Misuse of prescription drugs is defined as, “Taking drugs other than how they were prescribed to you.” Prescription drug misuse can lead to addiction, which further increases the risk of overdose. It is estimated that more than 18 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. For this reason, if you or someone you love was prescribed medications by a medical doctor but is now suffering from prescription misuse, find out how prescription drug rehab at Bayview Recovery can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us confidentially online or call us at 855.478.3650 today.
What Does Prescription Misuse Mean?
Misuse of prescription drugs means more than simply increasing your prescribed dosage of the drug(s). It means taking medication in a manner or a dose other than prescribed. Prescription drug misuse also means when you take someone else’s prescription, even if it is for a legitimate medical issue such as pain. Prescription misuse also occurs when the objective is to get high rather than the actual medical purpose. The three classes of medication most commonly misused are:
- Opioids—which are usually prescribed to treat pain
- Central nervous system depressants (tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics)—used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders
- Stimulants—most often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Is It Illegal to Misuse Prescription Drugs?
There are both federal and state laws that make misusing or sharing prescription medications illegal. If you take a pill that was prescribed to someone else or give that pill to another person, it is not only against the law, it’s also extremely dangerous. Prescription drugs are controlled substances and the Department of Justice makes it clear that the only legal way to access prescription drugs is to have a doctor’s prescription.
Prescription Drug Addiction Starts with Prescription Misuse
While every person’s path to a prescription drug addiction will be different, there are common phases. There are also early signs to spot and opportunities on the path from prescription misuse to a drug addiction where you can seek professional help to overcome and recover.
The first sign that people are on the road to addiction is when they begin using prescription drugs for non-medicinal purposes. This stage of prescription misuse could be, for example, taking painkillers recreationally or to help you cope with a co-occurring disorder. Often, this phase of prescription drug misuse is not tied to a desire to continue using the drug but non-medical use can become habit-forming and quickly move people into the second stage of prescription drug addiction.
For those who do have medical prescriptions for drugs, non-medical misuse of prescription drugs involves taking a prescription more often than prescribed, using a higher dosage, or taking pills that were not prescribed to you. If you are using a prescription for non-medical purposes, it could be a red flag that you have begun to take their painkillers to get high, as opposed to treating pain.
Misuse of Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs misuse is akin to non-medical use of phase 1, but at a chronic level. If you take more than the recommended and prescribed dose just a few times, this is a non-medical use. However, when you begin regularly misusing prescription drugs, you enter phase 2 of an illegal prescription misuse. This is a critical moment in a descent into addiction because it is here where your tolerance develops.
Tolerance is the gateway to long-term dependence and addiction. In other words, if the persistent prescription misuse is identifiable, prescription drug rehab can begin. Opiates like Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, and Fentanyl are prone to dependence and addiction if the misuse of prescription drugs goes beyond their recommended doses.
Abuse and Addiction
Repeated and chronic misuse of prescription drugs is a clear sign of drug abuse. When you reach this point, you are on a dangerous path toward addiction. You need medical help right away.
Other signs that you or a loved one is suffering from prescription drug abuse, include:
- Relationship problems
- Missing work
- Skipping school
- Failure to meet other responsibilities
This is the stage of addiction where the warning signs of a misuse of prescription drugs, abuse, and an addiction begin to appear. Some of these signs include:
- Intense cravings
- Obsessing about drugs
- Withdrawal symptoms when/if the prescription drug is no longer in use
The Early Signs of Prescription Drugs Misuse
It’s crucial that you’re aware of the early signs of prescription drugs misuse, both in yourself and others you care about. If you know what to look for, you can seek out the prescription drug rehab that may save a life. Here are the top 10 early signs of prescription misuse and abuse:
- Continued use of the drug, even after the pain it was prescribed for has stopped
- Faking additional symptoms to obtain more drugs
- Behavior and mood changes
- Lack of interest in other treatment options
- Stealing prescriptions, doctor shopping, and using other people’s prescriptions
- Physical withdrawal symptoms
- Needing more pills to ease the pain or continue to get high
- Withdrawal from family, friends and social life
- Financial issues
- Poor decision making
Learn More at Bayview Recovery
Learn how the caring and experienced professionals at Bayview Recovery can help you break free from prescription misuse today by contacting us using our secure online form or calling us confidentially at 855.478.3650.