The dangers of overmedication
Medicine exists for a reason; you take it to deal with physical, emotional or psychological pain. When prescribed and taken correctly, medication is an effective tool for wellness. Unfortunately, in our fast-paced and demanding lives, it is often easier to reach for the pill bottle than it is to manage issues that might not otherwise require medicine. This has led to a great deal of overmedication in America.
Think about your daily routine and how health issues can interrupt it. It might seem tempting to take a few Advil every time you have a slight headache – after all, you need to get back to work to achieve your goals. Sure, we all get little aches and pains sometimes, but if you are suffering from problems constantly or if you’re using it to treat stress or mood imbalances, it’s important to get to the root cause rather than take medication over and over again.
Overmedication can have adverse long-term effects that result in serious health problems like addiction, organ failure or even death. Overmedication in America can often be decreased by a healthy dose of education. If you are taking any type of prescription medication or if you take over-the-counter medication on a regular basis, you should keep the following in mind:
Always follow instructions
Overmedication can often be the result of simply not following instructions. Every bottle of medication sold has instructions on how much to take, when to take it and possible drug interactions. Overmedication occurs when a patient either doesn’t read or disregards these instructions – that’s when problems arise. If you believe you need more medicine than what the instructions say, contact your healthcare provider to ask for advice.
Report overmedication symptoms
No matter what type of medication you are taking, you need to be aware of the possible side effects so you can report them to your healthcare provider should they occur. Common side effects and signs of overmedication can range anywhere from slight nausea to liver failure. It’s your responsibility as a patient to listen to what your body is telling you and immediately contact your doctor if you show signs of overmedication.
Be honest with your doctor
It can be tempting to lie to your doctor about how much you drink, your diet or the amount of over-the-counter medication you take on a daily basis. When your doctor prescribes you medicine for a health condition, you must fully disclose everything you currently take and answer lifestyle questions honestly.
Some people may think that taking a pill can be a substitute for living a healthy lifestyle, but this is not the case. The next time you consider taking pills you might not need, try one of these methods for health and vitality instead.
Overhaul your diet
A healthy mind and body are two prime factors for success. When your diet is healthy and sustainable, you feel your best and can perform at a top level. On the other hand, if you’re fond of cookies, candy and sugar and spend your days downing processed foods and alcohol, you’ll feel lethargic – not to mention that sort of diet leaves you susceptible to health problems like heart disease and obesity. Many people who subsist on a poor diet have overmedicated in their efforts to ease aches and pains or get a boost of energy. If this sounds like you, set aside the medicine and focus on cleaning up your diet before you start suffering from overmedication symptoms. Choose plant-based proteins, high-quality fats and dairy and water-rich fruits and vegetables.
Say goodbye to being sedentary
If you work in an office setting, chances are you spend most of your day seated. This can be a necessary part of your job, but a sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on your health. You may be turning to overmedication for the sore back, shoulders and wrists that often come with computer-based work, or for headaches, eye strain and stress.
You can’t reach your peak state by sitting around all day – especially if you’re suffering from overmedication symptoms like brain fog and indigestion. Find ways to take control of your health and keep moving. Can you walk or bike to work instead of driving? Can you squeeze in 20 minutes on the treadmill during your lunch break, or even do some exercises at your desk? Challenge yourself to get in at least a solid hour of movement each day. Whether you just walk or join some group fitness classes, you’ll find that aerobic exercise will energize your body and mind.
Take care of your mind and spirit
We often limit thoughts of health to our physical bodies. We worry we’ve gained weight or feel achy, forgetting that our physical forms are only part of the full portrait of wellness. Reaching your peak state means physical wellness and mental health, which comprises your mental, emotional and psychological state. Overmedication not only hampers your physical health, but it can take a toll on your emotional health as well. Take control of your mental state by adopting a growth mindset, choosing gratitude and learning to meditate.
Overmedication can be a tempting distraction for those who are in a negative state of mind because it helps them avoid what they’re really feeling. Taking small but meaningful moments to appreciate your life and visualize your goals can work wonders on your personal health and relationships. Tony uses priming techniques to start each morning, noting that this 10-minute practice gives him the clarity and energy he needs to have an extraordinary day.
Combat stress and loneliness
Experiencing negative emotions can lead to physical ailments in the body. When you regularly feel stressed, anxious or depressed, you may have physical symptoms like headaches, weight gain or heart problems, or begin suffering from insomnia. It’s crucial to learn how to manage your stress levels so you can live in a healthy, balanced life and not let overmedication keep you from living a life of fulfillment. This means identifying what is stressing you out and either removing it from your life or, if that’s not possible, learning how to live with that stressor without letting it get to you.
One way to face stress and other problems is to accept that life is happening for you, not to you. You are ultimately in control of your life; the only person you can change is yourself. You are fully capable of mitigating a stressful situation, but you may not have figured out how to yet. By realizing that life happens for you, you cease to be a bystander in your own life and start taking control of your everyday thoughts and actions. This simple shift in mindset can make you feel more open to taking on new challenges and make the coping technique of overmedication much less tempting.
Additionally, it’s proven that loneliness can have catastrophic effects on humans. When you feel socially isolated, your stress hormones rise, meaning your immune system is weakened and you’re at greater risk for issues like heart disease and stroke. Make it a point to reach out to loved ones, build stronger relationships with those closest to you and make regular efforts to develop new connections. Interact with family, neighbors and coworkers, or join a local professional or recreational group.
Medicine has its place in our culture, but many people use overmedication in America as a substitute for taking care of their health and wellness in more natural ways. Instead of damaging your body through overmedication, identify ways you can fortify yourself without substances.
The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. See full disclaimer.
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