Is your doctor turning you into an addict?

2nd October 2013

FOUR out of five doctors routinely prescribe drugs to patients even though they believe they are addicted to them. That is the alarming finding of a survey by the Family Doctors Association. Official statistics estimate that about 1.5 million NHS patients may be hooked on sleeping pills, anti-depressants and painkillers. Some of them may have been kept on the drugs by their doctor for years.

In the Daily Mail there is a remarkable story of a woman who was prescribed tranquillisers by her doctor 20 years ago after the death of her five-month-old daughter. She blames the subsequent addiction for the breakdown of her marriage.

The Mail asks the vital question: Is your doctor turning you into a drug addict? Read the article in full >>

The Mail says that a report from the Health Research Board last year found that the numbers being treated for ‘problem use’ of benzodiazepines between 2003 and 2008 rose by 63 per cent. Benzodiazepines — addictive Valium-type tranquillisers — are believed to be the main cause of addiction problems on the NHS.

In 1988, the NHS was warned that benzodiazepines should not be prescribed by a doctor for more than a few weeks.

However, the latest official figures show that more than one-third of such prescriptions are for more than eight weeks. Many patients take them for years.

Put simply, taken long-term, the pills knock out the brain’s ability to make its own ‘feel-good’ chemicals. When an addicted patient stops taking them, they can crash into depression and suffer sweats and panic attacks.

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