The government has set up a task force to investigate the rise in apparent addiction to prescription drugs fuelled, they say, by a disproportionate two-thirds of those being ‘middle aged women’. Are addictions everywhere?
The figures are worrying and perhaps symptomatic of a culture that wants to be instantly fixed:
- 1 in 11 adults are prescribed potentially addictive drugs;
- A 50% rise in 15 years;
- A 60% increase in the time the drug remains prescribed.
And at what cost to the NHS? The sadness in these figures is that there must be a significant increase in a general feeling of worthlessness and that life is difficult for this part of the population.
Middle aged women fuelling rise in addictions to painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants
Ministers have ordered a landmark review of prescription drug addiction, amid concern over the rising number of women becoming hooked on painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants.
Addictions: pain and medication
Hurt and pain is what links any form of addiction. The headlines will too often paint a picture that focuses on a derelict, the homeless, the drunk: in other words the by-product of the self-treatment of pain, hurt or abuse.
Addictions will arise in most cases as a way, without realisation, of soothing mental pain. The attraction can lie initially in distraction firstly the thrill of the new substance and then the addictive rush of chemicals that numb and separates pain from reality.
Addictions: underlying causes and treatment
As a counsellor I talk about pain in the context of addictions I will usually be thinking about early life suffering. When we think of abuse we may usually think about sexual abuse but abuse for a child can be from a number of sources and on a scale from less to more traumatic:
The earlier the abuse, potentially, the more insidious and traumatic: buried to surface years later as flashbacks and extreme discomfort and mental disturbance for no known cause. What better way to escape than in a haze of heroin or a sea of alcohol or the oblivion of pills.
As a counsellor my work with addictions is to focus on that underlying pain, senses of worthlessness and hopelessness, absence of value and to help each addict to see their own intrinsic worth despite what they may have come to believe.