Dangerous Interaction: Medication and Substance Abuse

By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: May 13, 2020

You may take medications for both physical and psychological ailments. But are you familiar with the dangerous 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. Beginning a residential addiction treatment program for prescription medication abuse can help you to learn how to take your necessary medications and avoid mixing harmful substances.

Necessary Prescriptions Vs. Drug Abuse

It’s quite common for people to struggle with some type of mental health disorder. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder are common mental health disorders that exhibit symptoms that may require medication to manage. What isn’t discussed in the midst of describing these symptoms is whether or not your addiction is producing these symptoms. Those who struggle with an undiagnosed mental health disorder often look to illicit substances to manage their symptoms, which tends to lead to addiction.

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.

Dangerous 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 address your addiction. 

Begin Addiction Treatment at Lakeview Health Today 

The safest way to address 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.

We understand the difference between necessary medication and substance abuse, and we work with our clients to teach proper medication management. We also teach clients healthy coping mechanisms to help them manage their mental health properly. From detox to aftercare, the team at Lakeview Health is with you every step of the way on your recovery journey. 

To begin with dual diagnosis treatment, contact Lakeview Health today at 866 704 7692. Our admissions team will help you begin your recovery process. They can also explain our current guidelines and protocols to keep everyone safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

We currently accept Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare. We do not currently accept Medicare, Medicaid, or Florida Blue.