Americans are struggling now more than ever with prescription medications – the opioid crisis is a true example of this. As millions are attempting to manage their pain and other unwanted symptoms, additional medications are being added just to manage the side effects of original prescriptions. Have we gotten out of hand with our medications? This is a concern of many.
U.S. News states that 61% of adults use at least one drug to treat a chronic health problem, and more than 1 in 4 seniors take at least 5 medications daily. Although therapeutic and pharmaceutical advancements have expanded our abilities to prevent illness and aid in pain management, taking too many medications have taken a toll on our society. Overmedication is defined as the inappropriate medical treatment that occurs when a patient takes unnecessary or excessive medications. David Reuben, chief of the geriatrics division at the UCLA School of Medicine, stated on PBS, “There are a lot of souvenirs from being in the hospital: medicines they may not need.”
Sources have shown that overmedication is often used for older adults as they need medication to help with respiratory problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, illnesses, and more. However, the elderly are not the only ones at risk for taking unnecessary medications; many adults engage in “doctor shopping”, a tactic that involves seeking multiple treatment providers to receive multiple prescriptions. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that there are 2 main reasons why people “doctor shop”: 1) to obtain multiple prescriptions for otherwise illegal drugs, and/or 2) to obtain a medical opinion the person can agree with.
There’s no doubt that the United States is currently struggling with overmedication. There are many causes for this: misdiagnosis, treatment provider’s pressure to “solve” patient’s health concerns by providing additional prescriptions, obtaining additional medication for illicit purposes or addiction, patient unfamiliarity with medications, and more. Always be open and honest with your doctor, and present any questions that you may have. Stay actively aware of what you’re consuming and who you’re receiving treatment from. Seek medical attention immediately if you’re experiencing any symptoms that are of concern.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment programs. We believe in individualized treatment to effectively meet the unique needs of each person. Holistic recovery is important at our treatment centers, meaning that we will work with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. Call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation.