While most people reach for over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and discomfort caused by minor ailments, there are those for whom this type of medication provides absolutely no relief whatsoever. These are individuals struggling with severe or chronic pain or those who have conditions such as sleep disorders or anxiety disorders that require strong sedative drugs. In such cases, prescription medication is usually administered or prescribed by doctors.
However, prescription medication is intended for short-term use only as there is often potential for abuse and an elevated risk that addiction will follow. The problem is that most of those who take prescription medication are completely unaware that these drugs have the potential to cause harm and could become addictive. They are under the impression that any and all medication prescribed by a medical professional is completely safe and carries no risk.
The reality though is that prescription medication is regularly abused and often without the abuser being aware. That might sound strange, but most individuals do not know what constitutes an abuse of the medication. In this blog post, we want to discuss what abuse is and try to answer the question of who does prescription drug abuse affect?
If you have been prescribed a medication by your doctor for a genuine medical condition, you might have been under the impression that it was a completely safe drug to take. The idea of it being capable of causing harm or being addictive was probably not something you ever considered.
When you first began taking your medication, it likely provided the relief you desired and made you feel much better. But you may have noticed that in recent times the relief you were getting from the medication has diminished somewhat. This often happens with prescription medication because the brain can adapt to it quite quickly, which is the reason these types of drugs are usually prescribed for short-term use only.
If you increased the amount of prescription medication you were taking to help achieve the desired relief, then this is classed as prescription drug abuse. Taking more of a medication than advised to without first discussing it with your doctor is classed as abuse, although most people are unaware of this.
It is also abused if you take your medication more often than advised to. Whether you are taking higher doses or taking the medication more frequently, it is still classed as prescription drug abuse.
Another form of prescription drug abuse that most individuals are not aware of is taking medication that was prescribed for another person. It is not uncommon for people to provide their leftover pain medication to a friend or family member who is also suffering from pain. This is in fact highly dangerous and can lead to all sorts of disastrous consequences.
Nevertheless, as most people do not even consider medication to be dangerous, they never consider the possibility that it could lead to a deadly interaction if the other person has an underlying medical condition or is taking other medication.
The question of who does prescription drug abuse effect is an easy one to answer – anyone! It is simple to assume that those already suffering a substance addiction to illegal drugs or alcohol might be tempted to abuse prescription medication, but most fail to realise that anyone who takes such medication can be guilty of abusing it.
As with all addictions, a prescription drug addiction does not discriminate; it is not reserved for those already struggling with addiction or those from a specific background. The truth is that anyone using prescription medication can abuse it and develop an addiction – whether they know it or not.
What must be mentioned though is that even when prescription medication is taken exactly as described, a tolerance to it can build and hence the risk of addiction can increase. It is possible to become addicted to prescription medication without abusing it, particularly if you take it for long periods.
The most significant danger of prescription drug abuse is the risk of it becoming habit-forming and, as described above, an addiction developing. If you are in this situation, you will likely find that your life changes dramatically. As you become more and more dependent on your medication, you will have less and less time for other important things in your life including work, responsibilities at home, and the people you love.
You may start to become preoccupied with your medication to the point where you are constantly thinking about it and when the next dose is due. You might start taking the medication more often and then become agitated when the effects wear off or at the idea of not being able to take it. You might feel panicky at the thoughts of your medication running out and may take desperate steps to ensure this does not happen. This could include visiting more than one doctor to get a double prescription or sourcing the medication online.
Prescription drug abuse can have a profound effect on your mental and physical health also. The longer you abuse the medication, the more likely it is that you will suffer a plethora of health problems.
As prescription drugs can affect various areas of the brain, you may be unable to make good decisions as a result of the chemicals you are taking. You may not notice the changes in your behaviour, but your loved ones certainly will. They will not understand why you continue to take the medication that is causing you to act so differently. They will believe that if something is causing harm, it should be stopped, but they will not realise that you are at the point where you are incapable of stopping.
Perhaps you have already tried to quit or cut back on the medication but were unable to do so? This is usually the point at which most people realise they have a problem.
If you have been pondering the question of whom does prescription drug abuse affect, because you now believe you might have an issue, it is worth talking to a professional to find out for sure. If you do need help, it is better to reach out sooner rather than later.
Addiction is an illness of the brain that will get worse instead of better. It requires treatment because it will not resolve itself alone. If you are taking more of your medication than you used to, it might be the case that you need professional assistance to get yourself sorted. You may also need treatment if you are taking your medication to change the way you feel or because you believe you cannot function without it.
Furthermore, if you have tried to quit and cut back on your medication without success, you are probably now physically dependent and require professional help to regain control of your life. In all the above scenarios, please know that we can help you.
UKAT has treatment centres around the UK where we help people just like you to overcome a range of addictions, including prescription drug addiction. We understand what it is like to feel as though you have lost control and that you have nowhere to turn. We want you to know that you do have options and that you can reach out without fear of recrimination or judgement.
Our phone lines are staffed by friendly advisors fully trained in spotting the signs of addiction. Many of them know first-hand the position you now find yourself in, having been there themselves at some point in the past. They are living proof that addiction treatment works and that it is possible to turn your life around and move on.
Please call us today to find out more about how we can help you get your life back on the right path. You can call us on our confidential helpline twenty-four hours a day, and you are under no obligation to do anything else but talk. If you are ready to take the next steps on the recovery journey, we will be with you every step of the way.