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Why Prescription Drug Abuse is Harmful?

The current epidemic of prescription drug abuse is one that confuses and frustrates many people. It's hard to believe that a medication prescribed by a doctor could be harmful or addictive. For a lot of people, the term drug addiction is only used for those who abuse illegal drugs, like cocaine, heroin, or ecstasy. The idea that somebody who's never tried an illegal drug could also be an addict is something that society just doesn't understand.

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is the use of a prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor. Prescription drug abuse or problematic use includes everything from taking a friend's prescription painkiller for your backache to snorting or injecting ground-up pills to get high. Drug abuse may become ongoing and compulsive, despite the negative consequences. [1]

Prescription drugs are usually only prescribed to those who require stronger forms of painkillers or who need medication to treat conditions for which over-the-counter drugs are ineffective. These drugs are available on prescription because they come with certain risks and can be dangerous when abused. A doctor must always weigh up the pros and cons of prescribing such medication and take many factors into consideration before doing so, such as the person's age, weight and overall health.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says three classes of prescription drugs are often abused: [2] Opioids. Since the early 1990s, doctors have been prescribing many more opioid painkillers such as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine. These medicines manage pain well and can help boost your quality of life when you follow your doctor’s directions on taking them. It’s possible but not common to become addicted to or dependent on opioids when you use them for a short time or under a doctor’s close watch. But when you take them for a long time, they can lead to drug abuse, dependence, and addiction.

Central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They affect a chemical in your brain called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA lowers brain activity, making you drowsy or calm. Taking CNS depressants for a few days or weeks may help you feel calm and sleepy. But after a while, you may need larger doses to get the same feeling. Using them with alcohol can cause slow heartbeat, slow breathing, and death. If you take CNS depressants for a long time and stop suddenly, you might have life-threatening problems such as withdrawal seizures.

Stimulants. These drugs give your body a jump-start, with a huge boost in alertness, energy, and attention. They raise your heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure. They also narrow your blood vessels and open your airways. Stimulant abuse -- for instance, by taking them in higher doses or by crushing pills and snorting them -- can lead to addiction. High doses can raise your body temperature. Misusing stimulants or using them along with decongestants may cause uneven heartbeat. [2]

Doctors need to be careful of what other medications their patients are taking, as it could cause harmful interactions. Oftentimes, people are prescribed medication for a certain period of time but they may not need to take all of the pills. This can leave them with a surplus of painkillers or sedatives, which can be dangerous.

People often believe that it is okay to give their leftover medication to a family member or friend to treat a similar condition. However, this could do more harm than good. For example, if you have a sedative drug that you think will help a family member or friend with insomnia, they may not be aware of the possible side effects. These pills might then sit in a cupboard not being used; that is, until a family member or friend complains of a painful ailment similar to the one that the medication was originally prescribed for.

Many people are unaware that giving prescription medication to someone else is just as dangerous as taking medication that wasn't prescribed to them - which is considered abuse. With prescription drugs, it's common for people to develop a tolerance over time, which makes the medication less effective than when it was first prescribed. In order to achieve the same level of pain relief or satisfaction, some will increase the amount of the drug they're taking without consulting their doctor first - which is also classed as abuse. We advise against increasing the dose of prescription medication without prior approval from your doctor.

The Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is dangerous because it can lead to physical dependence and addiction. People might not realize that taking more of their medication than prescribed or giving it to another person is harmful. Even those taking prescription medication exactly as prescribed by a doctor for a prolonged period can become addicted.

Prescription drug addiction can be damaging to all aspects of life, like any other addiction. These drugs are typically designed for short-term use only, but if an addiction develops, it can cause poor health, relationship problems, money troubles, and an increased risk of premature death caused by accidental overdose.

The individual with the prescription drug problem will find it harder to keep up a normal life as the need for the drug grows. If you're struggling with prescription drug abuse and addiction, you might lose motivation for things you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, time with family and friends. You may start to become more isolated and only interested in taking your medication. The drug could begin to cloud your judgement and you may suffer extreme mood swings, going from the high of the drug's effects to the low of withdrawal.

