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Destructive Interaction: Medication and Substance Abuse

Blog » Addiction Articles » Destructive Interaction: Medication and Substance Abuse

December 18, 2012

Are You a Ticking Time Bomb?

You may take medications for both physical and psychological ailments. But are you familiar with the destructive interaction that medication and substance abuse can produce? You should know how alcohol and drugs impact the side effects, potency and the overall effectiveness of your medication. Your addiction may even be the reason you are dependent on medication.

Who Isn’t Taking Some Form of Medication These Days?

Everyone struggles with something. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder all produce symptoms that may require medication. What isn’t discussed in the midst of describing these symptoms is whether or not your addiction is producing these symptoms. And in true form with addiction, you look for a pill or a drink to solve your problems.

People use medications and substances to treat symptoms such as:

  • Nervousness
  • Worry
  • Sleep problems
  • Excess energy
  • Hallucinations/delusions
  • Increased arguments
  • Relationship issues
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite problems
  • Negative thinking
  • Feeling on edge
  • Pain
  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Boredom
  • Lack of focus

However, you may not know whether or not your medication is working if you also use drugs or alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that many medications can interact with alcohol, leading to increased risk of illness, injury or death. For example, the NIAAA estimates that alcohol-medication interactions may be a factor in at least 25 percent of all emergency room admissions.

Destructive Interactions of Medication and Substance Abuse

Using drugs and alcohol with other medications can be dangerous. Along with the medication side effects, substances may speed up the process. For example, if you are a bipolar alcoholic on lithium, you are speeding up liver damage. Both alcohol and lithium are metabolized in the liver and the presence of both can overwhelm your liver, causing severe damage.

We know that:

  1. Alcohol and drugs reduce the effectiveness of your medication.
  2. You may incur additional damage on top of the original symptoms for which you received medication.
  3. The destructive interaction keeps you in the cycle of addiction because drugs and alcohol offer temporary psychological relief while creating more damage.

To know exactly what your underlying issues are, you must fully detox at an inpatient detox center, then enter drug rehab to eliminate addiction.

End the Destructive Interaction in Drug Rehab

The safest way to eliminate your addiction is in a drug rehab. You can be properly detoxed off those substances that are negatively affecting your regular medications.
Lakeview Health is a hospital equipped to manage your medical and mental health needs while you detox from drugs and alcohol. Our dual diagnosis center’s staff is specially trained to help you with all your mental health issues. Our doctors and nurses are equipped to properly medicate and monitor your progress making your discomfort as minimal as possible.


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