Prescription drugs

Until quite recently tranquillisers, sleeping pills and other similar medications were promoted by some pharmaceutical companies as offering an instant solution to many of life's problems. Doctors were encouraged to dole out numerous prescriptions for these so called miracle workers which could blunt the sharp edge of reality and make everyday life so much easier to cope with.

Undoubtedly for some people, these drugs have a beneficial effect when used with care for a specified period of time - but for many others the side effects and potential for addiction can leave a lasting legacy of physical and emotional damage.

Am I addicted to prescription drugs?
To be free from the oppression of anxiety, fear, worry and insomnia is an attractive prospect. It's easy to see how people can become emotionally and physically dependent on the medication that makes such false promises, only to discover a little further down the road that it can cause more problems than it claims to solve.

If your reliance on prescription drugs is making you uneasy but you're not sure whether you're addicted, you may find it helpful to look at this list of typically dependent behaviour:

  • Trying to see different doctors each time you renew your prescription
  • Collecting your prescription from different chemists so the pharmacist doesn't question the frequency of your visits
  • Feeling you can't cope with social events or any other stressful situations without your medication
  • Needing an increasing quantity of medication to fall asleep and stay asleep
  • Sudden feelings of paranoia
  • Shakiness, sweats and a sense of detachment from reality
  • Panicking if your stock of medication runs low
  • Buying similar over-the-counter medication so you have a back up supply
  • Using alcohol with medication to top up the effect
  • Finding that your memory is becoming unreliable.

Yes, I think I am addicted but what do I do now?
It's always wise to talk to a medical professional you trust as a first step. Sudden, unsupervised withdrawal from some medications - especially tranquillising benzodiazepines - can be highly dangerous.

What help is available?
There is a lot of advice, support and practical help available to anyone who wants to overcome their dependence on prescription drugs. Understandably, this can be a terrifying prospect, but many people now live full, healthy and successful lives free from the shackles of their previous addiction. The recovery success rate is extremely high.

For further information call 0800 081 0700