When it comes to minor aches and pains, the way in which we handle it says a lot about our medication usage and perception of it. Today’s society is fixated on quick remedies – we strive for instant gratification, just as we experience it with technology. Reaching for medication rather than naturally waiting out the pain for a brief period could mean that we are becoming too dependent on medications, however. Medical News Today states that a 2010 study from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that between 1999 and 2009, the number of prescriptions dispensed in the United States increased by 39%, from 2.8 billion to 3.9 billion.
The Huffington Post has noted that it’s more than just prescriptions – self-medication has become a grave concern within the United States as people are mixing medications, taking additional over-the-counter medications, and consuming multiple medications to treat one ailment. The opioid epidemic is a clear example of this; Americans are taking whatever they feel will get rid of the pain, but they are taking more than needed and multiple types of medications that may not necessarily work very well together and could even be dangerous.
Dr. Jerry Avorn, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the division of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told the Today Show in 2013, “We seem to be a country that turns to drugs for solutions more than any other industrialized, wealthy countries do.” Avorn went on to explain that drug advertisements do play a factor and cause people to believe they need that medication, whether they really do or not. He explained by stating, “[Advertisements] created this sense on the part of the patient that, ‘Oh, I saw that ad on television, I think I should be on that medicine.’”
Allen Francis, M.D. and professor emeritus at Duke University, explained for Psychology Today that according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), many people acquire medications for free from their friends or relatives, which make it that much easier to abuse. Children are also at risk for this, as they can easily obtain their parents’ medications right there from their cabinet. It seems this dependency is based on many factors: instant gratification, easy accessibility, tricky advertising and lack of active-consumerism, to say the least.
If you have become addicted to pain medications, call us today at 888-316-3665. New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned mental health and addiction recovery treatment centers. We believe in working with the individual to create a treatment plan that will optimize their holistic well-being, meaning the restoration of their mind, body, and spirit. Call us for a consultation today.