Sleep medication makes for an annual $2 billion market with the worldwide prescriptions forecasted to be around $6 billion by the end of 2017. The recent research findings have corroborated the fact that the anti-anxiety medications are slowly poisoning its regular users. The research report issued by the British Medical Journal is based on the prescription records of around 34,750 patients under primary care physicians, who were prescribed benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax. A control set of about 69,420 people was used to assess the prescription drug related deaths in an average eight year follow up.
The study clearly showcases the fact that the degree of dependence on anti-anxiety drugs is directly responsible for causing complications like birth defects in children, heart problems and severe addiction often resulting in death. A difference of 4 per 100 deaths has been clearly established in the drug usage groups validating the fact that increased usage of prescription drugs ends up killing the user. The factors like sex, age, psychiatric disorders, socio-economic status, smoking and drinking habits were controlled and even taken into account to arrive at the same conclusion.
Contradictory Effects of Sleep Medication
The psychological dependency on anti-anxiety medication, although largely ignored by the medical fraternity has come to the forefront with symptoms manifested in these cases equating to severe drug addiction. The withdrawal symptoms are even worse as these hazardous drugs tend to cover up the basic illnesses when taken regularly only to reveal the tragic effects when people stop taking them. Some anti-anxiety medications have been found to be carcinogenic if used on a regular basis. Other unhealthy consequences of prolonged usage are an increase in suicidal tendencies, seizures and heart problems.
The sedating effects of sleep and anti-anxiety medication often induce paradoxical excitement in individuals after prolonged usage. A severe manifestation of the side effects in the form of mania, hostility, hallucinations and aggressive behaviour can be observed in children and elderly people dealing with anxiety issues.
Alternative Solutions for Sleep and Anxiety Issues
The dependency on anti-anxiety medications is more or less similar to cases of drug addiction as the psychological dependency is the eventual result of prolonged usage in both the cases. People under the influence of psychotropic drugs are prone to accidents as these drugs impair their ability to think and act clearly. Addiction to anti-anxiety drugs may result in a person alienating himself from the people around especially the near ones often causing a breakdown in the relationships on the whole. These drugs only mask the symptoms of the underlying illness and end up creating a more challenging mental health situation.
A recent study in the British Medical Journal points at alternative long term treatment for individuals suffering from sleeping disorders and issues. Psychotherapeutic procedures based on cognitive therapy are effective measures of getting to the core of the issue to heal the mental health issues ranging from depression to insomnia. A holistic approach that combines therapy with physical exercises and healthy living habits should be adopted instead of a drug induced treatment.