Prescription Drug Addiction Health Conditions

People have developed a dependence on prescription drugs, leading to suffering from prescription drug addiction health conditions. Learn more here.
Prescription Drug Addiction Health Conditions

Prescription Drug Addiction Health Conditions

People have developed a dependence on prescription drugs, leading to suffering from prescription drug addiction health conditions. Learn more here.

Table of Contents


There are many health conditions associated with prescription drug abuse. It puts a strain not only on your health but also on your relationships and finances. It is essential to note that the first step towards recovery and healing is understanding the consequences of prescription drug abuse, the symptoms, causes, and effects.1

What Are Prescription Drugs Used For?

Prescription drugs differ from OTC drugs as they can be purchased without a prescription. In contrast, prescription drugs are prescribed by a licensed doctor or health practitioner to treat pain, mental, or other health issues.

Why Do Some Prescription Drugs Lead to Addiction?

Prescription drugs are used to treat pain and make the user feel better. However, according to research by FDA, doctors consistently prescribe drugs that are potentially addictive at a high rate. Because of this, some people begin to like the effects of some prescription drug(s) and continue using them in a way not recommended by the doctor, leading to addiction.

Some prescription drugs flood the brain’s reward center or system with dopamine, resulting in a feeling of pleasurable high. This feeling drives the user to take the drug consistently, causing the user to become dependent on the drug to feel ‘normal’ or ‘good.’ Because of this, a tolerance can be developed. When tolerance is developed, resisting the use of drugs becomes difficult. This is because the central nervous system has gotten used to the drug’s presence and its effects on the brain.

Side Effects of Prescription Drug Abuses

There are various side effects of prescription drug abuse. Though they seem mild, taking them in different forms than intended or prescribed can cause severe health complications. Also, if prescription drugs are taken with other substances, the effects increase and could lead to overdose or death.

The most common side effects of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Shallow breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Death or overdose

The Most Commonly Addictive Prescription Drugs

The three most common addictive prescription drugs will be detailed below.


Opioids are prescription painkiller drugs available in various forms: capsules, tablets, and liquid to treat severe and/or long-lasting pain. Once used, opioids bind to certain brain receptors and act on the opioid receptors in the nervous system to reduce pain.2

Opioids also increase dopamine activities in the brain. Because they are highly addictive, they are not included in over-the-counter purchases. Therefore, the doctor exclusively prescribes them. Some common opioid drugs include:

  • Vicodin
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin)
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone

Opioid Effects

Opioid abuse can cause a decrease in cognitive function, mood changes, vomiting, difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, a decline in respiratory function, constipation, or death.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

Central nervous system (CNS) depressants include benzodiazepines and barbiturates, sedative-hypnotic drugs. They commonly treat insomnia, sleep disorders, anxiety, seizures, and muscle spasms. CNS depressants bring about the feeling of calmness and relaxation the same way’ club drugs’ does.

CNS depressants slow down brain activity like tranquilizers or sedatives, leading to drowsiness and a feeling of calmness. Some of the most common opioid drugs include:

  • Diazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Clonazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Pentobarbital
  • Eszopiclone
  • Zolpidem

Impacts of CNS Depressants

In the first few days of using CNS depressants, users may experience incoordination and sleepiness. Other effects include headache, confusion, dizziness, lack of focus or concentration, vomiting, memory issues, slurred speech, and more.


Stimulants are prescribed drugs used to treat obesity, narcolepsy, and ADHD. These drugs have the same effect as cocaine, causing a buildup of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. Stimulants increase alertness and energy, blood pressure, or appetite suppression.

As the name implies, stimulants stimulate or boost the brain. This stimulation comes from the dopamine released in the brain, the chemical responsible for reward, attention, motivation, and focus. Also, Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that regulates various physiological functions, including heart rate and respiration, as well as the body’s “fight-or-flight” response. Although they are in pill form, they can be used in liquid or skin patch form. Some of the most common opioid prescription drugs include:

  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Modafinil
  • Concerta
  • Phentermine
  • Dexedrine

Side Effects of Stimulants

Side effects of stimulants include weight loss, slowed breathing, vomiting, nausea, appetite loss, bloodshot and dilated eyes, increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate, sweating, hallucinations, and sleeplessness. 

Prescription Drug Addiction Complications by Length of Use

There are several prescription drug addiction health conditions. The effects of prescription drug abuse can be hazardous, especially when taken in high doses, combined with other OTC or prescription drugs or other substances, such as alcohol

Sometimes, the damage and consequences of prescription drug abuse can be advanced to the point of irreversibility or inability to recover/heal. Prescription drug abuse affects both the body and the brain. The health effects of prescriptions drugs abuse include:

Short-Term Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

If you have been abusing prescription drugs, there are some short-term effects that you may or may not have experienced yet.

Short-Term Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse on the Body

When prescription drugs are abused, there are various short-term effects on the body. These short-term effects depend on the type of drug abused. Most short-term prescription drug abuse effects are reversible through a prescription drug abuse treatment. Some short-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the body include:
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Rapid or slow heart rate
  • Eye issues or disturbances
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Overdose
  • Death
The short-term effects of prescription drug abuse can immediately impact the body’s well-being and function.

Short-Term Health Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse on the Brain

Like the short-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the body, the short-term health effects of prescription drug abuse depend on the drug being abused. Here are some short-term health effects of prescription drug abuse on the brain:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Low cognitive function
  • Hallucination
  • Euphoria
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Low motivation
  • Mood changes
  • Aggression

These effects happen while the user is high or during the come-down period from the drug.

