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Why Prescription Drug Abuse is Dangerous


Most of us assume that medication prescribed by a doctor is safe and that there is nothing harmful at all about it. But the reality is that prescription drugs can actually be quite dangerous if not taken as directed by your doctor. Furthermore, some medications can have harmful consequences when taken exactly as prescribed but if taken over a longer period.

Certain prescription drugs are intended for short-term use only due to the way they affect the brain and because they are highly addictive. But because many individuals do not even consider the possibility that these drugs could be dangerous, they see nothing wrong with abusing them. In fact, many people do not even realise that their use of these medications could even be classed as abuse.

There are so many reasons prescription drug abuse is dangerous – the first and probably main one is the fact that it can lead to a crippling addiction. However, abuse of prescription medication can also cause problems with physical and mental health.

What Does Prescription Drug Abuse Mean?

Understanding what is meant by prescription drug abuse is important. For example, taking prescription medication that was prescribed for another person is abuse, yet so many people do this without thinking.

Giving your medication to another person is often illegal, depending on the medication in question, but most people are oblivious to this. What often happens is that someone who is taking a prescription drug to treat a specific condition then offers any remaining pills to a family member or friend if they believe that he or she would benefit from such medication.

This most often happens with pain medication, but it also occurs with other pills such as sedatives, which are often prescribed for those with short-term insomnia. The problem with this is that these pills are often highly addictive, not to mention the fact that taking medication not prescribed for you could even result in harmful consequences. Particularly if you have an underlying health condition and were taking other medication that could cause an interaction.

It is easier to see why prescription drug abuse is dangerous when you consider it in more detail. The problem is that there is still so little understanding about prescription drug abuse. For instance, taking more of your medication than advised by your doctor is also classed as abuse, yet this is another thing that people taking such pills commonly do.

Why Do People Abuse Prescription Drugs?

You might be wondering what causes individuals to abuse their prescription drugs. In most cases, it is not an intentional act, and because most do not realise that what they are doing is actually classed as abuse, it has become a growing problem.

As mentioned above, some prescription drugs are intended specifically for short-term use only. They can be highly effective at providing relief for some medical problems, but when used for a longer period, any effectiveness is cancelled out by the harm they can cause. In light of this then, just why do people abuse their medication? This is a good question.

In most cases, abuse of prescription drugs is caused by what is known as an increased tolerance to the effects of the drug. Many of the pills that are available on prescription affect specific areas of the brain, the main one being the pleasure centre. When the pleasure centre is stimulated by certain substances, the brain’s natural pleasure or feel-good chemical is released. Nevertheless, the brain quickly adjusts to the medication and tones down its production of these feel-good chemicals. This then results in you feeling as though your medication is not working effectively anymore. The natural response might be to increase your dose. Although you might not realise it, this is classed as abuse.

As you increase the medication dosage, you may get the relief you desire for a time; until, that is, your brain adjusts to it again. When your medication stops providing the relief you are looking for again, you might up the dose once more. Or you might, at that point, try to find another way to achieve the relief you are looking for by using another substance at the same time. You may start mixing your pills with alcohol or other prescription drugs, but this is an extremely dangerous thing to do. It could leave you at risk of a deadly overdose, or at the very least can result in many health problems.

It must be said that prescription drugs are not always abused unintentionally. There are some people who deliberately take prescription medication for recreational purposes or to otherwise help them forget about life for a while. These individuals might also deliberately mix prescription drugs with alcohol or other substances, or they may take the medication in a different way to that to which it was intended.

The Harm that Prescription Drug Abuse Can Cause

There are so many reasons prescription drug abuse is a bad idea. For a start, and as you have probably gathered by now from the above passages, it is harmful to health. Abusing medication can lead to both mental and physical health problems; above all though, it can result in a devastating addiction that can literally end up destroying so many lives apart from that of the abuser.

If you abuse your prescription medication, the risk of you developing a physical and psychological dependence will increase. You might start feeling as though you are unable to function without your medication and you may begin experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms whenever you try to quit or cut back on the amount you are taking.

The presence of withdrawal symptoms and knowing that the only way to stop them is to take more medication is often that which traps people into a cycle of prescription drug abuse.

Over time, your need for the medication will increase. You might become preoccupied with the drug and how it makes you feel, and you may spend more of your time under the influence of this medication than not.

This can lead to you losing interest in the people and things around you. You might stop taking part in activities that you once enjoyed, and any other interests or hobbies that you had might go by the wayside. Every aspect of your life will be negatively affected if you develop an addiction, and your relationships with others will more than likely be placed under immense stress.

It is difficult to continue a normal life once prescription drug abuse and addiction have developed. When your medication becomes more important to you than anything or anyone else, you can expect your relationships to suffer. Your family and friends will not understand the changes in you and they will find it hard to deal with the fact that you are putting drugs above everything else.

They will not comprehend why you continue to use this harmful medication when it is causing so many problems in your life. They will fail to realise that any choice you once had over your use of this medication is gone. You will abuse your medication because your brain has been altered and you are no longer able to resist the pull. The only way for you to get your life back on track is with professional help.

Do You Have an Addiction to Prescription Medication?

It is difficult to come to terms with addiction no matter how it is caused, but when the substance being abused is a drug that was prescribed to treat a legitimate medical condition, it can be particularly tough to accept.

Nonetheless, if your loved ones have expressed concerns about your behaviour and if you have noticed that your use of your prescription medication has increased, then you may need to consider the fact that you could have developed, or are at least on the road to developing, an addiction.

Have you noticed that when you try to quit or cut back on your use of the medication you experience withdrawal symptoms? If so, this is because a physical dependence has developed. If you also feel as though you cannot function normally without your medication, then it may be because you now have a psychological dependence.

If this is the case, you are going to need to speak to your doctor about how you can quit your pills. It is important that you do this as soon as possible because addiction is an illness that tends to get worse instead of better.

How to Overcome a Prescription Drug Addiction?

It is easy to see why prescription drug abuse is dangerous. It can quickly lead to a devastating addiction that requires professional help to get your life back on the right track once more. The good news is that it can be treated, and you can regain control of your life with help and support and a good programme of detoxification and rehabilitation.

If you are interested in learning more about how to get better, please do not hesitate to call us here at Addiction.org.uk. We have been working in the addiction services industry for a long time and have a team of experienced individuals waiting to hear from you.

Our advisors are fully trained in all types of addiction, including prescription drug addiction, and they can answer your queries and provide the information you need about taking the next steps towards full recovery. Please call today to discover how you can turn your life around.

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