Misuse of Prescription Drugs: What Are Common Side Effects?


Sober Recovery Expert Author

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Nobody likes to be ill.

Sponsored post Nobody likes to be ill. Fortunately, prescription drugs are always there to help ease the pain and return our bodies to their normal functioning state. These should be prescribed by qualified physicians who will advise you on the usage, side effects, and other essential details that

Fortunately, prescription drugs are always there to help ease the pain and return our bodies to their normal functioning state.

These should be prescribed by qualified physicians who will advise you on the usage, side effects, and other essential details that will affect your recovery. All you need to do is follow the guidelines as advised and stop when the medication period is over.

Unfortunately, following the required dosage is sometimes easier said than done, making drug misuse a very common problem.

Misuse could occur when you take the drugs in a dosage or manner other than the one prescribed, when you take someone else’s prescription, or when you use the drugs for euphoria or to get high.

Prescription drug misuse is a serious issue that affects many lives, and for which most people need help to recover.

Fortunately, there are centers offering prescription drug detox in California to help those in need get the help they require. They provide services to help you beat drug abuse, detox from the drugs, and deal with the withdrawal systems. Some of their life-changing programs include:

  • Residential rehabilitation
  • Addiction outpatient treatment
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Medical Detoxification

In this guide, we discuss everything you need to know about prescription drug misuse, including the signs, common side effects, and where you can get help.

What are the Most Commonly Misused Prescription Drugs?

These are the commonly misused prescription drugs whose usage you should be careful about:


Opioids are medications prescribed by physicians to relieve pain. The drug works by interfering with your central nervous system and suppressing your pain signals. They’ve been used for a long time and are now prominent in managing acute and chronic pains.

Opioids also influence the reward regions of the brain, which results in euphoria and highness.

The rewarding high makes them easy to get used to, where even the most disciplined people who follow the prescription could find themselves drawn.

Opioids also have a serious danger of overdose since they can also depress breathing, causing suffocation. If this happens, you can use naloxone to reverse its effects.

Some examples of prescribed Opioids include oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone, and morphine.

Central Nervous System Depressants

CNS depressants are medications prescribed by healthcare professionals to treat sleep disorders, muscle spasms, anxiety, and seizures. The drugs work by interacting with the nerves responsible for exciting the body. As a result, they inhibit excitation in the brain and body, reduce stress, and promote sleep and sedation.

Some commonly misused CNS depressants include:

  • Benzodiazepines including alprazolam, clonazepam, and diazepam.
  • Non-benzodiazepine sleep medications such as zolpidem. eszopiclone, and zaleplon(Z-drugs).
  • Barbiturates include phenobarbital, pentobarbital, and mephobarbital.


Stimulants are prescription medications used to increase your alertness, attention, and energy. They also increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.

Physicians used stimulants to treat different conditions like obesity in the past. However, since discovering potential misuse, physicians cut down the conditions treated by stimulants.

Currently, stimulants are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Commonly misused stimulants include dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate.

What are the First Common Signs of Prescription Drugs Misuse?

The signs of prescription drug misuse vary with the drug, period of misuse, frequency of misuse, and other drug abuse. Therefore, the symptoms are divided into the overall signs and specific signs.

Here are signs to look for:

  • Taking more than the required dose
  • Seeking the drug every time
  • Increased anti-social behavior
  • Change in sleeping and eating routines
  • Mood swings and irritability related to the availability of the drug
  • Visiting multiple physicians for more drugs
  • Using other people's medication
  • Using alternative methods of taking your pills, like rushing

What are the Side Effects of Prescription Drug Misuse?

Using prescription drugs beyond the intended purpose causes side effects. These side effects could include health, financial and social effects.

Each category of the most misused prescription drug has its side effects. Some are common among all prescription drug categories, but other side effects are specific.

The following are general side effects of misusing prescription medication.

Unusual Behavior

Prescription drugs will tamper with how your body works. The sudden change of perception of pain and other feelings results in behavioral changes. You may find yourself making impromptu decisions or always feeling out of your usual self.

The danger is such behavior is making decisions and doing things your usual self wouldn't have done.

Mood Swings

Prescription drugs also alter how an individual feels. One of the most common effects includes euphoria and anxiety. The two opposing states will tend to switch abruptly, making you to experience mood swings.

As individuals misuse the medication, the mood alterations become closer together due to reduced tolerance and increased urge to experience the seductive feeling.

The mood swings could cause problems with friends and family. One moment the individual is happy, and the next minute, they are agitated and easily irritated.

Confusion and Impaired Thinking

Once individuals overuse prescription drugs, they may experience mental cloudiness and confusion. This could manifest in taking longer to respond to environmental stimuli or pausing for a while before responding to questions.

Another effect is usually confusion derived from the sudden change in their feelings. The longer the individual misuses the drugs, the more frequent the confusion.

Unhealthy Sleep Partners

Misuse of prescription drugs can affect sleep in two ways, depending on the drug in use. First, some will give you an incredible amount of sleep. Second, stimulants will provide bouts of energy and hyper activeness that cause insomnia.

You may be tempted to use other drugs to stimulate sleep, which will only worsen the situation.

Addiction and Overdose

Most description drugs are very addictive even when used correctly. Once a user develops a dependency on the drug, it is hard to stop. In addition, they will experience severe withdrawal symptoms that will force them into use again.

The more the user consumes, the higher the tolerance against the drug. The user then decides to up the dosage to get the desired feeling.

The uncontrolled increase in the use of prescription drugs causes overdoses.

Other adverse effects of abusing prescription medication include strained relationships, financial difficulties, mental issues, hygiene issues, and work-related problems.

Seek Immediate Help

Prescription drug misuse is neither new nor uncommon and should be viewed as an illness rather than an offense.

Luckily, prescription drug misuse can be dealt with through prescription drug addiction recovery services, where experts will guide you through getting over your misuse or addiction problem. Do not hesitate to find help whenever you think you may have the signs discussed above.

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