August 15, 2014
Guide to Prescription Drug Usage
Benefits of Prescription Drugs
If you pain, a medical condition, or an infection, you may be in need of a prescription medication. Drugs available by prescription are generally more effective than ones you get from your local drug store with a higher strength and fast-acting ingredients. There are many benefits to choosing prescription drugs when you need relief for whatever ails you. Many times, prescription drugs are not only helping to cure an illness or relieve pain, but they are preventing a potential life-threatening situation and keeping you living your daily life as normal as possible.
If you are having intense pain from a toothache or have an infection that needs quick relief, the best way to go about it is with prescription drugs. Over-the-counter drugs don’t have the best strength or effectiveness as compared to prescription medications, and natural remedies only help in the long-term. Meditating, practicing breathing techniques, or getting physical therapy may help with chronic conditions, but not short-term relief.
Cure and Remedy an Illness
Another benefit is the ability to completely cure or get rid of an ailment you might be experiencing. This includes things such as high cholesterol, cancer, high blood pressure, or similar medical conditions. There aren’t over-the-counter medications available for these types of ailments, and many of them can be life threatening. This makes it essential to get prescription drugs for these dangerous medical conditions.
There are many health-related incidents that can’t be relieved or helped with natural remedies or over-the-counter medications. If you have an infection or are dealing with a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety, the chances of you finding an over-the-counter medication for it, is extremely rare. You need a fast-acting pill or liquid that you can get right away, which is only available with a prescription medication. If you’re taking a prescription pill for something like a bad mouth infection or severe depression, it is actually helping to save your life and keep you performing normal, everyday tasks.
Lastly, many prescription drugs are effective at preventing certain diseases from occurring, keeping diseases from recurring, or helping to avoid more serious complications. For example, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your blood pressure prescribed medication is not only lowering your blood pressure, but it is also helping to avoid heart disease and a heart attack that might have otherwise been fatal.
Recognizing Abuse to Prescription Drugs
Abuse and addiction of prescription drugs is currently an epidemic in the United States. They are one of the most commonly abuse drugs, just behind Marijuana abuse and used more than Heroin, Meth, and Cocaine. This is partly due to the availability of prescription drugs and partly to how addictive they can be. If you’re concerned someone you know is abusing prescription drugs, you should look out for the following behavioral, emotional, and psychological signs.
Behavioral Signs of Abuse
People abusing prescription drugs often show changes in their personality first among other signs. These signs include having intense mood swings, violent outbursts, and random bad moods that seems to come out of nowhere. They might also show signs of confusion, memory loss, and difficulty making decisions. You may notice your friend or loved one becomes more isolated, not wanting to be social or spending a lot of time alone. If your teen used to hang out with friends but suddenly spends more time in his or her room, this is a big red flag for prescription drug abuse. People abusing prescription drugs also commonly become consumed with getting more drugs and feel like they can’t function normally without them. Using words like I “need” to get more is another red flag.
Physical Signs of Abuse
Many different drugs and stimulants show physical signs of abuse in individuals, and prescription drugs are no exception. Someone who is suddenly showing a lack of care about their appearance, poor personal and dental hygiene, wearing dirty clothes or not washing their hair or showering, looking sloppy, and being physically different is a sign of abuse to prescription drugs.
Emotional and Psychological Signs of Abuse
Someone abusing prescription drugs may also show signs of abuse through their emotions and mental state. Someone not sleeping as much may be overusing stimulant medications. Other signs include suffering from anxiety, depression, or similar mental disorders that they did not experience before. Prescription drug abuse might trigger more severe cases of these mental disorders. For example, someone who had a panic attack every few months may discover they are dealing with more severe anxiety and panic attack occurring weekly or even daily.
Other Signs of Abuse
Some other things to look out for are suddenly losing interest in the same groups of friends, cutting school or calling into work more often. If your friend or loved one seems to be getting into financial trouble or legal trouble more often, they may also be abusing prescription drugs or becoming addicted to them.
