Unlike their over-the-counter (OTC) counterparts, prescription medications are drugs authorized by healthcare professionals to manage specific health conditions. They play a critical role in treating a myriad of ailments but can have detrimental effects when abused or misused.
Misuse occurs when prescription drugs are consumed in ways not recommended by a healthcare professional. This can include taking larger doses, using someone else’s medications, or altering the method of intake, such as snorting instead of swallowing.
The reasons for misuse are varied. Some individuals succumb to social pressures, while others might be seeking a euphoric high. Personal traumas, the desire for academic excellence, or simply the need to stay alert can also contribute.
Symptoms largely depend on the drug type:
While anyone can fall into the trap of misuse, certain groups are more vulnerable:
The elderly population, especially those with multiple health conditions, is particularly at risk. Combining prescription medications with other substances, especially alcohol, can be hazardous for them.
Misusing these medications can result in a range of health issues, from fluctuations in blood pressure and respiratory problems to seizures and even a dip in academic or work performance.
Once diagnosed—typically through a combination of medical history examination and tests—treatment can begin. This often involves detoxification, medication, counseling, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to ensure a comprehensive recovery.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides guidelines to prevent misuse:
Certain substances should never be mixed with prescription drugs. For instance, CNS depressants and opioids shouldn’t be taken together. It’s essential to be well-informed about these harmful combinations to prevent severe health complications.
Remember, at Sun County Wellness, we prioritize your health and safety. If you have concerns about prescription medication misuse, our experienced team is here to support and guide you. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Prescription medications require authorization from a healthcare professional due to their strength or potential side effects, while OTC drugs can be purchased without such a prescription.
Warning signs might include sudden behavioral changes, visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions (doctor shopping), frequent drowsiness, or being overly secretive about their medication.
Yes, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional. Abruptly stopping certain medications can have serious health consequences. A doctor can provide guidance on tapering off or transitioning to a safer alternative.
Store them in a secure place out of reach of children and away from guests. Consider using a locked box or cabinet. Regularly review and safely dispose of any expired or unused medications.
Seek medical attention immediately, especially if you feel unwell. Combining medications with alcohol or other drugs can lead to harmful or fatal outcomes.