“More and more as a nation we have become more reliant on tablets and medicines than ever before.”
Early in our lives most of us will have already experienced some sort of prescribed medication. And as we become older it becomes a normal thing. Some individual’s are against medication and strive not use any. But in a society of a fast food, internet culture, we often look for an instant a solution. Often not considering the road ahead, after all why wouldn’t we trust our GPs advice. That’s not me criticising the NHS because it isn’t the GPs fault. We are all responsible for what we put in our bodies. And as citizens of the UK we have created a huge demand for medicines. Of course there are many meds which are vital to us, but there are many medications prescribed without exploring other alternatives.
“Is a ten minute consultation with a doctor enough?, should other options be considered before we commit to these medications.”
Personally I discovered that being on a prescribed med long term comes with a sentence. Dependency wasn’t something I had planned. After being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder in 2009 my GP prescribed me diazepam initially for the short term. Even though this medication does not cure PTSD they do alleviate the symptoms of anxiety pretty well. The thing with diazepam they do have a fast effect, and I would often find myself reaching for a tablet when things became overwhelming. I noticed also that because I don’t drink alcohol I developed a high tolerance. I was able to convince my GP to extend my prescription of diazepam with very little resistance. Only conditions were to have a review every four weeks at the surgery, as these meds are not available on repeat prescription. I was able to keep this up for a further seven years with knowing very little about them. Actually when I did finally research them I found professional’s only know that they effect the central nervous system (CNS), but don’t know how or why this is. As well as the financial cost there is also the implications to individuals who become dependant on such medications. More often than not having to struggle to get free from the grip of addiction. We know that pharmaceutical companies make record breaking profits from year to year, and we see our GP surgeries becoming busier, making access to them more difficult for all of us.
“So the question is do pharmaceutical companies do enough?”
We know that with all meds there is a huge leaflet informing us of possible side effects, and all the does and don’ts concerned with them. But are they really addressing the culture of dependence?, and is that even their responsibility? Do they actually care? I recently did an awareness of mental health problems course and learned about the community care act 1990 and how this led to treating individuals within their communities. Was this where it all started? I don’t know the answers to this. What I have heard about is a new concept to me called social prescribing, and I must say from what I have seen that there is a potential for this to give people a better quality of life. I haven’t yet learned fully or understand how social prescribing may look in the future, but I wish this was an option I could have taken when I was diagnosed earlier in life. So I’m really encouraged to go away from this blog with a refreshed attitude and do some research around social prescribing, hopefully I will find many positive examples which I will share..
This is only my view based on my own experiences, and I have only wrote about one instance of a medication prescribed to me. When I have learned more I will be willing to write about my mental health problems and how anti-depressants have been a huge part of my life for many years.
Lee Dale (ExpertCitizens)