Taking the Proper Prescription Drug Dosage

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in America. Addiction to painkillers, sleep aids, antidepressants and other medications can be every bit as problematic as dependency on more infamous street drugs like heroin or cocaine. Prescription drug addiction can catch even safe-minded people by surprise. Many prescription drug addicts never had any desire to get high or to abuse any substances. They aren’t the reckless party crowd but are mothers, fathers, ministers, teachers, police officers and even doctors and nurses. Prescription drug addiction can sneak up on anyone who is not careful to avoid it.

Tips for Avoiding Prescription Drug Addiction

Though some people are born with a genetic proclivity toward addiction, the vast majority of people who take their medication exactly as prescribed will not develop a substance abuse problem. The keys to avoiding addiction include the following:

  • Take only the exact dosage your doctor instructs you to
  • Take your medications only as frequently as instructed to
  • Discontinue use of the drug as soon as possible (with your doctor’s consent)
  • Be completely transparent about your drug use with your doctor and loved ones
  • Completely disclose any information about preexisting emotional or psychological disorders or substance abuse issues to your doctor before taking any medications

The most important tools for avoiding a drug problem are accountability to doctors and loved ones and accuracy.

How Prescription Drugs Become a Problem

Though different drugs function in different ways, the problem with addictive prescription drugs is that they create both physical and psychological dependency. Many of these medications create a mild to intense euphoria when first taken. Though this side effect is not sought by the user, the relief that it brings to the pleasure center of the brain can be intense. The brain will crave that relief on a deep and emotional level that can be significantly more powerful than the rational mind. As a natural tolerance to the medication builds, users may find themselves craving a higher or more frequent dose. This may be a subconscious craving they are unaware of. If they increase their dosage or take the medication longer than instructed, they greatly increase the odds of addiction.

Strategies for Maintaining Correct Prescription Drug Dosage

The following relatively simple steps can greatly decrease the likelihood that you may develop a prescription drug problem:

  • Make sure you understand your dosage instructions clearly
  • Never see more than one doctor at a time for the same condition
  • Always tell your doctor about any other medications or treatments you are on as well as any history you have with addiction or psychological issues
  • Have a friend or loved one join you at the doctor’s office, and make sure he or she understands your dosage requirements and will hold you accountable to them
  • Never use more than one pharmacy to fill your prescriptions
  • Communicate openly and honestly about how the drug makes you feel
  • If you miss a dose, do not double up on your next one to make up for it
  • Keep a log or journal about your prescription drug usage

What to Do about Prescription Drug Abuse or Addiction

If you fear that you have already developed an addiction to a prescription medication, please call our toll-free helpline any time of night or day. Our specially trained counselors can answer your questions and help you find the recovery resources most appropriate to your unique needs. Never be ashamed about asking for help with prescription dependency.