Too much of anything, whether it’s a shot of heady whiskey or an additional dose of paracetamol to relieve a headache, is never a good thing. Even worse, you risk needing further visits to the clinic if you take more prescription drugs than your doctor has recommended.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines prescription drug misuse as consuming a substance in a way or dose that is not recommended. It may also refer to ingesting illicit substances or using them excessively to feel euphoria. Opioids, sedatives, hypnotics, and stimulants are among the most commonly misused medications.

Prescription drug misuse has increased over the past 20 years, proving that the dangers of prescription abuse are still escalating and an ever-present battle to be fought.

This article explores how prescription medications may be taken safely. You will also learn about the usual hazards associated with prescription drug addiction as well as its adverse implications that hurt social and economic welfare.

Why is prescription drug abuse on the rise?

Source: Oregon Trail Recovery

Understanding Prescription Drugs

Prescription medications, when taken as directed by a doctor, can be effective in treating medical conditions but can also be deliberately or unintentionally misused. 

To minimize danger and hasten recovery, speaking with a health expert about which prescription drugs to take is crucial. Read on to discover a wide range of prescription medications on the market and learn how each is employed to treat various medical ailments.

Common Types of Prescription Medications

The following prescription drugs are the most frequently abused and misused of all those available on the market:

  • Health professionals prescribe opioids to treat and manage severe or chronic pain. Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are examples of opioids that are regularly prescribed yet misused. 
  • Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants reduce brain activity, which helps in treating insomnia and relieving anxiety, stress, and muscle contractions. 
  • Stimulants are a class of medications that improve mental performance and boost alertness. They may be consumed illicitly, like cocaine, or for a therapeutic cause. 

How Prescription Drugs Function

Prescription drugs can effectively treat various disorders when used as instructed by a doctor. They are typically provided to a patient to treat moderate to severe pain.

Opioids aid in the treatment of pain. Stimulants enhance cognitive function, whereas CNS depressants cure anxiety, panic, and insomnia. However, these drugs can be a lifesaver and a hazard for another.

Misuse of prescription drugs can have serious repercussions. Relapse, withdrawal, and addiction are only the beginning.

dangers of prescription abuse


Can I Get Addicted to Prescription Drugs?

Prescription medicines stimulate the brain and can cause physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction, mainly when used over what is medically prescribed.

Addiction is possible even under the careful supervision of a physician, especially if the medicines are taken for non-medical purposes. Some people take prescription medicines to self-medicate or to experience a temporary high.

16.3 million people abuse prescribed medications each year, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, with 11.9% of them having an apparent addiction to the drugs they misuse. It is the fifth most abused substance after alcohol and cigarette products.

It should go without saying that when you consume anything in excess, the results are always less than ideal.

Why is Prescription Drug Abuse Becoming Rampant?

Have you ever considered that the cause of addiction is not the medication supplied but the individual’s willful decision to consume more than what is appropriate?

Using prescription drugs in ways that a doctor does not prescribe is dangerous, not to mention unlawful. Unfortunately, it has gotten more widespread in recent years.

Factors that are Boosting Prescription Drug Abuse

The availability and accessibility of these drugs on the market is crucial. It’s what has made it possible for anyone to purchase medicines even without a valid prescription. 

However, it may be easier to obtain prescription drugs than illicit ones because your family or acquaintances may already have them.

Some people redefine fun as getting high or becoming hooked on mood-altering or pain-relieving substances, which are sought after and desired more frequently. Even worse, many think taking these prescriptions is vital for survival.

treatment for prescription drug abuse

Source: Oregon Trail Recovery

Dangers of Prescription Drug Use

The body and brain suffer damage from drug misuse. Its effects may differ from person to person depending on the kind of drug used and how much is consumed by the abuser. 

Here are the  immediate and long-term consequences of prescription drug abuse:

Short-Term Health Risks

The short-term effects of abusing drugs are: 

  • Hyperactivity and decreased fatigue 
  • A fast or erratic heartbeat 
  • Appetite suppression 
  • Hyperthermia 

Long-Term Health Risks

Chronic prescription drug use can lead to more serious diseases and problems. Some of the more life-threatening complications include: 

  • High risk of heart attack and respiratory failure 
  • Cancer 
  • Disrupts proper brain functioning 
  • Mental health issues
  • Immune system deterioration 
  • Poor motor coordination

Misuse of Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse occurs when a medication is taken in a manner or dose that is not medically prescribed. It could develop into an ongoing and compulsive behavior if left untreated.

Abuse can range from taking a friend’s prescription pain reliever to inhaling or injecting ground-up pills to get intoxicated. If you take more medication than is recommended, you also risk abusing it.

The Role of Healthcare Providers and Pharmacists

Helping the patient overcome ambivalence or denial of abuse is the medical professional’s responsibility for recognizing drug addiction. This enables the drug-abusing patient to reduce drug use and take strides toward change.

The physician’s knowledge of each drug’s properties and distinctive qualities, such as warnings and contraindications, is ultimately the most vital of these. The patient is then carefully evaluated, and the diagnosis is made afterward. 

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

The patient must first ensure they take their prescription medication as directed. For instance, it is vital to always consult your doctor before stopping or changing a dosing schedule. 

You must also never take someone else’s prescription or give your prescription drugs to others. Another strategy to avoid misusing prescription stimulants, sedatives, and opioids is to store them cautiously.

Before receiving any additional medications, patients must let their doctors know about all the prescription, over-the-counter, and dietary and herbal supplements they are taking to avoid complications. 

Moving Forward with Therapy and Treatment 

Depending on the medicine taken and your needs, many treatment options exist for prescription drug abuse. Counseling, detoxification, medicine, and recovery support are the more crucial of these. 

Counseling can aid in self-understanding and teach you the skills to withstand harmful desires. Detoxification may also be necessary as a critical component of treatment, but it should be carried out under medical supervision to prevent hazardous withdrawal symptoms. 

misuse of prescription drugs


What You Can Do Today

Doctors prescribe medications to treat mental and physical health conditions. These drugs can make people feel better if used as prescribed. You bear the risk of misusing it if you ingest more than what your doctor considers to be safe for you. 

Taking more medication than is prescribed, whether accidentally or for pleasure, is harmful, just like any other illegal substance. Overcoming addiction is difficult, but staying inebriated and leaving it untreated is far harder to conquer.

You don’t have to go through this alone. Monitor your prescription drug use and encourage others to do the same. 

Get help now if you or someone you know is having problems with drug usage. For those battling more severe addiction, outpatient rehab facilities nearby offer the perfect setting. It is crucial to surround yourself with people who desire your full recuperation.

You can get help from Oregon Trail Recovery. Let us partner on your journey to a more prosperous, rewarding, and healthier future.