Having a loved one who struggles with prescription drug abuse can be very challenging. Unfortunately, many are in this position. A recent report shows that about 6% of Americans abuse prescription drugs in a year. Usually, these drugs are meant to be prescribed by experts for specific medical conditions, with their usage monitored actively. However, due to the stimulatory effects of these medications, people often find ways to get these drugs without expert prescriptions, leading to the abuse of these medications. Pharmaceutical drug abuse also has severe implications ranging from mental health challenges to physical health consequences. Like other psychoactive substances, they lead to a cycle of addiction. In this article, we’ll explore how to prevent prescription abuse, and how to get help.
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
It is essential to know what exactly constitutes prescription medication misuse to deter it from happening. Generally speaking, prescription drug abuse is the usage of drugs prescribed strictly by a health professional in ways that do not conform with the expert’s guidelines. This could include using a medication to treat a particular condition for ecstatic purposes or altering your dose. Pharmaceutical drug abuse can also involve taking someone else’s medication even though an expert has not prescribed it to you. The most abused prescription drug categories are opioids and depressants.
Adverse Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse
The abuse of prescription drugs often presents with myriads of health consequences ranging from physical health to mental health consequences. Some of the expected health consequences of prescription medication misuse are.
Prescription drugs such as opioids, when abused, can lead to poor respiratory function, thus causing low levels of oxygen available for vital tissues in the body.
Prescription medication misuse can also alter the body’s typical performance, slowing down regular metabolic processes.
Also, prescription drug abuse can lead to cognitive problems such as loss of memory, poor judgment, confusion, and loss of orientation in some cases.
Mental Health Challenges
Prescription drug abuse can make one prone to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
The abuse of prescription drugs also causes withdrawal symptoms when their use is discontinued for a while. These symptoms are diverse, depending on drug type, and varying in severity.
How To Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse
Preventing prescription drug abuse is the responsibility of many stakeholders within society. Everyone has a role, including health professionals, parents, and individuals. Some of the ways you can prevent the abuse of prescription drugs are shared below.
Follow Expert Guidelines
To lower your risk of pharmaceutical drug abuse, you must ensure that when prescribed one of these drugs, you completely comply with the physician’s recommendations. For many, not following expert recommendations when prescribed a prescription drug is the gateway to a cycle of prescription medication misuse. Following guidelines will include not altering the prescribed dosage or stopping usage until your physician advises.
Understand the Medication
Another simple but highly effective tip that may help you prevent the abuse of prescription drugs is to understand the drugs and their effects. You should know the normal and abnormal side effects of using the medication and know when a particular side effect you feel is bizarre or unusual.
Track Stored Medications
If you live in a household where individuals are at risk of misusing prescription drugs, monitoring the prescription drugs closely will help prevent abuse. This is particularly helpful, especially when dealing with teens. Monitoring the pillboxes and counting the number of unused medications will go a long way to ensure that the medications are not being used by those who shouldn’t.
Store Medications Safely
Especially when dealing with teens and children, parents must ensure that prescription medications are kept beyond the reach of children who may abuse them. Keeping medications locked away might be an excellent way to prevent misuse, especially when a household member is struggling with or recovering from addiction.
Avoid Sharing Medications
Another way people get access to prescription medications is usually to request from those who have it under the guise of managing a similar medical condition. You should avoid sharing your medications with someone else to prevent prescription medication misuse.
Dispose of Unused Drugs Properly
To prevent the availability of prescription drugs for misuse, following the recommended guidelines for disposing of old or unneeded medications is essential.
Getting Treatment for Addiction Recovery at Pacific Palms
If you are living with prescription substance abuse or have a loved one who does, you can seek professional help and services to facilitate your recovery. Pacific Palms Recovery offers comprehensive and standard treatment programs to help manage addiction and substance misuse, including prescription drugs. Our treatment programs include intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, and relapse prevention programs in California. If you have a loved one battling prescription drug abuse, contact us today to access our treatment programs and help them optimize their well-being.