Facts About Prescription Drug Use
It can be easy to believe that prescription drugs are safe because they come from a doctor. However, many individuals who receive a prescription for pain relievers, opioids, stimulants, or sedatives find that they may develop a dependence on the medication. It’s also common for young children or teens to find their parent’s prescriptions and fall victim to addiction. These pitfalls may lead to prescription drug abuse that takes years to overcome.
Prescription drug abuse includes taking medication that was not prescribed to you, taking medications in a way other than prescribed, or taking/mixing medications with the intent to get high. Understanding the common myths about prescription drugs can help you keep an eye out for the signs of prescription drug abuse in your teen and get them help if they’re struggling.
1. Myth: Prescription Drugs Are Safer Than Illegal Drugs
One of the most common myths about prescription drugs is that they’re safer than illegal drugs. In fact, prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs — like meth and cocaine. In fact, the number of accidental overdoses involving prescription pain relievers especially has more than tripled since 1999.
While prescription drugs are approved by a number of governing bodies and prescribed with care, no doctor can plan for every eventuality. If you don’t tell your doctor about all your medications, if you mix your medications with contraindicated food or alcohol, or if someone else gets ahold of your medications and uses them, there are some serious risks. Asking about side effects as well as the dangers of medication is critical to ensuring safe usage.
2. Myth: You Can Take As Much As You Need
Some people believe the myth about prescription drugs that if you’re really, really hurting, you can ignore the label and take a few additional pills. Both children and adults could fall prey to the thought that just one extra pill couldn’t possibly cause any harm.
Even if you’re still experiencing pain while taking your medication, you should never deviate from the dosage prescribed on the bottle. These instructions aren’t just random suggestions, they’re actually calculated based on years of clinical testing and research. In addition to increasing the risk of side effects or overdose, taking extra medication without a doctor’s supervision can lead to dependency and eventual addiction.
3. Myth: Doctors Won’t Prescribe Addictive Medication
Some people think that doctors never prescribe anything that could be addictive. Unfortunately, this is a big myth about prescription drugs. Doctors actually regularly prescribe addictive drugs because they can be incredibly effective in treating pain, anxiety, and ADHD. Prescription medications that include benzodiazepines, like Xanax or Valium, and opiates, like Oxy or Morphine, are especially dangerous to use without doctor supervision because some of their negative side effects can cause permanent damage.
4. Myth: Rehab Doesn’t Help with Prescription Drug Abuse
When you think of rehab, you might just think about marijuana, alcohol, and ecstacy. But, a residential treatment program can be just as effective for prescription drug abuse. A persistent myth about prescription drugs is that rehab doesn’t help or that you can’t go to rehab until you’ve hit rock bottom. Neither of these is true.
We encourage any parent with a teen that’s suffering from prescription drug use to reach out to us today. Through family therapy, a supportive, safe environment, and our clinical approach to treatment, Ascend Healthcare helps teens with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues heal. We create personalized treatment programs for young people who need a little help on their way back to a healthy, happy life.
Help for Prescription Pill Abuse at Ascend
Knowing the facts about prescription drug use can help you make informed decisions for your teen. These myths about prescription drugs are dangerous and can cause those who are struggling with substance abuse to avoid seeking help. In reality, addiction can happen to anyone, even those who take medications as prescribed.
If you’re concerned about your teen, talk to one of our clinicians today at 310.388.3713.