It is a known fact that many people often become addicted to their medications at some point in time. Those who are on constant meds for chronic ailments often find themselves in prescription drug addiction.
Although the reason for addiction to prescription drugs may vary by gender, age, ethnicity, and other factors, one cannot dismiss the fact that a large number of people are becoming addicted to their own prescriptions by the day. Reports show that prescription drug addictions are more prevalent with people between the ages of 18 to 25.
Even though addictions should rarely occur, mainly when a person sticks to prescriptions, there are high-risk medications that caregivers and medical doctors are often not too keen on prescribing due to their abilities to cause dependency.
The fact is that a high percentage of people who experience chronic pains, whether musculoskeletal or cancer-related, often end up leaving the clinic with an opioid prescription. Opioid abuse is a major problem in the United States and has led to increased mortality rates. Popular prescription drug abuse articles have repeated that self-medication is also one of the leading causes of drug abuse.
Pain medications are usually the most abused drugs due to their effect on the brain. However, there are numerous solutions to prevent addiction to prescription drugs.
What are the most commonly abused drugs?
Prescription drugs come in specific doses, and ordinarily aim to provide relief from pains and other health issues. Opioids are one of the most potent pain reliever drugs and often come with strict warnings on usage. Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants are mainly used for sleep related disorders, panic attacks, and anxieties, while stimulants are recommended in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Here are some common prescription drugs that are abused:
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Morphine Sulfate
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
- Oxymorphone (Darvon)
- Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Amphetamines (Adderall)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
- Methylphenidate (Concerta and Ritalin)
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
- Diazepam (valium)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Pentobarbital Sodium (Nembutal)
- Zolpidem Tartrate (Ambien)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
How Can Patients Avoid Prescription Drug Abuse?
It is important to seek solutions to prescription drug abuse at an early stage. Speaking to a medical doctor before using a particular medication goes a long way in stopping prescription drug abuse occurrence. Some techniques for preventing prescription drug abuse include:
Sticking to prescription
People have the habit of increasing their regular doses or reducing them when they feel a certain way. Some individuals even skip medications or stop abruptly when they feel they no longer experience symptoms. One of the essential ways to prevent abuse is to follow prescriptions judiciously. Altering your prescription can lead to complications, especially with highly potent drugs such as opioids. It is imperative to speak to a health professional before increasing, decreasing, or stopping a medication to avoid health risks.
Switch Medications When Necessary
Some medications may present with unfavorable health conditions that vary from one person to the other. Seeking alternatives may help mitigate the side effects or reduce the possibility of dependency and abuse. There are many alternatives these days such as natural herbs, pharmaceuticals, and even therapeutic options such as acupuncture and body massage for pain.
Do Not Stockpile Medications
Large populations of people who abuse certain medications gain access to them from stock medications in the homes of friends and families. Stocking unused medication may seem like a good idea for periods when they will be needed. However, the stock can become a go-to for someone who abuses certain medications or believes in self-medication leading to abuse. Drugs that fall into this category are mostly painkillers, antibiotics, and hypertension medications.
Medicate The Right Way
Some individuals have the habit of taking harmful substances at the same time with their meds. Taking Tylenol with alcohol or any other drug-alcohol mixture will have health consequences and should be checked. Another way to medicate right is to talk to a doctor before stopping or changing a medication; this is because some medications cause dependencies or withdrawal symptoms, and so they should not be stopped abruptly.
Seek Help for Drug Dependency
There are ways to prevent prescription drug abuse. Generally, avoiding self-medication and taking your drugs on prescription helps to avoid abuse. However, some long-term medications may cause dependencies over time. If you notice any form of dependency on a particular medicine, contact a health professional immediately.