Taken and used properly, medications can be an invaluable tool in treating or preventing illness. However, these very same medication can be very dangerous if they’re abused. Taking medications correctly—and some of them under the close observation of a licensed and experienced medical or mental health professional—can be a matter of life and death.
The administration of some medications require a thorough understanding the drug, including:
- how it moves through your body
- when it needs to be administered
- possible side effects and dangerous reactions
- proper storage, handling, and disposal
Why So Precise?
It’s important with all prescription medications to take only the dosage prescribed. Dosage is carefully determined by your doctor and can be affected by your age, weight, kidney and liver health, and other health concerns. Taking the wrong dose can be harmful or even fatal.
Similarly, many medications need to reach a certain level in your bloodstream to be effective. Taking medication as directed in frequency and time of day may be necessary to ensure the right amount gets into your system. Taking a dose too soon or waiting too long between doses can keep your medication from working properly.
Some medications produce unwanted side effects. These can run anywhere from a mild allergic reaction to a serious health crisis requiring medical intervention. Drugs with a high risk of adverse effects should only be administered by a healthcare provider.
In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in the prescription drug abuse. This increase has led to more ER visits because of accidental overdoses and more admissions to treatment programs for drug addictions. If you suspect you or someone you love is battling substance abuse, we want to help. Speak confidentially with a certified counselor at (844) 747-7772.
Is it possible that you or someone you love is addicted to prescription drugs?
While most of us take medications as our doctor orders, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says some 48 million Americans have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetime. That figure represents approximately 20% of the U.S. population.
What Is a Drug Addiction?
Addiction is a chronic brain disease that often happens again. It causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful effects on the addicted person and the people around that person. The abuse of drugs — even prescription drugs — leads to changes in how the brain looks and works.
For most people, the first decision to take prescription drugs is voluntary. But over time, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse affect a person’s self-control and ability to make sound decisions. While this is going on, the person continues to have intense impulses to take more drugs.
Which Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the three classes of prescription drugs that are often abused are:
- Opioids – Taken as prescribed, opioids and other painkillers manage pain and can improve quality of life for people struggling with chronic pain. But when they’re used long-term, opioids may lead to drug abuse with physical dependence and addiction. Opioids can also be life-threatening in an overdose.
- Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders — Taking CNS depressants as directed may help you feel calm and sleepy. But after a while, you may need larger doses to get the same calm and sleepy feeling. Also, using CNS depressants with alcohol can slow down your heart and breathing and lead to death. After taking CNS depressants for a long time, stopping suddenly can have life-threatening effects such as withdrawal seizures.
- Stimulants, such as amphetamines, Adderall, Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, or Ritalin, used to treat attention deficit disorder and sleep disorder – First used to treat asthma and obesity, today they’re also prescribed for ADHD, ADD, depression, narcolepsy, and other problems. Taken under a doctor’s supervision, these drugs are safe. Abuse leads to addiction.
Am I Abusing Prescription Drugs?
Take a look in the mirror. Ask yourself—
- Am I taking any medications in larger doses or more frequently than my doctor prescribed?
- Am I taking meds for reasons other than what they were prescribed for?
- Am I calling more frequently for refills?
- Am I getting prescriptions from more than one doctor, pharmacy, or source?
- Am I hiding or being secretive of my medication supply or use?
The FDA offers the following guidelines for safe prescription medication use.
- Always follow the prescription medication directions carefully.
- Don’t raise or lower medication doses without talking with your doctor first.
- Never stop taking medication on your own.
- Don’t crush or break pills, especially if the pills are time-released.
- Be clear about the drug’s effects on driving and other daily tasks.
- Learn about the effects the prescription medicine can have when it’s taken with alcohol and other prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
- Talk honestly with your doctor about any history of substance abuse.
- Never allow other people to use your prescription medications, and don’t take theirs.
Honey Lake Clinic—We Want to Help You
It is important to realize substance abuse doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Often the abuse begins as an attempt to self-medicate a deeper hurt. For real healing and recovery, the underlying causes of substance abuse needs to be addressed. And this is vitally important when you’re choosing a treatment program or facility.
To get at this underlying hurt and bring lasting healing takes a holistic—spirit, mind and body—approach to addiction diagnosis, management and treatment.
Many programs focus narrowly on what can be addressed from a medical perspective. Research, however, continues to show us that spirituality positively influences recovery in many ways. Although this is well known, and medical and behavioral health professionals have been saying addictions are holistic illnesses that need holistic treatment, the majority of programs still refuse to look to God in the healing process.
At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced doctors and staff strongly believe that faith-based treatment, encompassing spiritual, physical and mental health, will help you or your loved one bring spiritual power and clearer psychological understanding to recovery.