Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Pacific Grove Hospital to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Pacific Grove Hospital.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction

Pacific Grove Hospital is a nationally recognized 68-bed acute psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment center offering inpatient & outpatient services for psychiatric illnesses, addictions & co-occurring disorders.

Understanding Prescription Drug Addiction

Learn about prescription drug and substance abuse

Prescription drug abuse is the use of a prescription medication in such a way not intended by the prescribing physician. This can include taking another person’s prescription medication, taking more than prescribed, using for longer than prescribed, or crushing and injecting pills to get high. This type of drug abuse may continue despite the negative consequences that are occurring in a person’s life. The most common types of prescription drugs that are abused include painkillers, CNS depressants, and stimulants. Since these drugs are prescribed by a physician and regulated by the FDA, many people are under the misconception that they are safe to take. This couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact, prescription drugs act the same way as illegal drugs do and can lead to very serious consequences.


Prescription drug addiction statistics

In 2010, about 7 million people (or 2.7% of the United States population) were current users of psychotherapeutic drugs taken for non-medical purposes.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for prescription drug addiction

Most researchers believe that addiction is caused by a number of risk factors working together to lead to the development of a prescription drug addiction. The most commonly recognized causes for prescription drug abuse include:

Genetic: People who have first-degree relatives, such as a parent or sibling, who struggle with addiction are at a greater risk for developing an addiction as opposed to people who do not have a similar history.

Physical: People who struggle with chronic health conditions such as pain-related conditions or mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders, are at greater risk for developing addiction to prescription drugs.

Environmental: Environmental stressors often play a large part in the development of addiction. People who began to abuse drugs and alcohol early in their youth are at greater risk for developing an addiction later in life. Additionally, a peer group or circle of friends who abuse drugs may influence someone to begin abusing prescription medication.

Risk Factors:

  • Addiction to other substances
  • Younger age – between the teen years and early 20s
  • Existence of mental health disorders
  • Easy access to prescription drugs, such as working in a hospital or doctor’s office
  • Lack of knowledge about prescription drugs
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction

The symptoms experienced from prescription drug abuse will vary depending upon the type of drug abused, use of other drugs, individual genetic makeup, frequency of use, amount of drug used, and length of drug abuse. The most common symptoms of prescription drug abuse include:

Prescription Painkiller Abuse Symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Hypotension
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired coordination

Sedatives and Anti-Anxiety Agent Abuse:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Unsteady gait
  • Poor judgment
  • Nystagmus – involuntary, rapid movement of eyeball
  • Dizziness

Stimulant Abuse:

  • Weight loss
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Restlessness
  • Impulsive behaviors

Other Symptoms:

  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Continuing use against medical advice
  • Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor
  • Appearing unusually high, intoxicated, or amped up
  • Poor decision making
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed more often than intended
  • Lying to others about drug use
  • Stashing drugs in various places around home, work, and car
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Inability to fulfill responsibilities at work, school, or home
  • Withdrawing from once-enjoyed activities
  • Changes in behavior
  • Sudden need for money – may borrow or steal from others
  • Frequent doctor visits

Effects of prescription drug addiction

Long-term abuse of prescription drugs can lead to a wide variety of unpleasant complications that affect every aspect of an addict’s life. The effects are most notable when people abuse several drugs at once. The most common complications of prescription drug abuse include:

Prescription Painkiller Effects:

  • Increased risk of aspiration and choking
  • Hypotension
  • Slowed respiration rate
  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma

Anxiolytic Effects:

  • Impaired memory
  • Needing more medication to achieve the same effects
  • Loss of normal coping abilities; relying upon medication to deal with unpleasant emotions
  • Hypotension

Stimulant Effects:

  • Dangerous hyperthermia
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Hypertension
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggressiveness
  • Paranoia

Other Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse:

  • Job loss
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • Worsening mental health
  • Addiction
  • Incarceration
  • Organ system damage
  • Organ system failure
  • Seizures
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Coma
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Death
Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of prescription drug withdrawal & overdose

Taking medications in a way they are not prescribed can lead to dangerous consequences, especially when mixed with other drugs and alcohol. This can very easily lead to overdose. If you suspect someone you love is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Common symptoms of overdose on prescription medications include:

Prescription Painkiller Overdose Symptoms:

  • Awake but unable to talk
  • Limp body
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Cyanosis
  • Slow, erratic heartbeat
  • Choking sounds
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory collapse
  • Coma
  • Death

Anxiolytic Overdose Symptoms:

  • Falling
  • Confusion
  • Stupor
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Stimulant Overdose Symptoms:

  • Tachycardia
  • Rapid respiration rate
  • Chest pain
  • Large pupils
  • Seizures
  • Muscle cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Coma

Once an individual becomes physically dependent upon a prescription medication, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug abuse is discontinued. Due to possible complications, withdrawal should always take place under the supervision and help of a doctor and trained medical staff. The most common symptoms of withdrawal include:

Prescription Medication Withdrawal:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramping and diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea and vomiting

Anxiolytic Withdrawal:

  • Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome
  • Tachypnea
  • Tachycardia
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Coma
  • Death

Stimulant Withdrawal:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Psychomotor agitation or agitation
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
Unsure of the help you need?
Marks of Quality Care
Why does this matter?
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval
  • The Jason Foundation

Pacific Grove Hospital changed my life. I struggled with major depression, severe social anxiety, and a panic disorder for several years, and I had hit rock bottom. I didn't think I would last the year. Coming here was the best decision I could have possibly made. I entered that program I depressed, sad, lonely person and came out a functioning, successful, happy adult.

– Kristen E.
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