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Prescription drugs are often used to help a person re-establish internal balance. Whether a person is treating physical or mental health ailments, or a combination of the two, prescription medications can be helpful. 

Depending on the medication, prescription drugs can help ease pain and eliminate uncomfortable symptoms. Prescription medications can also support systems in the body that need external support. 

When using your prescriptions as prescribed by a licensed professional, there is little harm that can be done. It is essential to keep track of your experience so that you can discuss any potential side effects, good or bad, with your doctor. However, when prescription drugs are used other than prescribed, there is potential for you to develop a dependency. 

What Are Prescription Drugs?

Four main categories of prescription drugs are often misused. These include:

  1. Benzodiazepines and other tranquilizers
  2. Barbituates 
  3. Narcotics, such as opioids
  4. Sedatives

Prescription drugs tend to have varying effects on the nervous system, helping patients with anything from mood disorders to pain management. Known as psychotropic drugs, each type is used to treat or manage different symptoms that a person may be treated with an official prescription or through self-medication. 

These medications present a broad spectrum of depressants and stimulants that affect the nervous system. When used as prescribed by a trusted medical professional, prescription drugs can help people manage mental and emotional challenges such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety. 

However, it is also possible to misuse prescription drugs in ways that can harm your mind and body. Since prescription drugs are carefully dosed, taking too much or too little can have potentially drastic effects on your physical and mental health. 

What Is Prescription Drug Misuse?

Prescription drug misuse includes:

  • Taking someone else’s medicine 
  • Taking medication any way other than what was prescribed, such as consuming it differently or taking more than you need to
  • Taking medicine without a prescription, solely for the effects, or self-treat a potentially undiagnosed condition

Although it is risky, prescription drug misuse is becoming increasingly common in the United States.

Why Do People Misuse Prescription Drugs?

People may choose to misuse prescription drugs for various reasons, such as: 

  • Self-medication for pain, sleep, focus, or other undiagnosed concerns 
  • Temporarily improve concentration, focus 
  • Enhance social experiences, gain approval from peers who also misuse substances 
  • Managing an addiction, avoiding withdrawal 

It is hazardous to misuse prescription drugs. Without medical support to help you understand your physicality, family history, and other crucial factors that shape your health, it is possible to do more harm than good when using unauthorized prescription drugs. 

What Are the Symptoms of Prescription Drug Misuse?

There are some signs to consider if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing prescription drug misuse. Depending on the substance being taken, there can be slightly different reactions based on the chemical makeup of a particular prescription drug. 

Signs of Opioid Misuse

Opioid misuse can present as:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Slow heart rate
  • Drowsiness 
  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Increased sensitivity to pain 
  • Euphoria

Signs of Sedative Misuse

The misuse of tranquilizers and sedatives can present as:

  • Slurred speech
  • Poor focus and memory 
  • Dizziness, unsteady walk
  • Slowed breathing

Signs of Stimulant Misuse

Stimulants misuse can present as:

  • Paranoia heightened awareness 
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat 
  • High blood pressure and body temperature 
  • Reduced sleep and appetite 
  • Restlessness, irritability, anxiety

These drugs can also illicit addictive patterns and behaviors such as withdrawal symptoms, forging, stealing, and lying to get prescriptions. Long-term abuse can also present changes in mood, behavior, and habits, affecting a person’s daily life.

How to Prevent Prescription Drug Misuse

Fortunately, it is possible to prevent prescription drug misuse. Considering risk factors can make it easier to understand the preventative measures that can be taken to prevent misuse and abuse.

People choose to misuse prescription drugs for various personal reasons. Learning how to meet your needs in ways that do not involve substances can make it easier to avoid leaning on substances to cope. 

With the collective challenges of the recent past, life has become increasingly overwhelming for most people. With mental health and emotional disorders on the rise, early intervention measures are vital. 

Finding a caring guide, mentor, or therapist can help you maintain peace and clarity as you navigate your challenges. Reaching out to a trusted mental health professional can help you or your loved one get the support they need to help them manage life’s stressors. 

Resorting to substances for stress management can have drastic and even fatal effects. If a person uses prescription drugs for undiagnosed or untreated health concerns, consulting with a licensed and trustworthy doctor will offer the relief that is truly needed. 

It is also critical to be mindful of the use of other substances while taking prescription medications. Alcohol is often partnered with various substances but can have adverse effects when mixed with the delicate chemical balance found in prescription drugs. Using medications responsibly is the best way to manage and maintain your physical and mental health. 

Prescription drug misuse has grown rapidly in recent years. Learning how to navigate life’s challenges while sober takes great courage and support. It is much easier to live a sober life when you have and utilize the right tools and resources. There are ways to manage stress and challenging situations by using the helpful tools you know or connecting with insightful and compassionate individuals who understand you. West Coast Recovery Centers can help you strengthen your mental health while living a healthy and sober life. Contact us at (760) 492-6509 for direct support with navigating your unique situation. Our team is here to help you and your loved ones prevent and overcome addiction. 

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