeling.

Erratic Behaviour

When a person is abusing prescription drugs one of the side effects to look for is newly developed erratic behavior. The person may seem to be spontaneous and seem out of character.

Mental Cloudiness

Many prescription drugs cause a mental cloudiness; the person may seem to be slow at answering questions or performing tasks.


Prescription drug abuse can cause confusion in users. This side effect can happen in short term use of prescription drugs; as the use becomes more frequent the confusion may seem to get worse.

Inability to Sleep or Excess Sleep

How a person’s sleep is affected will depend on which prescription drug is being taken. Some may cause the user to sleep for a great amount of time, while others may cause bouts of insomnia. The user may find this side effect extremely irritating and begin take other drugs to have the opposite effect to what they are experiencing.


Anxiety is a very common side effect of prescription drug abuse. Anxiety will cause the user to seem uneasy, nervous, and worried. People who suffer from severe anxiety will seem to be anxious almost all of the time.


Prescription drugs, especially stimulants, may cause the user to be extremely hyperactive. They may seem unable to sit still even for short periods of time.

Hygiene and Appearance 

When a person begins to abuse prescription drugs, they may begin to not care about their physical appearance and hygiene. In some users their clothing style may dramatically change; they may go from being well dressed to very sloppy.

Suicidal Tendencies

Unfortunately, this is a side effect of prescription drug abuse and even with monitored use. A person is vulnerable to experiencing this side effect if they abruptly stop taking certain prescriptions.


Overdose is one of the most common side effects of all prescription drug abuse. This is because many users combine different prescriptions together. Another reason for overdosing is because a person may have built up a tolerance to the drug, so to get the same desired effect, they take more and sometime too much of the drug. Overdosing on any drug, especially prescriptions can be disastrous and even fatal.


Addiction is most likely the most common side effect of prescription drug abuse. Most prescriptions, especially the ones that make up the three classes above are very addictive. Once an addiction has begun, it is very difficult to stop using. Users may experience painful withdrawal and will most likely need to go to a detox center and then to a rehab to break free from the addiction.

Other Negative Effects

With these 10 side effects, the abuse of prescription drugs often have other negative effects; such as, problems with personal relationships, employment difficulties or job loss, financial difficulties, legal issues, and psychological problems.

Signs to Look For

Along with the side effects of prescription drug abuse, anyone suspecting someone of abuse should look for.

  • Going to multiple doctors
  • Going to multiple pharmicies
  • Forged prescriptions
  • Illegal online pharmaceutical purchases
  • Theft and burglary (from hospitals, residences, pharmacies)
  • Obtaining prescription from family and friends
  • Asking physicians to overprescribe the drug

Get Help Today

Getting clean and sober should be the most important concern for anyone who is abusing prescription medications, if not then an addiction is almost guaranteed. If you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs, contact The Cabin Chiang Mai today.

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