Being overmedicated is when an individual is using unnecessary or excessive medications. This condition has become a major problem in the United States, especially when it comes to seniors. Common issues from overmedication are bad drug interactions, overdose, chemical dependence, addiction, a long list of physical and psychological problems, and death.
Overmedication can occur because a pharmacist is unaware of other medications a patient is using, because of human error, undiagnosed medical conditions, and even from intentional, excessive use.
Signs That You Are Overmedicated
It is extremely difficult to diagnose yourself as overmedicated because the symptoms can imitate those of many other conditions. In addition, the symptoms of being overmedicated are many because an endless number of drugs are being used, as well as multiple combinations of drug interactions. Because of this, individuals that suspect they are overmedicated should seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist. The most common signs of overmedication include the following issues:
- Fatigue, loss of energy
- Abdominal pain
- Bodily aches and pain
- Problems with motor and coordination skills
- Reoccurring falls, accidents, and other injuries
- Frequent, skin flushing and rashes
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Dramatic changes in mood
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Difficulty concentrating and memory impairment
- Mental cloudiness or confusion
- Delayed thought process
- Impaired rational thought, difficulty with reasoning
- Hallucinations (visual and auditory), delusions, and psychosis
- Symptoms of withdrawal appear when the drug is not be used
If you have any of these issues, overmedication may be the cause.
How You Can Prevent the Dangers of Being Overmedicated
Being overmedicated is incredibly dangerous. A bad drug interaction can turn fatal in an instant and many other possible dangers may arise, such as drug dependence and addiction. To prevent the many problems associated with being overmedicated, follow these precautions:
- Talk with your doctor and pharmacist before taking any new drug.
- If you are seeing more than one doctor, keep each informed of all medication you are taking whether they be over-the-counter, herbal supplements, prescription, or even illegal narcotics.
- Make a list of all your medications and dosage amounts to stay organized. Take this list with you when you go to the doctor’s or pharmacy.
- Ask your doctor for a comprehensive medication review to determine if you are in danger of becoming overmedicated and if any current medical condition makes you prone to overmedication or dangerous drug interaction.
- Know about your healthcare to avoid a medication error, and make certain you know how to take your medications properly. Prevent a dangerous drug interaction or major health problem by knowing how to use your medications.
If you take these steps you can help prevent overmedication.