Prescription medications have many purposes. You can use them to help alleviate the symptoms of medical conditions. They can also be used as part of a comprehensive curative treatment plan to treat illnesses.
When physicians prescribe medications, they consider a patient’s condition, as well as any other unique factors about the patient that are necessary to tailor their medications; however, prescription medications are only effective medical tools when you use them appropriately. They can cause significant harm when they are misused.
The misuse of prescription medication entails using the medications in a manner that is different from how they were prescribed. This may include taking a dosage that is higher (or lower) than recommended. It also occurs when individuals consume medication that belongs to another person.
All medications carry some degree of risk, as they all have side effects. Even though medical professionals typically provide the necessary oversight when prescribing medication, it is still common for patients to misuse their prescription medications. People who misuse medication expose themselves to many negative effects, which can be significantly worse while consuming alcohol or other drugs. It is important to note that misusing prescription medication, even once, can have negative consequences:
Health Complications – The negative effect of prescription misuse naturally depends upon the medications that one has taken. For example, the use of opioids can result in labored breathing, reduced mental status, and alterations in mood. Certain types of stimulants can produce paranoia, dangerous spikes in blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. Tranquilizers, sedatives and other types of depressants can cause seizures and memory loss.
Addiction – There are groups of prescription medications that may result in drug tolerance or addiction, especially when one does not take them under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. If you become tolerant or addicted to a medication, your body develops a “craving” for that medication. Addiction and tolerance are treatable conditions, however, they may result in withdrawal symptoms.
Overdose – As tolerance develops, your body requires more of the medication to achieve the desired effect. If too much medication is taken above one’s tolerance level, one may overdose on the medication. Overdosing can result in severe respiratory depression and ultimately can lead to death. Please enquire about your medication!
Accidents – The misuse of the medication can also interfere with how well you are able to do certain tasks. In an impaired physical or mental state, you are at a greater risk of injury while performing even the most mundane tasks, such as driving or cooking.
There are steps that you can take to prevent the misuse of prescription medication and avoid the dangers that come with them:
Verify that you are receiving the correct medication – It may be necessary to question your physician about your medical condition, and its symptoms, to ensure that your physician is prescribing the right medication. If you are concerned about addiction, don’t hesitate to enquire about a medication that may be less addictive.
Know exactly what your medication does – This includes any adverse effects the medication may produce. Ask your physician or pharmacist to ensure that you are receiving the correct information. It is also important to know what other drugs to avoid (Including vitamins, supplements, and OTC Medications). In addition, please ask what foods and drinks you should avoid while taking your medications.
Stay in touch with your physician – It is a good idea to check in regularly with your physician to ensure that the medication is working as it should. He or she can evaluate your progress and adjust your medication as needed.
Pay attention to the directions – You should adhere to the drug manufacturer’s instructions in addition to your physician’s directions when taking prescription medication. You should refrain from modifying the dosage without first speaking with your physician.
Take only what your physician prescribes to you – Only you should be taking your prescription medication. Under no circumstances should you take another person’s prescription or allow someone else to take yours. Even when people have the same medical condition, the prescribed medication, or dosage regimen, is unique to the individual. Everyone absorbs, processes and metabolizes medication differently, and in part, that is why you should only take medication as prescribed by your physician.