There was an article in the Telegraph recently about how a PR executive, Anna Sargent, died after she began trying to treat her alcohol problems with a remedy she had heard about online. It turns out that the cure made her condition much worse, and her symptoms became so bad that it is believed to have driven her to suicide. The official report of the inquest into her death has yet to be completed, but according to the article in the Telegraph, her suicide was prompted by her difficulty in dealing with the side effects of this medication.
Anna Sargent is believed to have heard about the drug Baclofen while looking for solutions to her alcohol problems online. This medication is used as a muscle relaxant and it is mostly utilised in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. There have been reports online that this drug may also help people break away from alcoholism – this idea gained momentum when a heart specialist in France claimed to have cured his own alcohol addiction using the drug.
Anna Sargent began taking large doses of the drug in the hope that it would help her break away from addiction, but she found the side effects were very severe. She began having panic attacks. She decided to come off Baclofen, but it was only then that she found out that the withdrawal symptoms would be fairly severe, and that they would last for about eight weeks. Anna checked herself into rehab, but the seriousness of her withdrawals meant that she had to be transferred to hospital. She committed suicide soon after this.
The internet is a wonderful innovation and it has made it possible for any of us to gain access to an unbelievable amount of information. There are millions of web articles dealing with the subject of addiction and many of these offer promises of a cure. Every few months there will also be a story about some new wonder drug that will cure alcoholism, and these stories will often go viral only to be forgotten again within a few weeks. These amazing remedies never seem to pan out, but the problem is that desperate people can be sucked into trying these solutions.
The story of Anna Sargent is a warning to all of us who go looking for solutions to our addiction problems online. The reality is that anyone can say what he or she wants on the web, and plenty of information out there is either wrong or, at the very least, misleading. Plenty of unscrupulous individuals are willing to try to make a profit out of people who are online looking for help. Baclofen is only available in the UK by prescription but Anna Sargent had no problem finding somebody willing to supply the drug to her online.
It is very doubtful there will ever be a pill that will cure addiction. This is because alcohol addiction is very complex. There are drugs that can make withdrawal symptoms a bit easier but stopping the substance abuse is usually the easiest bit – the real challenge is staying stopped. There will be reasons why people fall into addiction in the first place, and these reasons are likely to be still there when they stop. It is doubtful that taking a drug is going to make these driving forces behind the addiction magically disappear. It is therefore vital that people look for legitimate help when trying to escape addiction and avoid listening to the online quacks and scam artists.