There was an interesting story in the Daily Telegraph this week (14 October 2013) by Doctor Phil Hammond where he advises people to learn more about the prescription drugs they are taking. This is good advice because blindly following the advice of your doctor could actually be putting your health at risk. Not only can these prescribed drugs lead to nasty side effects, but it might also be the case that they allow you to fall into addiction.
Risk of Addiction from Prescription Drugs
If you take any drug long enough, you can develop a physical addiction to it. This is not the same as the type of addiction where you are selling all your belongings to score the next hit, but it can mean that if you ever need to stop taking this substance, you are going to need to be weaned off it with the help of your doctor. In this situation, you and your doctor will have decided that the risk of developing a tolerance is worth it because this substance is benefiting your health.
The real danger is that prescription drugs can also lead to the more regular type of addiction that is both physical and psychological in nature. This can happen if you are using strong drugs like opiates and sedatives, and you begin to enjoy the pleasant side effects produced by these substances. This can mean that instead of taking these drugs for the reasons they were intended (for example, to deal with pain), you may begin to use them recreationally; this means you are at high risk of developing a real addiction no different from the alcoholic or heroin user.
Doctors know that there is always the risk that their patients are going to start abusing strong medication, so they are very careful about controlling them; they also have a legal obligation as many of these substances are closely controlled. A good doctor is only going to prescribe this type of medication because he or she is convinced you need it, and they will try giving it to you as soon as possible.
Dangerous Side-Effects of Prescription Drugs
The Guardian article by Dr Phil Hammond points out that many people are unaware of the risks they are taking by using prescription drugs. This is why he advises them to use respectable online resources such as RXisx to find out about any side effects and dangers of addiction.
It is only by having the right information that people can make the right choices about their health. The ‘doctor knows best’ way of thinking fell out of favour during the seventies when it became obvious that these professionals were mere humans who sometimes got it wrong. It is important to respect the advice of a doctor, but this does not mean just having to automatically do what they say, without question.
Individuals who do the research and discover the drug they are taking has nasty side effects or is very addictive should not just stop taking this substance. It is vital that they go speak to their physician about these concerns before taking any action. Stopping some drugs abruptly can cause serious problems, and it could be putting your health in real jeopardy. It is also important that you learn to be discerning about where your information is coming from; there is a great deal of misinformation online.
If you started to abuse prescription medication, it is important to come clean with your doctor. He or she will be able to help you get this behaviour under control, but in some cases, it may be necessary for you to receive support from something like a rehab programme.