Three Tips for Avoiding Addiction to Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug addiction is a constantly growing and evolving problem in the United States and around the world. But as the epidemic spreads, so does increased knowledge about preventing and treating prescription drug abuse and addiction. Learning more about the drugs you take and your options for finding physical and mental health reduces your risk for abuse or addiction. Following the three tips listed below is a good way to begin your journey to health and an addiction-free and drug-free life.

Take Drugs as Prescribed

While taking an extra pill or an early dose may seem harmless, such a simple action is defined as drug abuse and could be a step toward addiction. Following prescription guidelines exactly is the first and most basic step toward preventing prescription drug abuse. If a drug does not seem to be working as well as it once was, talk with your doctor about the change in effectiveness before you take matters into your own hands and take a drug in greater quantities, frequencies or in a different way than recommended. Reduced drug function is often a result of tolerance, an early warning sign of drug dependence, and changing medications or including alternative treatment options is often preferable to increasing the prescription drug dosage.

Research Alternative Treatment Options

Powerful prescription drugs are not the only answer to chronic health conditions. Guided imagery, a therapeutic process that involves imagining a peaceful, pain-free place, provides deep relaxation and has been proven to reduce pain. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), “By using techniques such as guided imagery to build new nerve pathways, the pain pathways can become less active” (“Drug-Free Remedies for Chronic Pain,” February 2009). Biofeedback and other relaxation methods can similarly reroute thought processes and change the level of pain experienced or how that pain is perceived. Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi can improve strength, balance and flexibility to increase mobility and reduce pain. Acupuncture or massage can provide physical realignment and health improvement. Engaging in an overall healthy lifestyle and diet cannot cure chronic health conditions, but it can go a long way toward limiting or reversing the symptoms of many chronic conditions. All of these alternative treatment options also benefit individuals by reducing dependence on medication and the likelihood of addiction while increasing overall quality of life.

Increase Communication

Make sure you and your doctor have two-way conversations about the medications you are taking and how they are or aren’t working. Share any side effects even if they seem inconsequential, and make sure your doctor is aware of all medications you are taking and in what dosages. Discuss less addictive medication options or pursuing alternative treatments. You can also discuss your prescription drug use with close friends and family members so they can help you monitor your use and can look out for any red flags indicating abuse and addiction.

An addiction-free life is possible, no matter the health concerns you face. Take steps to prevent addiction, or take action if drug abuse is already occurring. If you are interested in addiction treatment programs or substance abuse therapy options that offer integrated care for mental or physical health issues, talk with our admissions coordinators today. Call our toll-free helpline any time, 24 hours a day. You will be directly connected with a caring, knowledgeable and confidential admissions coordinator who will help you understand your options.

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