The dangers of medication

Medication helps us feel better, right? If taken the right way, yes. After a consultation with your doctor, he may prescribe certain medications to help you recover. These are normally given with directions like how much to take and at what times.

Medication becomes dangerous when you leave the doctor’s room without being clear on how you should take it. This lack of knowledge could cause serious consequences.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), an estimated 20% of high school students admit to taking prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.

Misusing medication can leave you with several negative effects.

Some medications can be addictive. In this case, you would need more of the drug and in higher doses to get the same effects. When you stop taking the drug, you have symptoms like nausea, shaking, sweating and nervousness.

Taking medication that your doctor didn’t prescribe or misusing your own medication is illegal. What’s more, the likelihood of committing a crime increases when you’re abusing drugs.

Remember also, that misusing medication can cause poor judgment, which can put you in dangerous situations. Most importantly, its ultimately your health that suffers when you abuse medication. Misusing medication can cause changes in your mood, decrease your mental function, interrupts your menstrual cycle, affects your fertility and could even interrupt breathing.

Good to know

  • After your consultation with your doctor, you need to ask why they’re prescribing you a certain type of medication to you, and whether it has any side-effects. This is your chance to ask as many questions as possible. If you’re not comfortable with taking that prescription, ask for an alternative.
  • Although many people can have the same condition, not everyone is treated the same way. A doctor prescribes medication according to your specific experience with a condition and according to how your body will react to it. If you take someone else’s medication, you may become sicker and your body will build up resistance. This means that your body will get used to certain medications and they will no longer work for you.
  • Store your medication in a safe place and at the right temperature. If you have children around, it’s best to keep meds as far out of their reach as possible. Some medications need to be stored at room temperature and others, like cough syrups, should be kept in the fridge. Read the instructions carefully and look out for the expiration dates on your medication. Over time, they can lose their strength.
  • Listen to your doctor. You consulted him because of his expertise in the first place. Overdosing is a real concern, so always check with your doctor about dosages.
  • Mistakes happen. You may leave the pharmacy with the wrong medication. Double-check your medication, dosage and instructions, ask the relevant questions one more time to be sure. It’s your responsibility.
  • Always check with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medication or even natural remedies. This will help prevent potential danger of mixing prescription with other forms of medication.
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