Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

More regularly than most people realize, prescription drugs are abused by those looking to get high from their effects. Depressants, opioids, and stimulants, are the most commonly abused prescription drug types. While some of the effects of these drugs only last as long as the person is intoxicated, others linger and many can be dangerous.

Effects of Prescription Drug Intoxication

When a person takes more of a drug than the dosage they were prescribed, takes it more often, or takes it without being prescribed it at all, they are abusing the drug. This is usually done because they are hoping for the effect of getting high. According to the NIDA, the intoxication symptoms caused by the three most popularly abused prescription drug types are:

  • Opioids
    • Pain relief
    • Drowsiness
    • Euphoria
    • Constipation
    • Clammy skin
    • Sweating
    • Dry mouth
    • Confusion
    • Itching
    • Nausea
  • Depressants
    • Sedation
    • “Feelings of well-being”
    • Reduced anxiety
    • Dizziness
    • Memory and coordination problems
    • Confusion
  • Stimulants
    • “Feelings of exhilaration”
    • Energy
    • Alertness of the mind
prescription drug abuse

Abuse of prescription drugs can cause a variety of serious problems.

All of these drugs can cause euphoria and a rush of good feelings when the person first becomes intoxicated. But there are also consequences that go along with them. All of these medications can make a person physically ill if abused and can cause overdose quickly. Abusing medications makes one more likely to overdose, and this is an extreme risk abusers are taking.

Other Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

The effects that come with abusing prescription drugs can be dangerous for the individual. Depending on how severe your abuse is, you may experience effects such as:

  • Addiction
  • Tolerance
  • Dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Financial issues
  • Arguments with family and friends
  • Problems at work
  • Stealing prescriptions or forging them in order to get more drugs
  • Mood problems
  • Health risks

According to the NLM, all medications have their possible side effects. “People who abuse these drugs may not understand the risks. The medicines may not be safe for them, especially at higher doses or when taken with other medicines.” Some of the mental and physical health effects caused by specific types of prescription drug abuse are:

  • Opioids
    • “Slowed or arrested breathing”  (NIDA)
      • Can cause death from respiratory depression
    • Lowered pulse
    • Lowered blood pressure
    • More issues when combined with alcohol
    • Unconsciousness
    • Coma
  • Depressants
    • Slowed breathing
    • Slowed brain activity
    • Lowered body temperature
    • More issues when combined wit alcohol
  • Stimulants
    • Rapid breathing
    • Reduced appetite
    • Extreme weight loss
    • Malnourishment
    • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
    • Nervousness
    • Insomnia
    • Seizures
    • Heart attack
    • Stroke
    • Psychosis

Abusing prescription drugs can affect all parts of your health: mental, physical, social, and emotional. It can make things like driving a car extremely dangerous and make it very possible that you might become addicted which will make it even more difficult for you to stop. In some cases prescription drug abuse causes a person to face legal issues, and overdosing on all three of these drug types can be fatal. Because the effects of prescription drug abuse is so great, it is important that a person follow their doctors instructions perfectly and to not abuse their prescriptions for any reason.