There are certain medications that can only be accessed when prescribed by a medical professional. These are known as prescription drugs and are usually much stronger than over-the-counter medications; they also carry certain risks. It is necessary for doctors to evaluate a person’s mental and physical health as well as any other medications he or she is taking before prescribing any drugs. This is to ensure that the person is safe while taking them.
While there are often risks associated with prescription drugs, they are usually safe when taken exactly as prescribed. Unfortunately, not everyone takes them according to the recommendations set out by their doctor. In fact, prescription drug abuse is becoming a major problem across the world. However, what is prescription drug abuse in reality?
Prescription Drug Abuse Explained
Many people are unaware of what is classed as prescription drug abuse and are often shocked to find out that they are guilty of it.
One form of prescription drug abuse is to take medication that was prescribed for another person; this is something that many people do. Most do not see the harm in taking a painkiller or sedative that was prescribed for a family member or friend.
If a loved one were suffering from a backache for example, and he or she had been prescribed strong painkillers for the problem, you might not bat an eyelid if offered one of these painkillers. After all, you are also struggling with severe pain, so what’s the harm?
When it comes to prescription medication though, things are not so straightforward. You need to be aware that taking medication that was not prescribed for you is classed as abuse and could actually be very dangerous. You might be allergic to the particular medication, or you may have a reaction due to other medication that you are taking for an underlying medical condition.
But prescription drug abuse takes other forms too; forms that may not be so obvious. For example, taking a higher dose of your medication at each interval, or taking your medication sooner than intended, can also be classed as abuse, particularly if taking more of it each day than the recommended dose.
And finally, taking prescription drugs for recreational purposes is classed as abuse. This type of abuse is far more obvious, and most people get this.
How Does Prescription Drug Addiction Develop?
Prescription drug addiction almost always begins with abuse, whether that is intentional or otherwise. In the case of intentional drug abuse, it is easy to see how this can lead to addiction. Nevertheless, it is not always a deliberate abuse of prescription drugs that can result in a physical dependence.
Many people taking prescription drugs for a legitimate medical condition will be getting some relief from the drugs. Nevertheless, what most do not realise is that with many of these drugs, the brain and body adapt so that after a while, these drugs become less effective. This often results in the individual upping the dose to get the desired relief. Most people do not see this as harmful as they believe the medication to be completely safe.
The reason that prescription drugs become less effective is that the individual has developed a tolerance. Upping the dosage might work temporarily, but the brain and body will simply adapt again so that the increased dose also becomes ineffective after a while. When this happens, many people will try to enhance the effects of their medication by mixing it with other substances, such as alcohol or other drugs for example.
If the above sounds familiar to you, it may go some way to explaining how you ended up with a prescription drug addiction. Over time, your brain and body will have completely adapted to the medication you were taking; so much so, that you are probably now unable to function without these drugs. You have become physically and psychologically dependent on them and so when you try to quit or cut down on your usage, you experience withdrawal symptoms.
Prescription drug addiction occurs when your use of a certain medication starts to interfere with daily life and when you have no control over it. You will use it even when knowing doing so could cause harm to you and to others. You are powerless to resist.
The Impact of Prescription Drug Addiction
Based on what you have read in the above paragraphs, you are probably aware by now of the harm prescription drug abuse can cause. If you are struggling to function without your medication, you might have been asking the question of ‘what is prescription drug abuse?’ to determine whether it applied to you.
If it does, you may now be worried about whether you have an addiction, and if so, what impact this is likely to have on your life. You should know that prescription drug addiction can affect your life in many ways. Chronic abuse of prescription drugs will have a detrimental effect on your mental and physical health. As well as this though, it can also cause problems in other aspects of your life.
For example, as your need for your medication grows and you spend more and more of your time under its influence, you will start to lose interest in the people around you. This will inevitably cause a strain on your relationships, many of which will be pushed to breaking point.
It is difficult for family members and friends to wrap their heads around addiction, and most will not understand why you just don’t stop taking your pills if they are causing so much harm. They are unable to understand that at this point you are not making a choice; you have no control over your compulsion to use or are trapped in a never-ending cycle of abuse and withdrawal and you just do not know how to break it.
Overcoming any addiction is a challenge, but the first step is admitting that it exists. You might have been curious about ‘what is prescription drug abuse?’ and now that you know may be able to see your own situation in greater clarity.
If you can admit to having a problem with your prescription medication, you will have already taken a huge step towards getting the help you need to get better. The next thing to do is reach out for help, and you can do this by either talking to your doctor, searching an online information database for details about providers in your area or by calling us today at Banbury Lodge.
If you would like to know more about our programmes and the treatment we provide to help with all types of addiction, including prescription drug addiction, please call us right now. We have a team waiting to take your call and you will be put through to a friendly advisor who can answer your questions and give you information about your options.