Dangers of Prescription Drug Over-Use
Updated: Jan 30
While not the happiest of topics to start us off, this is a topic that I am passionate about, which has been broadcast today and represents a really important reminder for affected individuals…
Prescription medications used to treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain are required in some circumstances, and can be used safely and effectively, however it is essential to remember that they come with significant and potentially harmful health risks.
Opiate painkillers, anti-depressants and benzodiazepine sedatives are only meant to be used over a limited time period however increasingly more people are taking these medications over the longer term, which can cause significant health risks as well as issues with dependency. As noted in this article, prescription drug abuse is becoming a major concern across the country, with health chiefs recognising that prescription drug dependency is “worrying” and fearing that the UK may follow the US into opioid crisis.
The risks associated with prescription medications are very similar to those for illicit drugs, however they are often more insidious since they are prescribed by your GP and often to the most vulnerable individuals. Opiates are particularly addictive due to their psychoactive and morphine-like effects however all of these medications carry a high risk of becoming physically dependent on them.
If you are currently taking or considering these medications please make sure that you have a proper treatment protocol in place with your GP, including a scheduled drug tapering plan to ensure they are only taken for a limited time period. Also be aware that there are several alternative and complementary treatments available such as talking therapy, exercise, nutritional support and herbal medicines, which do not carry these high risks so I recommend that you seek out assistance from your natural healthcare practitioner.
Numerous research studies and clinical trials have demonstrated the very effective anti-depressant, sedative and anxiolytic properties of nutritional supplements including magnesium¹ and vitamin D², as well as medicinal herbs such as St John’s Wortᵌ, Saffronᵌ, Kavaᵌ and Passionflowerᵌ so these are really great options to bear in mind and discuss with your healthcare practitioner.
¹ Alramadhan E, Hanna MS, Hanna MS, Goldstein TA, Avila SM, Weeks BS. Dietary and botanical anxiolytics. Med Sci Monit. 2012 Apr;18(4):RA40-8. doi: 10.12659/msm.882608. PMID: 22460105; PMCID: PMC3560823.
² Stefanowski B1, Antosik-Wójcińska AZ1, Święcicki Ł1. The effect of vitamin D3 deficiency on the severity of depressive symptoms. Overview of current research. [Article in English, Polish]. Psychiatr Pol. 2017 Jun 18;51(3):437-454. doi: 10.12740/PP/66809. Epub 2017 Jun 18.
ᵌ Sarris, J. Herbal medicines in the treatment of psychiatric disorders: 10‐year updated review. Phytotherapy Research. 2018; 32: 1147– 1162. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6055