Prevention week is to raise awareness across the world about the harms associated with dependence on prescription medication. Substance abuse is prevalent in local communities and this week advocates a campaign dedicated to preventing death or mental illness that result from it. According to AIHW, 90 per cent of Australians could not identify the warning signs of opioid painkiller dependence and 50 per cent of Australians did not know that codeine or paracetamol can be addictive. What is lacking in both these cases? Education and awareness around the issue.
Anyone can become addicted to medication. It can be difficult people prescribed medication to stop or cut down their use of even if they don’t have a need for them anymore and it can be found just as difficult to cease use for those using it for non-medical purposes. Losing control is possible for both non-medical and medical use, and a tough problem to tackle in any case.
It is important to note that although dependence or addiction can be a reality for anyone, there are a few factors that may increase your likelihood. This includes a family history of drug problems or addiction, suffering from an illness or injury that results in chromic pain whether it is short-term or long-term, as well as undiagnosed or undertreated mental health problems.
Signs and symptoms include:
· Dependence to get through social situations
· Participating in dangerous behaviour as a result
· Relationships problems (romantic and non-romantic)
· Increase in tolerance (Need more of the substance to feel the same effects)
· Neglecting roles and responsibilities (work, family, other commitments)
· Physical health problems (anxiety, depression, paranoia)
What should I do I show some/all these signs and symptoms?
The first thing to do is recognise and accept that you have a problem. Seeking help can be difficult, however recovery is only going to be harder if you do it alone. Seek professional help if you need accelerated advice or talk to your family and friends if you need emotional love and support. There are hundreds of help lines, programs and centres that you can visit to get professional help in dealing with your substance abuse. Don’t be disheartened if you have set backs along the way, this is normal and all part of the recovery process. Be kind to yourself and stay motivated, you are never alone on the journey.
Be proactive and join in the fight against prescription dependence as a killer. Click here to get involved!
07 May 2018