Will it Hurt if I Take a Prescription Drug Just Once?  Will I Get Addicted? 

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Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Prescription medications are much more accessible than one might think.  Open any bathroom cabinet, kitchen drawer, pillbox, etc. and there are likely one or more medications that have been made available by a physician’s prescription.  Some of the most commonly prescribed medications include opioid painkillers, tranquilizers and sedation meds, and stimulators.  Prescription medications are prescribed for a wide range of reasons, including antidepressants, anti-anxiety, pain control, infections and more.

Misuse is Dangerous

Prescription misuse is, unfortunately, a common occurrence and can happen anytime a prescribed medication is used outside its given parameters.  If a medication is used without a prescription or more than is recommended, this constitutes as misuse.  Prescription medication misuse can lead to many dangerous consequences and potentially addiction, which can result in a host of complications and difficulties.

stress and anxiety photoWhile it may seem harmless to take a prescription medication periodically and as needed, these medications should never be used outside the recommendation and guidance of a doctor.

Because these medications are often readily available, either through old prescriptions or through family members or friends who have medications, it can be easy to ask for a pill here and there.  Taking a medication outside the prescription instructions typically decreases the overall effectiveness of the drug.

Even if only taken once, a prescription medication can cause physiological changes in the body, depending on the drug, which can create a need for more.

If you find yourself in need of a particular medication, take the appropriate steps that include an evaluation by a qualified physician.  Self-prescribing may seem effective, but the reality is that making these decisions can cause yourself and your body significant harm.

Whatever your physical concern or ailment may be, it is important to address your concerns with a doctor.  Prescription medications should always be regulated by your doctor, and though it may be more time-consuming to obtain a needed medication this way, it is absolutely essential for protecting your health and wellbeing.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What do you think are ways to prevent prescription medication misuse?  For those who might be struggling with prescription medication addiction, what resources do you think are helpful for treatment?

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions and co-occurring disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.  

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 18, 2015. Published on AddictionHope.com