Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

How Do I Know If I Am Overmedicated?

How Do I Know If I Am Overmedicated?Doctors may be unaware of all the medications you are taking, or the medical conditions that affect how you react to drugs. The elderly or those with mental health issues are especially vulnerable of this problem, as they are more likely to take multiple medications, and their doctors may not check for interactions. Drug interactions may increase the effects of some or all of the medication involved, or a doctor may over-prescribe one drug to dangerous levels. This can happen if a doctor does not take a patient’s age or weight into account, or if she treats someone with no tolerance to a new substance.

A patient may also overmedicate himself, either intentionally or unintentionally. Being worried or afraid of pain may cause a patient to increase his dose of painkillers, and anxiety about a condition may cause him to take more of other medications.

Symptoms of Being Overmedicated

Experiencing strong or multiple side effects may indicate overmedication. Feeling groggy or excited are signs that a medication may be at too high, or it may be a bad fit for you. Medication should manage symptoms without greatly altering your state of mind or body. Some patients may take more of a drug for the pleasant effects, but this is a dangerous form of drug abuse. Obsession with taking medication or enjoying the effects may be a sign of early addiction. If a drug is damaging your life or dominating your mental or physical energy, you may be overmedicated.

How Being Overmedicated May Lead to Addiction

Mood swings from being overmedicated may lead to anxiety and depression, and may increase the chance of abusing medication or other drugs. If patients unintentionally take more medication than they intended, they may pay as much attention to the side effects or assume the effects are normal. A high or too frequent dose may create an unhealthy physical dependence, causing physical cravings for the drug. At higher doses, psychological cravings and addiction may come from the brain adjusting to the drug.

How to Prevent Overmedication

To fight overmedication, have a list of the medications you take when you go to the doctor or pharmacist. Even though this information is in your medical records, having your own copy will keep you involved in your medical care, and may prevent medical professionals from overlooking one of your prescriptions.

Ask questions about your medication if you have any doubts about how to take it. Inspect your prescriptions to ensure proper dosing, and always read the material that is included with your medication. Being aware of what side effects may occur can help you notice them sooner. Instead of adding medication to deal with side effects, consider switching to a different drug or finding alternative treatment.

Treatment for Overmedication and Addiction

Being overmedicated can quickly lead to high tolerance or addiction, causing problems with health and normal life. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to learn about treatment options that can help you reduce or stop using drugs. Call now as our counselors are always available to answer your questions.

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