Long-Term Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

Just as there are short-term effects of prescription drug abuse, so are there long-term effects on the body and brain. 

Long-Term Health Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse on the Body

The repeated use and abuse of prescription drugs, especially in high doses, can cause long-term effects on the body. The consequences are more complicated to treat. Here are some long-term health effects of prescription drug abuse on the body:
  • Drug addiction and dependence
  • Overdose risk
  • Long-term implications to the liver, kidneys, and heart
  • Change in appearance
  • Change in weight
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Tolerance development
  • High death risk
Some health issues may require long-term ongoing treatment, even after the abuse has stopped.

Long-Term Health Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse on the Brain

Some things can be managed and treated but not fully reversed. This applies to the long-term effects of prescription drug abuse on the brain. Here are some long-term health effects of prescription drug abuse on the brain:
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Cognitive damage
  • Behavior and character changes
  • Mental health issues
  • Brain damage
  • Unease and dissatisfaction
  • Memory loss and impairment
  • Hopelessness
  • Severe depression
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Suicidal thoughts
These long-term prescription drug abuse health conditions are more deep-rooted, making them more challenging to treat.

Prescription Drug Addiction Health Conditions by Drug Type

Abusing prescription drugs or any drugs can change your health system and bring about various health issues. Here are the consequences of prescription drug abuse by drug type:5

Possible Health Consequences of Opioid Addiction

The possible health consequence of opioid addiction include:
  • Heart and lung infection
  • Liver diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Pneumonia
  • Breathing problems
  • Coma
  • Stroke
  • Skin issues
  • Seizure
  • Overdose deaths
  • Heart attack

Possible Health Consequences of Stimulant Addiction

The possible health consequence of stimulant addiction include:
  • Consistent headache (mild or severe)
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Uneven heartbeat
  • Heart diseases and failure
  • Body changes and weight loss
  • Panic attacks
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Constipation
  • Overdose death

Possible Health Consequences of CNS Depressants Addiction

The possible health consequence of CNS depressant addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Slow heartbeat and breathing
  • Concentration and memory impairment
  • Dementia
  • Loss of coordination

Negative Effects of Prescription Drug Addiction While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

A woman is fragile when pregnant or breastfeeding and abuses prescription drugs while pregnant, which will negatively affect her health and the baby. The baby may go into withdrawal after it is born.

The consequences of prescription drug abuse on the baby include:3

  • Low weight
  • Premature birth
  • Several birth defections
  • Alter the function of the placenta
  • Forceful contraction of the uterus muscles
  • High possibility of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)

The drugs can be transferred to the baby through breast milk during breastfeeding. As a result, the baby may show several signs of prescription drug addiction health conditions.

Other Common Health Conditions

The consequences of prescription drug misuse can lead to severe health conditions. Other common health conditions of prescription drug misuse include:
  • Confusion
  • Stress
  • Worsening well-being
  • STDs
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
If you, your loved one, or someone close to you is experiencing any health conditions, get prescription drug abuse help and treatment immediately.

How to Prevent Prescription Drug Addiction

Some ways to prevent prescription drug abuse will be detailed below.

Get the Right Medication

Ensure your doctor or physician has a clear idea of your health issues, signs, symptoms, and other drugs you are using. Also, when your doctor has prescribed a drug, ensure you get the right medication. Also, ask your doctor if there are drugs with ingredients with less potential for addiction.

Follow Directions Carefully

Use your drugs as prescribed and directed by your doctor. Don’t change the dose unless instructed by your doctor. 

Check-In With Your Doctor

Follow up with your doctor to discuss the changes you have noticed and ensure you take the right dose.

Know The Side Effects of Your Medication

Know the side effects that come with the use of the drugs. Also, discuss with your doctor if it would have side effects when combined with other drugs or should be avoided.

Never Use Another Person’s Prescription Drugs

How a drug works for another person will be different from how the drug will work for you. Even if it is the same type of drug and the same medical condition, the dosage might be different, and it may not be the right one for you.

Pay Attention to the Number of Drug Pills You Were Prescribed

Ensure you pay close attention to the number of pills you were prescribed. This help keeps you on track and eliminates the chances of overdosing.

Properly Dispose of Medications

When you are done with your drugs, and there are few pills left, properly dispose of them so no one can use them.

Treating Prescription Drug Addiction at Arrow Passage Recovery

If you have decided to get prescription drug abuse treatment, you must do some things to prepare for your first appointment.4

What You Can Do

When approaching addiction recovery, it is important to:

  • Acknowledge:  The first step is acknowledging that prescription drug misuse has become a problem for you.
  • Get help: Getting help is the next thing needed to prepare for your first appointment.
  • Go with a family/friend: When preparing for your first appointment, go with a friend or family when possible. This will help boost your confidence and help you deepen your support networks.
  • Make a list of all drugs, supplements, vitamins, and other medications you use and their doses: This will help curate your treatment plan to fit your specific needs.

Questions to Ask

Consider asking these questions when meeting with your treatment provider:
  • What alternative approach are you suggesting
  • What is the best approach to treat my drug addiction
  • Do I need to see a mental health professional or a psychiatrist?
  • What do I get out of the treatment?
  • What are the treatment plans?

What to Expect

Consider the following:
  • Expect your doctor to ask you questions, and you should be honest in your answers
  • Expect various treatment plans
  • Expect healing to be a challenging but rewarding road
Prescription Drug Addiction Health Conditions

Contact Us Today

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, know you are not alone. We have the best counseling expertise and treatment plan to help you recover and get back on your feet.    at Arrow Passage Recovery to book your first appointment and begin your recovery journey.

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