At the rate prescription drugs are advertised, marketed, and prescribed, it can be hard to believe that so many of these medications can be incredibly dangerous. While prescription drugs are created to combat a variety of physical and mental ailments, use of these medications is not without risk, and in some cases, can lead to the development of more serious problems including prescription drug addiction.
Rates of prescription drug abuse continue to rise. Although these medications are prescribed with the intention of providing relief, for many they can be the source of addiction, dangerous side effects, or even death. Because they are prescribed by doctors and are more available than ever before, many people falsely believe these medications are safe for consumption and can be used by anyone. Even though they can be safe to use when taken as prescribed, there are still risks associated with use making it important to assess your options before using them.
The Most Dangerous of Prescription Medications
There are countless types of prescription medications available and new ones are introduced to the market every day. While they can provide relief for symptoms, use of medications, especially long-term, can become problematic. Some of the most dangerous types of prescription drugs include:
Painkillers have garnered a significant amount of media attention in recent years due to the alarming number of deaths related to their use. Rates of painkiller prescriptions have increased dramatically in recent years and it has impacted countless people regardless of age, gender, sex, race, or socioeconomic status.
Opioid painkillers are effective in managing pain, but when taken incorrectly or by anyone other than who it is prescribed for, it can lead to problematic outcomes. An increasing number of people have found themselves struggling with addiction to opioid medications. As changes are made to crack down on accessibility and formulations are changed to reduce rates of misuse, many find themselves turning to other opioid drugs, like heroin, in order to fuel their addiction. Deaths due to Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Hydrocodone misuse have increased dramatically and continue to grow.
Benzodiazepines are tranquilizer medications often used to treat anxiety and insomnia. These are commonly prescribed medications and include popular brands such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. While these medications can help address symptoms effectively, dependence can develop rapidly. Even in a short period of time, use of these medications can lead to the experience of withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening in nature.
Because these medications are well-known and have been prescribed for a long time, many people underestimate the dangers of using them despite years of documented problems associated with them. Rates of prescription drug overdose due to benzodiazepines have skyrocketed in recent years and continue to rise as the medications are prescribed more frequently.
Stimulant prescription medications are often used to treat disorders such as attention deficit disorder. Medications like Ritalin are commonly prescribed for young children which leads to many people falsely trusting the safety of these drugs. Stimulants are commonly misused because they are deceptively thought of as a medication that improves alertness. This leads to a significant number of people misusing them as “study drugs”, especially in college environments. Although this misuse might be driven by a desire to achieve a positive outcome, the consequences of this behavior can be detrimental.
Overdosing on stimulant medications can cause a person to become severely ill. Stimulant medications are responsible for thousands of calls to poison control centers every year, particularly for young children and adolescents. In some cases, stimulants have been linked to unexpected death in children, leading many to search for alternatives to the dangerous medication.
The Risk with Using Prescription Drugs
Much like other illicit substances, the side effects of prescription drugs become less powerful with increased use. Many will take higher doses or use other substances in order to achieve the same effects. While these medications on their own can be dangerous, the risks also increase when they are mixed with other substances. In many cases of prescription drug overdose, they are consumed with other substances such as alcohol. This puts many at risk for a wider variety of side effects due to adverse reactions from mixing substances.
Regardless of whether or not you develop an addiction to prescription medication, use of these drugs is not without risk. These medications can produce a variety of side effects that are often dependent on individual factors. Family history of addiction, biological differences, weight, and other factors can all impact the way prescription drugs will affect you and your risk of developing dependencies.
If you have already begun using prescription medications to manage symptoms of a condition, you can consult with your doctor to work on either reducing use or stopping altogether. The act of sudden cessation itself can be the source of numerous health problems as well. If your doctor has prescribed a drug like these and you have not started use, it may be worthwhile to consider alternative methods of addressing your physical and mental health needs. There are a number of different psychological, behavioral, and physical therapies available that may be able to help treat a variety of ailments that do not come with the same risks.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.