A recent study into the problem of prescription medication has revealed that half of British women and 43% of men are taking a medicine that their doctor prescribed for them. Of these drugs, the most prescribed pills are those to help lower cholesterol followed by medication that lowers blood pressure.
The study also revealed that these prescribed medications are costing the NHS upwards of £15 billion every year; in England, this equated to approximately 18.7 prescriptions per person in 2013. As expected, the amount of prescription drugs a person takes will increase the older they get. Of those aged 65 and above, half are taking at least three different prescribed medicines. Moreover, the number of prescribed drugs taken by a third of 75 year olds and older doubles to six.
While one of the authors of the report, Dr Jennifer Mindell, has said that the figures represent the fact that people are now living longer, it is still worrying to think that so many of us are reliant on prescribed medication.
The report found that 12% of women were taking prescribed painkillers while 11% were taking antidepressants, which can be highly addictive for some people. There are many types of prescribed medication that can be addictive, including codeine for pain, and medications for anxiety and stress such as temazepam and diazepam.
When do Prescribed Medications Become an Addiction?
When an individual who has been prescribed certain medications starts to feel both mentally and physically dependent on the drugs, it begins to be a problem. If you are worried that you have a problem, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel as though you need the medication to make you feel ‘like yourself’?
- Do you think that you will not be able to get through the day unless you take the drugs?
- Do you constantly think about the drug and how it makes you feel?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you may have an addiction.
Other Signs of a Prescribed Medication Addiction
People who have tried to stop taking their prescribed medications but who have then resumed them for fear of being unable to cope, may, without realising it, have an addiction. If this is coupled with needing repeat prescriptions earlier than expected or needing to take more pills in order to feel better, then it is highly like that an addiction to prescribed medication exists.
Many individuals do not realise that it is possible to become addicted to medication that has been prescribed by a doctor. So even when the signs are obvious, they will deny that there is a problem. They will not want help because they think they do not need it. After all, their doctor would not have prescribed something that could be harmful to them ½
If you suspect that you or a loved one is addicted to prescribed medication, seeking help is important. If you or this individual continue to take the medicine, the problem will only get worse. There are many places from which to get help, including going back to the doctor that prescribed the medication in the first place. However, simply stopping the prescription may not be the answer if the person is already addicted. Addiction treatment is the best way to handle addictions to any substance, including prescribed medication. At Rehab Helper, we are trained to offer suitable advice for all types of addiction and can support those with the addiction as well as their loved ones, who may need some advice on how to deal with the issue.