Sleeping pill prescriptions all-time high

  • 27 Jan 2011
  • Reading time 2 mins
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HSE figures show a big increase in sleeping pill prescriptions, just behind cholesterol lowering and diabetes drugs. But there are safer and better natural alternatives.

596,000 prescriptions were written for the insomnia drug, Zopiclone in 2009, which now ranks 21 in the top 100 drugs. Diazapam — better known as Valium, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, also rose in 2009 despite the fact the drug is highly addictive. It falls just below Zopiclone in the top 100 list. Xanax, also used to treat anxiety and panic disorder, has also considerably increased in recent years, with 283,000 prescriptions written in 2005 compared with 399,798 last year.

'Earlier this year, the inspector of Mental Health Services found in some hospitals, up to 80% of long-term patients were being prescribed sedatives. Paroxetine, a class of anti-depressants known as SSRIs, and marketed as Paxil or Seroxat, continues to be prescribed here despite serious concerns about bad reactions including violent behaviour and suicide. HSE data from 2008 shows Seroxat was prescribed for under-16s, despite only being licensed for those over 18.' reports the Irish Examiner. All of these increases are happening despite the well-known dangerous side-effects and withdrawal effects. This makes it very hard for people to get off these drugs, which is good for business but bad for health.

Are we creating a nation of prescription drug addicts? These figures either illustrate bad medical practice, or an increasing incidence of anxiety, insomnia and depression, and probably both, with doctors not knowing what to do. The truth is there are highly effective alternatives to anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and sleeping pills involving diet, nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes. My new book The Feel Good Factor gives ten proven ways to improve how you feel, and how you sleep, fully referenced, evidenced, tried and tested. At the Brain Bio Centre, our outpatient treatment clinic in Richmond, West of London, we have many patients who have successfully resolved their mental health problems, and stopped requiring medication. Our team of psychiatrists and nutritional therapists are well experienced in working with the patients' GP and helping managing drug withdrawal.

We are meant to be making budget cuts so why is the NHS spending more on drugs and continuing to ignore the value of nutritional medicine? That's depressing! If you don't want more drugs and do want solutions that really work I'm touring South Africa in February, the UK and Ireland in March and Canada in April giving 'Feel Good Factor' seminars. Details can be found on the Events page.