Drug Misuse Vs. Drug Abuse


The misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is a big problem in today’s society. While the difference between the two is slight, the thin line between drug misuse and drug abuse can make a big difference in the degree of danger you are facing if you engage in either.


Drug misuse is when you use a prescription drug for a purpose other than the one for which it was prescribed. A great example of this is using psychostimulants prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for weight loss. Psychostimulants help individuals who have attention deficits focus more easily by stimulating certain chemicals in the brain responsible for concentration. Because of the intense focusing on tasks at hand, this drug is prone to misuse because individuals find that the stimulant keeps them focused on tasks they are doing while keeping hunger signals at bay.


Drug abuse is when you become addicted to the effects of a prescription that has been misused. For example, psychostimulant misusers are prone to become abusers when they get addicted to the stimulant's effects and therefore need to take higher doses more often to achieve the same effects. Drug abuse happens when an addiction to the misused drug is formed. Drug abuse carries a much bigger chance of endangering the health of the abuser


Drug misuse can easily turn into drug abuse if you are not conscious of the addictive effects of the drug you are misusing. Some people can control their misuse and solely use it for the benefit they started misusing it for, like weight loss, but others simply lose control and crave the “high” that the misused drug provides. Initial misusers of psychostimulants easily turn into abusers when they can no longer carry out tasks with the same energy and zeal as they were when they initially started misusing the drug.


Drug abuse is a serious problem that may result in long-term effects for the addicted individual. Most commonly, these effects include organ damage resulting from the psychological or physical dependence on the medication being abused. In extreme cases, you can die from an overdose of the abused substance. It is relatively easy to go from occasional misuse of a drug to abuse of it.

Expert Insight

Use medication only as prescribed for you for the medical condition for which the drug was designed. Off-label medication use carries many risks. The dosage and medical uses for certain medications are studied in depth to avoid damage to individuals who are taking it, and even then they can have unpleasant and harmful side effects. Medication is not a joke, and is made to help, not damage and disrupt, your life.

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