Prescription drug abuse is the use of medication contrary the doctor’s prescription and advice. It could be taking it in unusually high dosages or taking it when one is not suffering from the condition or disease in which it is not indicated for treatment.
Some cases of abuse of prescription drugs are not entirely intentional. Some patients may develop addiction and craving to particular prescription medication while such medication was in the first place prescribed by a doctor for treating particular medical condition.
How prevalent is the problem? The prescription drug abuse is very common problem in the US and in several other countries across the world. For example, in 2010 medical studies show that about 7 million people in the US (equivalent to about 2.7% of the total population of the country) were active abusers of prescription psycho-therapeutic drugs. The 2009 estimate was similar to that of 2010.
The most commonly abused drugs are those which have effect on the Central Nervous System. These include pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives in that order of frequency of abuse.
Medical studies and reports show that the prescription drug abuse acts as the precursor to the abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol as well as engaging in risky behaviors.
What causes the prescription drug abuse? What causes the abuse of prescription drugs is not clearly known. As stated earlier, some people may begin abusing the prescription drugs if the addiction develops while the patient was taking the medication for treating condition in which it is indicated for treatment.
In some other instances, some people may intentionally abuse the prescription drugs with the main intention of feeling high, countering anxiety, enhancing cognition, treating insomnia, etc.
The intentional prescription drug abuse is believed to be caused by several factors among them:
- Peer pressure
- Misconception that prescription drugs are not as harmful as the illicit drugs.
- The ready availability of the prescription medications at affordable prices, etc.
What are the risks of prescription drug abuse? Whatever the reason of abusing the prescription drugs, it must be noted that it is very risky and harmful to health.
Among the prescription drug abuse risks include:
- Addiction – This is being in a state in which you do not take the prescription drugs by will but because you cannot live without doing it. If you do not abuse them, you experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
- Death – Some prescription drugs may cause death after long term abuse because of damage to the body organs.
- Dependence – This is being incapable of doing anything or living freely without abusing the prescription drugs.
- Negative Health Effects – The taking of medications contrary to the doctor’s prescription causes direct injury to health.
- Tolerance – The body receptors become used to the effect of the prescription drugs thus forcing the patient to abuse them in high dosages.
Is there treatment for prescription drug abuse? The good news is that prescription drug abuse can be treated if the treatment is sought at the appropriate time and in the appropriate place. You are advised to undertake the treatment of abuse of prescription drugs at an approved and registered prescription drug abuse center immediately you notice that you are addicted.
The form, course and duration of treatment vary depending on the prescription drugs abused, how long they have been abused, quantities abused, level of addiction and general health condition of the patient.