Certain forms of substance abuse addiction can be difficult to manage due to close connections with a legitimate need for the substance in question, and likely the best example here is prescription drug addiction. Many suffering from this form of addiction started off in a situation where the medication in question was beneficial to them — but whether due to overuse or other concerns, this develops into a harmful addiction over time.
At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re happy to offer high-quality prescription drug rehabilitation programs for patients throughout Idaho struggling with this difficult condition. While our programs here cover several different areas, one that’s important for some people in this area is some simple instruction on proper, safe use of prescription drugs in ways that are less likely to lead to addiction. Whether you’re someone who has suffered from this form of addiction in the past or you’re simply looking to avoid these risks in the future for any prescriptions you take, here’s a primer on how to safely use any prescription drug that’s prescribed to you.
Ask Questions About the Medication
Whether to your doctor or your pharmacist, it’s vital that you get detailed information on the drug that has been prescribed to you. These people are highly trained in what’s likely their area of expertise, and will be able to give you very clear instructions regarding how often you can take it, how much is safe, and more.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about these details; they’re there for your benefit. They can tell you about any side effects that you need to watch out for, and they can give clear information about how this medication will affect you.
Know Your Prescription Timeline
When given a prescription, your doctor should be informing you specifically about “dosages” — how much of this medication you can take at once, whether it’s safe to take more over time, and other details. When you get your prescription filled, be sure to check the label for information about these dosages.
Be careful not to exceed the dosage limits given by either your doctor or the label on the bottle. In addition, take the medication for exactly the length of time that your doctor instructs you to; not doing so can lead to addiction problems.
Take Medication As-Directed
Under no circumstances should you take medication other than as directed by your doctor. For instance, if you’re told to take two tablets four times a day but you only feel like taking one tablet at a time, this can quickly become an addiction problem.
Be sure that your medicine is taken regularly; for many prescription drugs, missing even one dosage can lead to negative consequences down the road.
Avoid Sharing Prescriptions With Others
If you’re taking medication that’s been prescribed to you for a specific condition, it might be tempting to give some of your pills to a friend or family member who is suffering from the same thing and has no insurance coverage — but this is an extremely dangerous practice.
First of all, the condition in question (for instance, an ear infection) is likely not the same as yours. Second, your friend or family member may be taking other medications that could lead to dangerous drug interactions when combined with your prescription. And of course, this sort of thing is illegal as well, so you can face legal consequences if caught.
Keep a Current List of Medications
If you take more than one prescription drug, it’s vital that you keep a current list of all medications that you’re taking. Without this record, you could end up in serious danger if the doctor treating your condition prescribes something new without knowing about your current prescriptions.
Such a list also helps you keep your medications organized, which makes it easier to follow the instructions given by your doctor.
Choose One Pharmacy and Stick With It
There are several reasons why you should obtain all your required prescriptions at the same pharmacy. Not only does this make it easy for you to keep track of your prescriptions, but it also ensures that all pharmacists involved in filling your prescriptions will be fully aware of what other medications you’re taking and how these other prescriptions might affect them. The best pharmacies even have ways of tracking patient data to help warn for signs of addiction.
If you’re not sure which pharmacy to choose, ask friends or family members for recommendations. Your pharmacist is another great resource when it comes to learning how long your prescriptions will last, what the proper dosage is, and other important information.
Talk to Your Doctor Before Stopping a Prescription
If you take an ongoing prescription but are considering stopping it, make sure to speak with your doctor first. This is especially important if you’ve been taking the medication for some time; sudden discontinuation of some medications can lead to withdrawal symptoms (which in turn can trigger addiction attempts), and other medications need to be carefully tapered off over time to avoid dangerous problems.
It’s also possible that you may be able to reduce the dosage of a certain prescription while still continuing it — which would be a much safer option than complete discontinuation in many cases. The proper tapering of dosages is of paramount importance for avoiding both addiction and other risks associated with prescription drugs.
For more on how to safely, properly use prescription drugs in ways that help avoid risks of addiction developing, or to learn about any of our substance abuse or other addiction recovery programs, speak to the dedicated team at Moonlight Mountain Recovery today.