Pros and Cons of Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs, when available, can give you instant relief and cure many different ailments. If you have health insurance, you won’t have to worry about the extra cost of prescription medications. However, there are also a variety of disadvantages to taking prescription drugs including the cost when it isn’t covered by insurance and the risk of addiction. The following will provide you with information about the most important pros and cons to be aware of in regards to taking prescription drugs.
Advantages of Prescription Drugs
Treat Your Symptoms Quickly
– One of the best advantages of prescription drugs is how quickly you can treat and alleviate your symptoms. This is especially true for quick acting medications like antibiotics for infections and opioids for relieving pain. Most over-the-counter (OTC) medications don’t work as quickly or at least not at the same strength.
More Effective than OTCs
– Prescription drugs are also more effective overall, as opposed to OTCs. Most medications you buy in your local drug store aren’t going to have the same strength or be as successful at relieving pain. There are also dozens of medical conditions that can’t be treated with medications you purchase over-the-counter and require a prescription.
Disadvantages of Prescription Drugs
Risk of Abuse and Addiction
– With prescription drugs, there is always a higher risk of physical dependence which can lead to abuse and addiction of the drugs. This causes more serious side effects and complications. Over-the-counter pain killers, for example are usually at a lower strength and don’t cause as much of a risk of abuse as their prescription counterparts. For example, Vicodin and Advil are both effective at relieving pain from a toothache, but Vicodin can be very addictive while ibuprofen such as Advil is very rarely addictive.
– There also tends to be more harsh side effects from taking prescription drugs, even when taking as recommended and not abusing them. You may have side effects such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, or physical impairment where driving a motor vehicle becomes dangerous.
– A common disadvantage to taking prescription drugs is the expense. Even with a prescription, they can be very costly. Many medications are either not accepted under traditional health insurance prescription plans or you have a higher co-pay for these brands. If no generic brand is available, you will be subjected to paying full price which can be hundreds of dollars just for one bottle of medication.
Prescription Drugs to Avoid
Prescription drugs can be beneficial when you have an infection, chronic pain or a medical condition that needs treatment. However, there is also a high risk of dependence and addiction to certain types of prescription drugs. Others are dangerous and cause serious side effects, even if they are effective at curing your ailments. The following prescription drugs are ones to avoid if at all possible and look for alternate treatments.
Prednisone, a type of cortisone cream, is a medicated treatments for things like poison ivy. While it is very effective for short-term use, it is not recommended for long-term use. Long-term use of Prednisone and similar medications pose serious health risks including peptic ulcers, cataracts, hypertension (high blood pressure), osteoporosis, diabetes, and intestinal bleeding. However if you have already been taking Prednisone for a long period of time, it is better to gradually reduce your dose rather than quitting suddenly.
Blood thinner medications like Warfarin are often prescribed for preventing heart attack or stroke in people at risk of cardiovascular problems. However you should practice caution when taking blood thinners and only take them when absolutely necessary. One of the side effects of blood thinners is excessive bleeding, even with a small cut or scratch. With high amounts of blood loss, it can be very dangerous or fatal. Injuries causing more blood loss can be fatal if you don’t get medical attention quickly.
Prozac is often prescribed to individuals who suffer from anxiety or depression as it helps balance the serotonin levels in the brain. With Prozac, you can experience positive thoughts, improved mood, less anxiety, and sleep better. However taking Prozac increases your risk of Akathasia which causes almost constant agitation which could actually cause more serious thoughts of suicide, hostility and increase violent behavior. Prozac can also be addictive causing individuals to abuse the drug.
Pain killers are effective ways to control chronic and severe pain but you should be wary when taking these medications. They are some of the most dangerous prescription drugs to use due to a high risk of addiction. Pain killers such as Percocet and OxyContin are related to drug abuse and drug addiction which could lead to overdose or other life-threatening situations. When they aren’t used properly, pain killers cause a low heart rate and get in the way of proper breathing which is equally dangerous.
