Question

Substance Abuse and Addiction

How can I tell if someone is addicted to prescription drugs?

A Answers (3)

  • A Julie Holland, MD, Neurology, answered
    Dr. Julie Holland - How can I tell if someone is addicted to prescription drugs?

    Watch as psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist Dr. Julie Holland explains some physical symptoms that may indicate that someone is addicted to presecription drugs.


  • You can tell if someone is addicted to prescription drugs by watching his/her behavior. Most addicts look dazed and confused. They appear "out of it."
  • A Charles Sophy, MD, Adolescent Medicine, answered

    You can tell if someone is addicted to prescription drugs by watching his/her behavior. Most addicts look dazed and confused. They appear "out of it." Some of the symptoms of prescription drug addiction may include: 

    • a shift to not wanting to be around others or attend social functions 
    • difficulty paying attention and remembering 
    • not enjoying activities that were formerly enjoyed
    • chronic pain or multiple injuries over time requiring a continuous supply of medication
    • asking others for their leftover medications 
    • often taking family members’ prescriptions 
    • use of multiple physicians and pharmacies to cover up the amount and frequency of prescription medication use 
    • past history of addictive behaviors (e.g., alcoholism) 
    • feigning physical or psychological problems 
    • having dramatic and compelling but vague complaints 
    • unconcerned with a diagnosis or keeping up with treatment in addition to the medication (i.e., missing appointments for x-rays, laboratory tests, or follow-up with another physician) 
    • rejection of all forms of treatment other than medication
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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