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Misusing Drugs: Who needs medical advice anyway? Part 1
April 15, 2019
By Dr Temitope Olayinka
This is the first of two articles that looks at how misusing drugs and the absence of competent medical advice can lead to various severe (and sometimes fatal) complications.
Misusing drugs means using a drug for a purpose different from its intended purpose and against medical or legal advice1.
So this could be: using them for a purpose they were not intended or for a duration not recommended.
And it could mean using the drug in a dosage different from the one prescribed.
Furthermore, the misuse of drugs could result in various consequences.
Such consequences can be – 1. Drug dependence, 2. worsening of the disease condition they are meant to treat, 3. drug tolerance and 4. drug resistance.
In addition, because drugs are chemical agents that can interfere with the body functions, their misuse can be harmful to the body.
So for these reasons, using drugs without medical advice is not only wrong but inadvisable.
Let’s look more closely at some of these consequences.
Drug tolerance is simply what happens when a drug no longer works for you at the same dose.
This is because having used it so many times in the past, your body has become used to it (tolerant ), and can no longer respond to the drug at that same dose.
So people who have tolerance to a drug find they must continue taking more and more to achieve the same effect.
Finally – after a while, the drug no longer appears to ‘work’.
This is precisely what happens with addictive drugs such as Heroin, Cocaine, or opiate-like drugs like Tramadol.
On the other hand, drug resistance usually refers to what happens in the case of certain drugs like antibiotic medicines or drugs used to treat infections (like Malaria).
These drugs have successfully killed the germs causing illness in the past.
However, the germs they are supposed to kill become used to them and change their structure to overcome or withstand the effect of the drug – this is resistance.
Many times the reason the drug loses its ability to kill the germ happens because of drug overuse, over-frequent or repeated use in the same person.
In part 2 of this article, we look at some instances of drug misuse and when appropriate medical advice could have saved these individuals.
Helpful articles for more reading on this subject:
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practicing Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
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