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Long-Term Effects of Abusing Prescription Drugs

a person lays in bed looking sad and faraway as they grapple with the Long term effects of abusing prescription drugs

Prescription medications provide enormous symptom relief to millions of people every year. However, their benefits are dampened by how addictive and habit-forming they can be. Drug abuse all too often begins with a valid prescription. The long-term effects of abusing prescription drugs can be catastrophic to a person’s health. The longer someone uses these substances, the harder it may become for them to quit as their body comes to depend on the drug use to function in ways that resemble normalcy. The good thing is that many of the worst long-term effects of prescription drugs can be avoided altogether through proper intervention and timely treatment.

Contact Rockland Recovery at 855.732.4842 to learn about a high-quality prescription drug addiction treatment program ready to serve you.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Abusing Prescription Drugs?

Prescription drug abuse can disrupt any of the body’s systems over time. In the case of opioids, a good example is impaired coordination. Extended abuse of opioids disrupts normal nervous system functioning, which in turn affects muscle responsiveness. The result is things like balance issues or poor coordination. Chronic heart problems, digestive issues, and breathing troubles are other possible long-term effects of prescription drugs.

Another possible long-term effect of abusing prescription drugs is hormone imbalances. That can be especially problematic among pregnant women or planning to become pregnant. Two other long-term dangers of prescription drug abuse are tolerance and addiction. First, tolerance is a state where the body no longer receives the same impact from the usual dosage of a drug. Thus, to experience the same effect, people with tolerance must use more of a drug.

Second, addiction is when someone’s body or mind needs a drug to function. Physically, this can manifest as withdrawal symptoms between instances of use. Mentally, this often looks like extreme cravings and a fixation on pursuing the drug. People who struggle with addiction need detox and rehab to relearn how to live without a drug.

Mental and Physical Long-Term Effects of Prescription Drugs

The long-term effects of abusing prescription drugs often manifest mentally and physically. Both of these are explored in more detail below.

Mental Impacts of Prescription Drug Use

Prescription drug abuse often causes mental health problems. Issues like aggression, anxiety, hallucinations, and paranoia are all possible, even without a definite diagnosis. This type of drug abuse can also lead to severe mental health disorders like depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder. Dual diagnosis, a treatment framework that tackles addiction and mental health simultaneously, is employed for people who struggle with mental health issues and drug abuse.

Physical Impacts of Prescription Drug Use

One of the most significant ways prescription drug use shows up physically is withdrawal symptoms. These appear in between using a drug and result from the body being unable to function normally due to drug use. Prescription drugs commonly cause the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Aches and pains
  • Fatigue

Both the physical and mental effects of prescription drug use have negative impacts on a person.

Overcome the Lifestyle Impact of Prescription Drug Abuse at Rockland Recovery

The mental and physical long-term effects of abusing prescription drugs are hopefully apparent. Yet another category that sometimes gets overlooked is how damaging drug abuse can be for your lifestyle. As if it wasn’t enough to be mentally and physically impacted, the negative consequences often trickle into relationships, work performance, and personal care.

Healing from addiction thus looks like putting a life back together while mentally and physically recovering. That can be a tall order and daunting to many people. Rockland Recovery is here to help. Reach out to 855.732.4842 to learn more about overcoming prescription drug addiction.

Medical Reviewer Kate Perfetti, LADC II

Medically Reviewed by Kate Perfetti, LADC II

Kate is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has worked in the field of substance abuse for the last nine years. At Rockland Recovery, Kate works to provide resources to the local community and engage and progress Rockland Recovery’s alumni program.


Take the First Step Toward Recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we encourage you to request a confidential call to explore treatment options, ask questions, and receive support from experienced professionals. We know taking this first step can be challenging, but it’s a courageous and important part of the recovery journey.

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