Medication abuse – Are you abusing your medicine?
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What is drug abuse?
It is estimated that about 100,000 people in Denmark have a drug addiction. It can be an abuse of anything from common painkillers to prescription sedatives. Either way, drug abuse is a slippery slope, so if you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from drug dependence, it is also important to act as soon as possible.
The vast majority of people, of course, have a good reason for using various forms of medication. It is therefore important to emphasise that there is a difference between drug use and drug misuse. We’ll look at that in more detail later in this article.
As a family member, it can be difficult to determine whether a person is using or abusing, and if the latter, the addict is likely to try to hide it. As a relative, you may feel powerless and find it difficult to talk to the addict about the problem.
The same goes for those who actually abuse medicines: it’s hard to admit that there’s a problem and that you need help, but this realisation is the first step on the road to an addiction-free life.
Whether you or someone you know needs residential treatment, we can help. Contact us by phone +45 48 40 40 60, or send an email to email@example.com if you want to know more about drug addiction treatment.
What defines a drug addiction?
Drug abuse is when you take medicine to achieve some kind of high. Similarly, taking medication to keep problems at bay can be classified as addiction, as can alcohol and drug abuse.
Typically, the medication will play a central role in your daily life if you have an addiction and cravings for the drug(s) in question will be widespread. If you try to stop taking the drug, you will probably experience some form of withdrawal, so it is important to be aware of withdrawal treatment if you are to be successful in your withdrawal.
Addiction to pills can have serious consequences and result in social problems, for example. Similarly, you can develop physical ailments as a result of overuse of various preparations, just as many forms of medication can affect you psychologically.
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What are drugs and what are medicines?
When people talk about “addiction”, they immediately think of drugs or alcohol. However, you can also be dependent on many other things – including medicines. The basic difference between drugs and medicines is that the primary purpose of medicines is to correct a disease or disorder, whereas drugs are more intended to affect one’s mental state or bodily sensations.
In some cases, there is a fine line between being a drug and being a medicine, as there are many medicines that – like drugs – can change your state of mind. Similarly, there are examples of euphoriants which, when used correctly, can be used medically to treat both mental and physical disorders.
So when you ask the question “what are drugs?”, the answer depends on how a drug is used. For example, a drug like ketamine was originally developed for anaesthetic use, but today it is widely used as a narcotic, so it can fall into both the “drugs” and “medicines” categories.
What is abuse and what is consumption?
Many people have to take medicines every day for long periods of their lives and perhaps even for life. Of course, this does not mean that you have an addiction. On the other hand, you have a necessary consumption of medication, and even if you have a drug dependence, it is not an abuse.
For there to be abuse, consumption must be inappropriate in some way. For example, because the addict does not really need the drug, but takes it to achieve some kind of high.
Similarly, a person may have a problematic drug dependence if they take a larger dose of medication than necessary.
If you are in doubt about whether you have a problem, you can always talk to your doctor about your use/abuse of medicines.
What is addiction?
The very word “addiction” can be understood in two ways. On the other hand, you may be dependent on medication because you suffer from an illness that requires constant treatment. This can be an addiction in the most literal sense of the word, where you really can’t do without your medication.
Another form of addiction is when you get used to taking various drugs – typically over a long period of time – that you don’t really need. Once you’ve become addicted to medication, you’ll probably feel that you can’t live without it, but in reality it’s “just” about weaning your body off. This type of addiction can be compared to alcohol or drug abuse.
The question “what is addiction?” has a two-fold answer, as it can be both a necessary and an unnecessary addiction, so to speak.
What kinds of medicines can you be addicted to?
You can become addicted to almost any medicine. This applies to both prescription medicines and ordinary medicines that can be bought over the counter. Either way, it’s something that needs to be taken seriously.
Usually, pill abuse is divided into the following three categories:
- Abuse of prescription painkillers
- Abuse of prescription sedatives
- Abuse of over-the-counter medicines.
As well as many people with pill addiction getting prescription drugs, some also supplement with black market pills.
Below, we will review a number of the types of medications that many people develop an addiction to.
If you have any doubts about whether you or someone you know is dependent on medication, you can always contact us on +45 48 40 40 60 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently asked questions about medicines:
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin Depot is a strong painkiller containing the active substance oxycodone. The drug is mainly used to treat chronic pain, and it is well known that it can cause both physical and psychological dependence. Therefore, treatment must be gradually tapered off if it is to be stopped.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone Teva contains the active substance oxycodone and is – like OxyContin Depot – a form of strong painkiller. Here, too, there should be a gradual tapering over time when treatment is discontinued.
What is Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine “Sandoz” is used to prevent and treat withdrawal in people who are dependent on morphine or morphine-like drugs such as heroin. It can also be used to treat severe pain and contains the active ingredient buprenorphine.
What is Naltrexone?
Naltrexone “POA Pharma” contains the active substance naltrexone. It is used for the maintenance of drug-free life in former drug users. Likewise, it can be used in the context of alcohol abuse, as it reduces cravings for alcohol.
What is ketamine?
Ketamine is an anaesthetic used mainly on horses. The drug has a hallucinogenic effect, which is why it has been widely used as a narcotic.
What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is part of several different medicines, all of which are described as “strong painkillers”. Several of them are used in conjunction with general anaesthesia.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is used to treat anxiety and anxiety-related insomnia. The product is not sold on the Danish market, but is particularly widespread in the USA. The pills are a form of benzodiazepine and are highly addictive, even when used in the right dose.
What is Ritalin?
Ritalin is used, among other things, to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. It contains the active substance methylphenidate.
What is Stesolid?
Stesolid – like Xanax – is a form of benzodiazepine. It is used to calm anxiety, for example, but can also be used for various types of cramps and spasticity. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, slowly reduce the dose over time when stopping treatment.
What is tramadol?
Tramadol is a painkiller used in a variety of prescription painkillers. What these drugs have in common is that they can cause both physical and psychological dependence, and abrupt cessation of treatment can lead to withdrawal. Therefore, you should taper off slowly by reducing the dose.
What is diazepam?
Diazepam is a substance used in benzodiazepines, which are sedative medicines.
What is alprazolam?
Alprazolam – like diazepam – belongs to the category of “benzodiazepines”. It is therefore present in sedative medicines that can be used, for example, for anxiety and agitation.
What is clonazepam?
You will find clonazepam in pills for epilepsy. Like several other preparations on this list, this is a form of benzodiazepine.
How to get out of addiction?
Addiction to medicines can cause both physical and social problems, as well as provoking mental disorders. Therefore, targeted treatment of the abuse should obviously be initiated as soon as possible.
As with any other form of addiction – alcohol abuse, for example – you will often experience severe withdrawal if you stop taking the addictive drug overnight. Therefore, it is typically important to undergo a gradual withdrawal and focus on ongoing treatment of withdrawal symptoms.
After successful addiction treatment, you can get back to living the good life that doesn’t revolve around addictive drugs.
There is typically an underlying reason why you become dependent on medication. That’s why addiction treatment at a treatment centre is not just about getting your body off drugs, but also – through psychotherapy, for example – about overcoming various problems so that you no longer feel the need to resort to medication.
We offer professional addiction treatment
At Alfa Fredensborg we offer professional addiction treatment. In our treatment centre, you can get help if you are dependent on medication you do not need. These can range from medicines used to treat ADHD to sedatives used, for example, in mental health disorders.
Similarly, you can get rid of an addiction to painkillers such as morphine and morphine-like preparations. In short, we help you in the most appropriate way out of your drug abuse.
If you know someone who needs help, or if you want to get back to a good life that doesn’t revolve around drug addiction, all you have to do is take the plunge and contact us.