At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we understand that we live in an age ruled by the prescription pad and dominated by our need to satisfy a hunger within us. We are conditioned to trust the “system “and consume whatever is prescribed to us without questioning anything or anybody. For a large portion of the population this has become more than a daily struggle, but a way of surviving. The use of prescription medication has developed into a serious problem in South Africa, and is more common than most people would like to believe.
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre we talk about substance misuse or abuse. This refers to the use of a drug that deviates from approved social or medical patterns usually through self-administration e.g. using painkillers, prescribed by your physician. Many people who consume prescription medication are blissfully unaware of what they put into their bodies. Others with more experience of the effects of a particular substance know exactly what that substance can do for them. There is a general belief that abusing prescription medication is not as bad as using street drugs like Heroin. This however is a common misconception. Due to this popular misconception many people test the theory believing they know better and that one more will not hurt. It is this naivety that ultimately leads to an addiction.
What most people don’t know?
Many prescription drugs that we have readily available on a daily basis are more harmful to our bodies and minds than we actually know. This includes Dexedrine and Ritalin, stimulatory substances as well as painkillers like OxyContin and Pethidine. The reason why many of these man-made or synthetic substances are so dangerous is due to the high potency of synthetic ingredients. Ritalin is a common drug that is used to treat learning disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. What makes this drug potentially dangerous is that the tablet contains tiny particles of insoluble fillers. These solid materials and other stimulatory effects can potentially harm the body. Prescription drug effects can include:
- Blocking the small blood vessels
- Liver, Lung and Kidney damage
- Loss of appetite
- Convulsions, seizures and death from high doses
- Erratic, bizarre and sometimes violent behaviour
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Permanent damage to the blood vessels of the heart and the brain
- Strong psychological dependence
The fact of the matter is many substances were once prescribed without a concern for patient safety, only later to be banned. The substances were banned because the evidence of harmful effects could no longer be ignored. These prescription medications once included Cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, Methamphetamines and Heroin. All regarded today as hard street drugs.
How to prevent prescription drug addiction?
Many people today use prescription medication because they believe it is well justified. They believe that it is needed to either function or sleep well. Recognise them for what they are- lies. What drug prevention strategies can one employ to avoid addiction? The first step to avoiding addiction or even dependence is to educate yourself on what medication you are using. This does not mean to check the spelling of the brand, but rather what it does to your body and mind.
Before taking any medication know what you use it for and the potential effects it may have on your body and mind. Mandela once wrote “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. You don’t need to change the world, but it can help you to change your world. Explore alternative methods that you can utilize to achieve a specific state e.g. sleeping by listening to music. Always look for alternative methods before taking medication that will alter your natural brain chemistry. Do not self-medicate, always follow the instructions of the physician exactly as prescribed.
Do not share or give medication away. Your script was intended for you and your presenting complaint, not your neighbour next door. Get out more, exercise regularly, eat healthy and enjoy the conversation and laughter of the people you treasure. This is a big stress relief and is obtained through a natural process.
At Eden Recovery and Rehabilitation our dedicated team of professionals aim to assist any individual that may have fallen victim to prescription medication. At Eden Recovery and Rehab Centre we do not believe in just helping the addict, but insist on supporting the family. An addict might be the one that is infected, but it is the family and close friends who are affected by the addiction. The sad reality is that addiction doesn’t just kill the addict. It kills the family, kids and people who tried to help.