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Are We All Drug Dependent? Does It Matter?

Posted in General Health 21 Jul, 2015

I've thought about this topic a lot. I'm one of those people that will resist a paracetamol if I can. That's the problem with being a doom-monger. I'm always thinking about the end of civilisation, and what we would do if there were no more paracetamols (or electricity, petrol, contraceptives). I need to be prepared. So I am right to worry? Are we drug dependent, and does it even matter if we are?

Prescription Drugs

There's been a big push recently to reduce the amount of antibiotics we consume because the bacteria are becoming immune. I found this particularly distressing when I had a sinus infection so bad I vomited, and the doctor told me to 'steam my head'. Not helpful. Sometimes you need those meds.

Britain comes 4th in Europe with regards to the prescription of antidepressants. Researchers believe that 1 out of 11 adults take them and a staggering 57.1 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written by GPs last year. That's more than double the 2004 amount.

Mental health charity MIND responds to the research with a suggestion that Britain's mental health services are lacking. There are not enough counsellors or behavioural specialists to go round. Some people wait a year before accessing a counselling service and it could be that antidepressants are filling the gap.

Over The Counter Medicine

As a nation, it's not just prescription medicines we consume like a ravenous tapeworm. It's drugs such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, thrush cream and athletes' foot powder, and stimulants like caffeine, sugar, smoking and The X Factor.

Our 'addictions' are numerous and varied. Perhaps a more realistic overall look at our bodies is needed? If we lost weight, slept properly, exercised more and talked about our problems, maybe our need for drugs and stimulants would ease off.

The NHS

It's no secret that our amazing NHS is creaking at the seams. The amount of drugs we take may be simply down to our overloaded doctors. They know the counselling list is long, they know your infection may get worse over the next few days then you'll be back again using up two appointments in one week, and there's another twenty people to see in the next hour. Is that why they give us pills?

The 'sue culture' may also be to blame. If a doctor didn't give a patient medication and they became worse, they could be sued, struck off and prosecuted. We can't really blame them for covering their backs can we? You'd do the same.

Despite the news that we may be overmedicated, you mustn't just stop taking your prescriptions, because many people need drugs to beat pain, misery and death. Make that doctor's appointment if you want to find out about alternatives to 'pill popping'. Treatments such as aromatherapy and Pilates are gaining popularity - they are worth looking into.

Remember that symptoms such as regular headaches can indicate a more serious problem. If you can't get going in the morning without painkillers, or you find yourself taking any medication regularly, then seek some advice.

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