Prescription medications can be every bit as addictive as substances purchased on the street. The fact that its use is ordered by physicians doesn’t alter its chemical properties, and more than one patient has found himself desperately craving his next dose. Opioids, stimulants and anti-anxiety drugs are among the most commonly abused prescription medications, according to the Mayo Clinic. Taking these drugs can be a little like walking a tightrope for some people. Having a careful plan – and sticking to it – can help you successfully stay on the wire.
Understand the Nature of the Medication
Ask your physician what the medication will do for you and to fully explain the condition for which it’s being prescribed. Understanding the role the drug will play in your life is a good first step. The medication isn’t a just feel-good high, even if it makes you feel good. It’s a medical need. Make sure you understand how it will affect you. Can you drive a vehicle under its influence? Will taking it on an empty stomach accelerate side effects?
Follow the Instructions
Pharmacists deliver prescription medications complete with extensive written directions and instructions for use. Read the directions. The printout may cover a lot of the information your doctor has already provided, but it often goes further, explaining exactly when you are supposed to take the medication, in what quantity and for how long. Make it a point to abide by these rules.
When to Call Your Doctor
If you are in a great deal of pain and believe that just one more dose of hydrocodone will give you relief, call your doctor instead. Don’t hesitate to confide in your doctor if you feel you’re developing a dependence on something prescribed for long-term use. Resist the urge to simply stop taking the prescribed medication if you feel like you’re on dangerous ground – this can have a disastrous effect on the condition you’re being treated for.
Tell your doctor if you’re uncomfortable with the way a medication makes you feel as well. Most side effects occur early on, before your body becomes accustomed to the drug. If the side effects you’re experiencing persist or seem unusual, ask your physician if another drug might do just as well, or if he can adjust your dosage.
Create memory-logs to help keep track of your dosage schedule. Overdoses and dependencies have resulted simply because a patient repeatedly forgets that he already took a dose and takes another – after a while, this level of dosage can add up to a physical need. Numerous cellphone apps keep track of your doses, dinging at you when you’re due to take one and requiring that you make note of doses already taken so you can check before taking more. Use a daily dosing container if you’re not tech-savvy. If Monday’s compartments are empty, you’ve already taken as much of your medication as you should for that day.
Your medication serves a purpose. You can successfully take it as prescribed when you confine it to that purpose.