Medication Abuse – The Silent Deadly Epidemic
Ever since we were young, when we felt bad or under the weather, our physician was who we trusted to make everything better. We knew when we received a prescription for a drug with the handwriting we couldn’t translate that in just a few short hours or days that we would be good as new!
As our generations have evolved, our society has become too dependent on the medications available to us and the pharmaceutical companies have thrived off our many illnesses and side effects from these illnesses. Can’t sleep? Ambien. Erectile Dysfunction? Viagra. Can’t concentrate? Adderall. Anxious? Xanax. Pain? There are literally thousands of options available for almost any and every kind of ailment out there, whether it be a physical condition or mental. We give medications to children as early as weeks or even days old.
We don’t think twice when we use prescription medications. They’re taken by others, trusted by doctors, and if it’s prescribed then it is legal. However, legal doesn’t necessarily mean always safe. What gets neglected is that medications are not natural and not meant for everyone. They are drugs that alter your mind & chemical balance. It can affect your vital organs, nervous system, muscles, brain and more if taken longer than necessary or combined with other medications.
Many prescription drug addicts never intended to become addicted or subject themselves to abuse. If taken as prescribed (given that your physician has accurately diagnosed you and knows your prescription history), most medications are safe and beneficial.
In majority of abuse situations, the medications were used for legitimate medical reasons and escalated from there. They relate the feeling of euphoria, relaxation or a “high” to a pill and begin to use it for no reason other than personal pleasure. At that point, the brain wants more. It relates it to other “feel good activities” such as food, sex, alcohol, etc. A minor muscle ache pain or lack of sleep could prompt someone who has accessibility to take something like Valium, though its not necessary and disregarding their addictive qualities. Prescription opiates such as Hydrocodone are in the same opiate drug family as heroin and are easily more accessible.
As with any drug, prescription abuse can eventually lead to the same issues as seen with “street drugs”. In fact, use of prescription drugs now causes more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. An increasing epidemic for young people, prescription drugs affect people of all ages. Those who abuse ultimately affect their finances, relationships, school/job and can lead to poor judgement, potential for crimes, accidents and more. It can also lead to worse medical conditions that can cause such extremities like coma or death, especially when taken in high doses, mixed with other drugs or taken with alcohol.
Some preventative measures that can be taken to prevent prescription drug abuse are:
– Discarding all outdated & unused prescriptions
– Locking medications away from children or those for which they’re not intended
– Taking medication only as prescribed
– Being honest with doctors about your symptoms and ailments. Bring a list of all vitamins and medications taken regularly and call your office to update them if anything changes
Early identification of prescription drug abuse and early intervention may prevent the problem from turning into an addiction. These symptoms can include physical illness, mood swings, aggression and depression. If it has in fact turned into addiction, support from family, friends, and doctors is essential to recovery.
At Footprints in Recovery, we believe in an approach that involves rebuilding the foundations of your life. We include individual coaching to help you remove the bonds of addiction. You will receive individual attention as you travel through the steps of recovery while staying on the spectacular and historic Outer Banks of North Carolina. With the assistance and guidance of our certified counselors, you and your loved ones learn how to help each other in the recovery process. Substance addiction affects everyone including their families and friends. Our our counselors will work with families in education about the disease of addiction, codependency, family dynamics and the healing process. Our family program helps everyone grow and recover.
If you or a loved one are dealing with addiction, we urge you to please call us at 877-429-0713. You can also visit our website at www.footprintsinrecovery.com. Though nobody wants to admit that they have an addiction or require therapy services, taking that initial leap can help change and save lives. We are here for you!