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drug abuse

Drug abuse on the rise

Abuse of painkillers and tranquilizers

These drugs are very helpful for certain health problems, but regular use can cause more problems than they solve in the long run. Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or diclofenac to treat arthritis or muscle pain, may increase the risk of stomach ulcers, bleeding from the stomach, high blood pressure, and heart attack.

Even who for less than two weeks taking NSAIDs regularly has a 3,6 percent chance of developing a stomach ulcer and a 3 percent chance of having a duodenal ulcer. If you use these medicines for longer than four weeks, the risk of an ulcer increases to 6,8 and 4 percent respectively. The risk increases with age and is higher in women than in men.

Those who use NSAIDs are also twice as likely to develop kidney failure. Research also shows that the risk of a heart attack or stroke increases by 51 percent in people taking high doses of ibuprofen (800 mg three times a day) and by 63 percent in people taking high doses of diclofenac (75 mg twice a day).

Because certain active substances are contained in different medicines, you often get more of them than you think if you regularly take over-the-counter medicines. For example, if you first take a pill for the headache and a little later a medicine for colds with similar ingredients and later your usual medicine for joint pain. If you reach for medicine for every aches and pains, it quickly becomes a habit. About one in five people who regularly use painkillers for headaches develop so-called rebound headaches when the drug wears off. Then one is tempted to grab another tablet.

Also sedatives, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, can cause serious problems and lead to addiction. You can even become addicted if you only take sleeping pills for two weeks. As soon as you stop taking the medicines, you will get so-called rebound insomnia: you cannot sleep again and therefore need a new prescription again.

Suppose your GP sleeping pills has prescribed. In addition, you take an antihistamine for hay fever and a painkiller with codeine for back pain. All three are sedatives and therefore expose yourself to the risk of side effects such as dizziness, balance disorders, confusion and disorientation. These can have serious consequences, such as a fall or an accident.

An analysis of 24 studies conducted over 37 years of nearly 250 people over the age of 60 found that the benefits of sleeping pills simply do not outweigh the risk of side effects from taking them.


You can still make it up

There are new treatment methods to combat muscle, joint and headaches with fewer tablets and fewer side effects. You can break your addiction to sedatives and painkillers if you really want to and if you get enough support. Once you stop taking the pills, your body will quickly recover from its effects.


Extra benefits

You reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding. You will be much more alert, have less risk of a fall or other accident and no longer be addicted to pills that already have less and less effect over time.


Plan of action

  • Be mindful gastrointestinal problems If you regularly take NSAIDs or other painkillers, tell your doctor straight away if you experience any unusual symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloody or black, tarry stools (as this may indicate a stomach or intestinal bleeding).
  • Talk to your doctor about the side effects of NSAIDs If you need to take such medicines on a long-term basis, ask if there are alternatives, especially if you are over 75, have obesity or high blood pressure or have ever had stomach or duodenal ulcers.
  • Protect your stomach as a u need to take ibuprofen regularly Ask your doctor about a proton pump inhibitor, a medicine that inhibits the production of irritating stomach acid; this reduces the risk of an ulcer or stomach bleeding.
  • Find alternative plnefighting solutions In the case of arthritis, weight loss, moderate-intensity exercise, acupressure, and eating more omega-3 fatty acids can help ease the pain. You can also apply topical NSAIDs in the form of gel and cream directly to the painful area. They often work just as well as tablets, but have fewer side effects, according to a 2008 study of nearly 600 patients over 50 with chronic knee pain. In the case of back pain, exercise and stress limitation in particular provide relief. With a headache, you can try to avoid the triggers. These are often certain foods, alcohol and certain conditions (stress, insomnia, not eating on time).
  • Provide good 'sleep hygiene' instead of sleeping pills Don't drink caffeine late at night and avoid too much activity or excitement (no bedtime horror movies). Eat a light snack with the sleep-promoting amino acid tryptophan about an hour before bedtime, such as a banana or a piece of chicken or turkey. Or drink a cup of soothing chamomile tea or warm milk with honey. Also make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.

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