By anguillian June 21, 2013 08:51



Many of us take prescription drugs only for the reason the doctor intended, but many others have used prescription drugs for non medical reasons in their lifetime.In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in prescription drug misuse or abuse resulting in increased hospital visits and many others seeking treatment for drug addiction.

What Is a drug addiction?
Drug addiction occurs when individuals have a compulsive need to take a drug despite very harmful consequences to the addicted individual as well as other persons around them. Abuse use of these drugs can lead to mark changes in the brain. Many individuals addicted to prescription drugs often start out using these drugs voluntarily, but over a period of time brain changes occur that affect a person’s self-control and ability to make sound decisions. Often these individuals develop intense impulses to take more and more prescription drugs despite the very serious consequences that may occur.

Prescription drug abuse
Prescription drug abuse and addiction are one of the most poorly recognized types of chemical dependency, particularly in women. A prescription drug is any medicine regulated by law to require a doctor’s prescription before it can be obtained. Use of prescription medications for reasons other than the medical reasons indicated is prescription drug abuse, and compulsive use of these drugs might indicate drug addiction. Certain chronic disorders, like high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus, require prolonged use of medications, but in these cases your doctor will write the appropriate prescriptions. Many other disorders are not chronic and do not require repeat prescriptions.

What are the common prescription drugs that are abused?
Almost any prescription drug can be abused by individuals, but in many countries there are three types of prescription drugs that are abused widely. Top of the list are the opioids (pain killers) that are commonly used to treat pain. Drugs used to treat depressions and anxiety are also widely misused. The third major group is stimulant drugs used to treat attention deficit disorders.

Why Is prescription drug abuse on the rise?
Many clinical researchers are still not sure why prescription drug abuse is on the rise. There is no doubt that more doctors are writing more prescriptions than before. Doctors must be aware of the rise of prescription drug abuse and should recognise that these patients need expert treatment and care. Health care professionals have a duty to recommend that these individuals seek treatment to overcome their problem, rather than keep writing repeat prescriptions.

Why do individuals abuse prescription drugs?
Individuals might abuse prescription drugs for a number of reasons. There are many risk factors for drug addiction that include a person’s biology, social environment, and age or stage of development. The more risk factors you have, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. Studies show the earlier someone begins to abuse drugs, the greater the chances are that the addiction may progress into more serious problems.

How do I know if I am abusing prescription drugs?
There are a number of factors that might lead you to know that you are abusing prescription drugs. The need to use larger amounts of a drug than what the doctor prescribed that is another warning flag. If you take the medication for other reasons than the doctor prescribed is another warning sign that mightalert that you are addicted to the medication.
If you continue to need refills for a drug that is not needed for a chronic medical disorder, then this might indicate that you might be abusing prescription medications.
Your pharmacist might be the first person to tell you that you might be addicted to prescription drugs, especially if you are seeing many doctors who are not aware what the other doctors are prescribing.

Using prescription drugs correctly
Your doctor and your pharmacist are the best persons to inform you on the correct use of prescription drugs. Before using a drug make show you ask your doctor about how and when to use the medication and for how long to use it. The following might prove helpful:
• Always follow the prescription medication directions carefully.
• Do not increase or decrease medication doses without talking with your doctor first.
• Never stop taking medication on your own.
• Do not crush or break pills.
• Learn about possible interactions of the prescription medicine with alcohol and other prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
• Talk honestly with your doctor about any history of substance abuse.
• Never allow other people to use your prescription medications, and don’t take theirs.

Is there treatment for prescription drug addiction?
There are treatments including nonaddictive medications that can help people counteract the symptoms of prescription drug addiction and regain control. Experts believe that combining addiction treatment medications with cognitive behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients.
How can I help a loved one who is addicted to prescription drugs?
If you believe that a family member or close friend is abusing prescription drugs, talk with your doctor or any other confidential health care provider. Your doctor should be able to give you referrals to drug treatment programmes for the family member or friend. Many of these programmes use outpatient treatment with medications and behavioral therapy.
Most importantly, talk to the person about your concerns so he or she knows that you are aware of the problem. Be prepared for a considerable amount of resistance and denial. Many people with addiction must experience serious consequences before they acknowledge their illness. You must provide emotional support during this difficult time and be there for them until treatment is successful.

Most people take medicines only for the reasons their doctors prescribe them, but many clinicians are aware that some individuals have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. This is prescription drug abuse and it is a serious and growing problem in many countries. Abusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction. If you are abusing prescription drugs you should seek help and treatment. There are treatments available so that serious consequences can be avoided.

Ask Your Doctor is a health education column and is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. Dr Brett Hodge is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Family Doctor who has over thirty years in clinical practice. Dr Hodge has a medical practice in the Johnson Building in The Valley.


By anguillian June 21, 2013 08:51


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