Dependency on Prescription Medications


“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ” ~ Viktor Frankl – from Man’s Search for Meaning

Often people who would never think of “doing drugs” become addicted to or dependent upon their prescription medications. Some painkillers, anxiety medications and sleeping pills carry the risk of dependency.

Anxiety drugs and sleeping pills should generally only be used on a short term basis. While they may provide relief, they do not address the underlying problem. By the time an individual is talking to his or her physician about anxiety or sleeping problem, it is likely they have tried some things to help themselves, without success.

Anxiety or sleeping problems indicate there are underlying issues affecting the person. Often the basis for these issues may lie somewhere at an unconscious level, so it can be difficult to get to the bottom of things on one’s own.

Psychological counseling has proven effective in assisting individuals to change the patterns that are contributing to their difficulties. Without doing this, the symptoms remain along with the use of the medication. Sometimes people find their bodies get used to the initial dosage, and they need to increase the amount taken in order to get the same results as before. This is a slippery slope. Because the body has come to rely on the drug, attempts to go off the drug may result in symptoms that are even more intense than they were in the beginning.

If you feel you are dependent on your medications, talk to your psychologist or make an appointment with one. It is not a wise idea to stop taking these medications “cold turkey.” Set up a program to assess the possible causes of the problem and to learn to alleviate symptoms in non-medicinal ways. As the therapy begins to show results, you can gradually reduce the amount of medication you are taking and ultimately aim to come off of it completely.

Naturally it is important to talk with your doctor about your concerns, and advise him or her that you have, or will be seeking therapy. Then, when you are ready to reduce your medications, this should always be done under your doctor’s supervision.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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