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4 Reasons Why You Should Follow Your Prescription

4 Reasons Why You Should Follow Your Prescription

Not following your prescription may lead to serious consequences to health and happiness

Any time you take a prescription drug other than exactly as prescribed by your doctor, you are abusing that drug. The National Institutes of Health describes prescription drug abuse as doing any of the following:

  • Taking medicine that was not prescribed to you
  • Taking a drug in greater doses than prescribed
  • Taking a drug more often than prescribed
  • Crushing, snorting, injecting or otherwise using a drug in a way other than prescribed
  • Taking medication for a non-intended purpose or to get high

Few individuals would label themselves drug abusers, yet many individuals engage in this potentially dangerous actions. According to California’s Alcohol and Drug Program, “In 2006, 16.2 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed” (“Prescription Drug Misuse,” 2012). Individuals may not think they are at risk for addiction or other consequences, but if they do not follow their prescriptions, they are abusing drugs and there are many reasons why an individual should not want to do this.

Follow Your Prescription to Avoid Harmful Drug Interactions

When prescription drugs are combined with other prescription drugs or over-the-counter substances, potentially fatal interactions can occur. Increasing doses or taking prescription drugs that your doctor is not aware of increases the likelihood or severity of these interactions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reveals that misuse of depressants such as Ativan, Valium or Ambien leads to, “increased risk of respiratory distress and death when combined with alcohol” (“Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs Chart,” October 2011). Similar increased risk of death occurs when prescription painkillers like fentanyl or OxyContin are used with alcohol or other depressant drugs.

Follow Your Prescription to Reduce Overdose Risk

When drugs are misused, overdose becomes the most immediate and worrisome potential consequence. Even seemingly harmless drugs like over-the-counter pain relievers can be deadly when taken in greater doses than recommended. Acetaminophen can cause severe liver damage, and this is a substance often touted as harmless. Powerful prescription drugs such as opiates can reduce breathing or heart rate to fatal levels when not taken as prescribed.

Follow Your Prescription to Receive the Right Treatment

When prescription drugs are abused, medical professionals cannot accurately assess the situation. Drugs may mask serious mental or physical health concerns, or doctors may treat symptoms of drug abuse or addiction thinking they are symptoms of other concerns. Improper treatment can lead to worsening health or long-term damage to mental health. shares, “Coming to rely at a young age on prescription medicine (or any drug) to manage your life risks establishing a learned, lifelong pattern of dependency and limitation and prevents learning coping skills” (“Preventing Teen Abuse of Prescription Drugs,” 2010). Self-medication and avoidance of real, underlying concerns is dangerous at any age.

Follow Your Prescription to Avoid Addiction

Drug abuse is the first step in addiction development. Addiction involves an inability to abstain and increased but often unrecognized problems with behaviors, relationships and emotions. It is not a condition anyone would choose, yet taking prescription drugs outside of a prescription’s limitations is doing just that. Addiction is a chronic disease. Becoming addicted is as simple as misusing a drug and changing body chemistry and thought processes, however these simple changes lead to drastic consequences.

Ending Prescription Drug Abuse

Recovering from drug abuse and addiction requires dedication, motivation, support and long-term treatment. Let us help you get started. Call our toll-free helpline today to talk with experienced and knowledgeable admissions coordinators about your options for treatment and recovery. We are here for you 24 hours a day, so please don’t hesitate to call now.

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