Reasons to Use Prescription Drugs
There are many reasons why you should use prescription drugs, even with the risk of abuse. As long as you are honest with your doctor about your symptoms and use the medication exactly as directed, you can avoid the risk of abuse or addiction.
Cure an Ailment
One reason you might need prescription drug is to cure an ailment or medical condition. Some situations, like infection for example, can be cured completely if you take a prescription drug, such as antibiotics. They are effective at getting rid of many different medical conditions and ailments you might have, along with preventing them from occurring in the future.
In some cases, a medical condition you’re living with may not be dangerous on its own, but the complications it might be associated with could be very dangerous. For example, if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, it raises you risk for heart disease. However, if you get a prescription for blood pressure medication or a prescription to reduce your bad cholesterol levels, you can prevent complications like heart disease or heart attack.
Manage a Disease
Some diseases have no cure, but you can manage the symptoms and side effects by taking a prescription medication. It may be a serious disease like HIV/AIDS or liver disease, or one that isn’t life threatening but still needs to be managed like a mental disorder such as anxiety or depression. By getting a prescription, you can better manage the disease and learn to live with it instead of being affected by it.
Relieve Chronic Pain
Severe, chronic pain can make life unbearable, even with just the most basic of tasks. However there are many different prescription medications available called opioids, or pain killers, that relieve and even get rid of pain. If you have chronic pain from a past neck or back injury, get frequent migraines, or have an occupational injury causing pain, you can get relief with a prescribed pain medication. This helps you get back to work or your normal activities.
Health Insurance Benefits
Lastly, a great reason to use prescription drugs is if you have a health insurance plan with prescription benefits. Not everyone has health insurance, so if you do, you should take advantage of this benefit. This means you will be able to get generic or brand name prescription drugs at a fraction of the price, often for no cost or a low co-pay of $5 or $10.
Addiction Issues with Prescription Drug Use
Prescription drug use continues to rise in the United States, both for children and adults. In many cases, prescription drugs are beneficial as they help relieve chronic and severe pain, get rid of ailments, and cure infections. However some people are beginning to abuse prescription drugs where they use them more than what was instructed, are doctor shopping by getting the same prescription from multiple doctors and pharmacies, and buying them illegally off the streets. Even if no laws were broken and the individual received their medications legally and use them appropriately, there is still a risk of abuse and addiction as many of them cause you to become physically dependent.
Abuse VS Addiction
While people believe abuse and addiction to be the same thing, they are actually quite different. Abuse is less severe and happens before addiction, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. Someone who is abusing prescription drugs, is not taking them as directed, such as taking more in each dose, getting multiple prescriptions, or taking them in a different method than what was prescribed. On the other hand, someone addicted to prescription drugs feels that they need them to function normally. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get them and will have severe withdrawal symptoms without them, even for just a day. Someone beginning to abuse prescription drugs is at the risk of becoming addicted to them in time.
Prescription Drugs to be Aware Of
Some prescription drugs have a higher risk of addiction than others, including opioids or pain killers, depressants which treat insomnia and anxiety, and stimulants often prescribed for ADHD, obesity, and narcolepsy. Some of the brand names to be aware of and avoid if at all possible are OxyContin, Darvon, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Demerol, Lomotil, Xanax, Percocet, Valium, Dexedrine, and Ritalin.
Signs of Addiction
If you are concerned you or someone you know is addicted, there are signs you can look for that might signal an addiction. Someone who is constantly complaining about vague symptoms to get a prescription or who tries getting the same prescription from multiple doctors, is probably addicted to it. Needing a stronger prescription also signals physical dependence which increases the risk for addiction. Other signs include mood and behavioral changes, being secretive, getting into financial or legal trouble, not having interest in alternate treatment options, and having physical withdrawal symptoms when not having access to the prescription drugs.