If you start to abuse your medication by taking it with other substances, it can have dangerous consequences. The risk of overdosing goes up a lot when drugs are mixed with other drugs or alcohol. If you don't get treatment for your addiction from the best rehab centres in Delhi, it might get worse until you're buying drugs from strangers. This could mean getting fake pills that have harmful chemicals in them, or buying drugs from dealers which could be even more dangerous.

The Impact of Prescription Drug Addiction on Family Life

Prescription drug abuse is dangerous because it has many consequences, not just the risk of accidental death. If you develop an addiction to prescription drugs, your whole life will change. You will become preoccupied with the medication and your behavior will change. This will cause you to stop spending time with your loved ones.

Addiction can cause strain in one's home and work life, as well as negatively affecting the people closest to them. This is especially true for those who are the main providers for their families. Children are often the most vulnerable to the effects of addiction, as they typically don't understand what's happening. Because they are young, other adults often think that children aren't affected by addiction; however, even witnessing addiction can have a lasting impact on a child's development.

Children of emotionally unavailable parents often suffer from emotional problems themselves. They might understand what is going on, but they will still struggle with their emotions and could start to withdraw into themselves. Their relationships with peers are often affected because they don't want others to find out about their home life. As a result, they can feel isolated and lonely. Many of these kids will struggle in later life.

According to research, children of addicts are also more likely to develop an addiction when they get older.

Three important things can be done to prevent your loved one from misusing prescription medication: Educate, Communicate and Safeguard. [3]

EDUCATE yourself about medications that your loved ones are abusing. Share this information with others who are in contact with them.

COMMUNICATE with your loved ones. Discuss the subject with the addict. Preliminary research shows people believe experimenting with medications are safer than street drugs. Abuse of medications can be lethal. Set clear expectations with your loved ones, letting them know that under no circumstances should they ever take medications without your knowledge.

SAFEGUARD medications at home and other places. Ask your health care provider if any medications prescribed for your family have a potential for abuse. Take an inventory of prescription and OTC medications in your home. Pay attention to quantities. Keep medications out of reach and out of easily accessible places like the medicine cabinet. [3]

Treatment for Addiction

If you or someone you know is addicted to prescription drugs, it's important to seek professional help as soon as possible from the top rehabilitation centres in India. Treatment for addiction typically requires a detox, followed by rehabilitation from the best rehabs in India, in order to fully recover. Addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction is crucial for a successful recovery.

Treatment for addiction to prescription drugs is similar to treatment for any other mood-altering substance. You will need to detox and then follow a rehabilitation program. It is important to tackle both the physical and the psychological element of the addiction if you want to have a full recovery. For example, you may need to see a therapist to help you deal with the underlying issues that led to your addiction in the first place, which is done by licensed dual-diagnosis centres in Delhi, such as Sanctum wellness and healing.



AUTHOR- Dr. Danish Hussain (MBBS, MD Psychiatry, MIPS)

Dr. Danish received his M.D. Psychiatry and M.B.B.S. degrees from Rajiv Gandhi University of Medical Sciences (Bangalore, Karnataka). He has worked at the Manipal Multispecialty Hospitals Bangalore, following which has continued to undergo regular training from prestigious institutes from all over the world. Dr. Danish serves as Assistant Professor and Head of Department of Psychiatry at AFSMS & RC and is a member of Indian Psychiatric Society. Dr. Danish uses a holistic approach with his patients and brings his expertise at practice to treat varied behavioral health problems from Addiction disorders to Depression, Anxiety, Personality disorders and OCD. Dr. Danish’s goal is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them. And with this being his consistent vision, he believes in de-stigmatizing the field of addiction psychiatry and rehabilitation center treatment in India and has been managing and working at a licensed dual-diagnosis facility in New Delhi. Through his contributions to he aims at providing licensed, professional rehabilitative care choices to patients and their families.

REVIEWED BY- Asmita Jain (M. Phil in Clinical Psychology)

Asmita is a licensed clinical psychologist with experience in a wide variety of areas, including mood-related difficulties, anxiety, trauma, addictions and personality disorders. She has completed her M. Phil in clinical psychology from Post-graduate Institute of Behavioral and Medical Sciences (Raipur, India) in 2021. She has worked in diverse settings, including inpatient, outpatient, and is currently practicing in a dual diagnosis facility. Asmita likes to simplify complex medical information on drugs, addiction, alcoholism and treatment therapies to make them easy to read and understand and help this information reach those who need help.

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