While a great deal of emphasis is placed on prevention and mitigating the abuse of opioids, pharmacist and physicians should also be more cognizant of the misuse of non-controlled medications. Several studies have shown that there is misuse occurring across a broad-spectrum of drug classes, which is in addition to schedule 2 medications. The most commonly abused non-controlled medications include antihistamines, cough suppressants, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. In this article, we will take a look at whether or not it is possible to take non-controlled medications while also seeking treatment for prescription drug addiction.
WHY DOES NON-CONTROLLED DRUGS ABUSE GO UNNOTICED
When it comes to the abuse of non-controlled drugs, there isn’t much in the way of trends; also, non-controlled drug abuse is rarely ever part of a drug monitoring program. To further illustrate this point, many pharmacists have stated that even they were not aware of non-controlled medications being abused by patients. Adding even more complexity to this matter, the DEA’s definition of controlled and non-controlled substance is not clearly delineated. What does this mean, exactly? Well, most people, including those in the health community, typically only equate controlled substances with a proclivity for abuse. As such, there is not a lot of attention placed on “non-abusable” drugs.
WHY DO PEOPLE ABUSE NON-CONTROLLED DRUGS?
When it comes to any form of addiction, the decision to start using can vary; this applies to controlled and non-controlled substances alike. That said, as the crackdown on prescription opioid abuse takes center stage, more people have turned to non-controlled substances as an alternative. Of course, the intensity of the “high” pales in comparison to that of opioids, for example, but it resolves the cravings that many users experience after going without their medication of choice for a prolonged time. Some of the most popular medications being abused include
Of course, this list is not all-encompassing, but it does reflect some of most commonly abused medications. It is worth mentioning, however, that Gabapentin is the most abused medication on this list, which is not surprising considering that it is often prescribed in place of certain controlled drugs.
TAKING NON-CONTROLLED MEDICATIONS WHILE TREATING FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
When combining any medication with a controlled substance, it is always a good idea to speak with your physician first. In doing, so you can avoid the possible complications that come with such actions. If not taken as prescribed, controlled drugs can be dangerous, and if you add the misuse of non-controlled drugs to the equation, you may expose yourself to greater health risks. For example, combining opioids with stimulants can result in hypotension, tremors, seizures, and breathing problems. Also, combining anti-anxiety or sedatives with controlled substances can cause similar effects along with memory problems. To say that combining medications without first speaking with a physician is ill-advised would be a gross understatement.
WHY SHOULD TELL YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT YOUR ADDICTION
Although many people are reluctant to divulge their deepest secrets to their doctor, addiction is not something you should be hiding. This is especially true if your addiction involves the use of controlled and non-controlled substances. After all, maintaining your silence can result in serious health consequences. If you need certain medications to resolve pain, for example, your doctor may be able to prescribe a medication that doesn’t produce the same damaging effects as the one you may currently be taking.
Also, he or she may suggest trying a non-pharmacological approach, which may include stress management, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes that may be more beneficial. If alternative treatments are not effective, your physician may consider reducing the dose on medications you are currently taking. Obviously, there are a variety of options when it comes to receiving the treatment you need and safeguarding your health in the process.
BEING OPEN ABOUT YOUR ADDICTION
Telling your doctor about your addiction can seem terrifying. And you will probably feel like you’re being judged, but once you’re able to move past that fear, you’re one step closer toward overcoming your addiction. To that point, doctors understand that controlled and non-controlled substances can be very addictive. As such, they don’t pass judgment; instead, they are supportive and willing to do anything in their power to help you break your addiction, especially if that addiction stems from medication that they prescribed.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU REVEAL YOUR ADDICTION TO YOUR DOCTOR?
Regardless of the source of your addiction, your doctor may ask questions regarding how long you have struggled with the addiction and symptoms that you may be experiencing. Obviously, there may be some limitations with regard to the extent your doctor may be able to help in treating your addiction. However, they can recommend an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility where you can begin a detox program.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAM
While in a detox program, you will most likely receive medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms and also undergo a full medical and psychological evaluation. Once the drugs have been flushed from your system, your treatment facility will suggest counseling as means of preventing relapse; these counseling sessions are also helpful in allowing patients to identify what caused their addiction in the first place. As such, they can avoid the triggers and other situations can result in using again.
In closing, there are times when using non-controlled medications in conjunction with controlled drugs is unavoidable. That said, it is always a good idea to keep you doctor informed of any negative affects you may be experiencing, which can help you avoid addiction and ensure your good health. Lastly, you should always take your medication as prescribed to avoid possible health problems, including side effects and addiction. Call one of our counselors today at 877-497-6180.