Prescribing Addiction to Cure Anxiety
by Brad Lamm, CIP
The use and abuse of prescription drugs is an ongoing issue in today’s society that continues to get worse.
According to CNN, Xanax was the most commonly prescribed drug in 2011, and that same year Xanax related ER trips more than doubled to 123,744 from 57,419 6 years earlier. With such an alarming jump in emergency room trips, why are our doctors prescribing them to patients at such high frequency?
The drug’s medical purpose is to help patients cope with anxiety. However, with people getting addicted, we’re creating a bigger problem. It’s like throwing someone into a hurricane because their coat is on fire.
According to Harris Stratyner, co chairman of the medical scientific subcommittee of the nonprofit group National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, patients are becoming addicted, but “Frequently, it’s not because they’ve been abusing the drugs; it can be caused by following the prescription their doctor gave them.” So that means that some patients are getting addicted simply from following the doctors’ directions. This is like following driving directions on a road map pointed out by a blind person.Why go through all the trouble of risking drug abuse? Instead of using a gallon of water to put out a small fire, use a little dirt and avoid getting wet.
According to Susan Foster, Vice President and Director of policy research and analysis at the substance use and addiction nonprofit CASA Columbia, “The culture in which we live sends messages that there is no reason to tolerate discomfort.” Nobody likes discomfort but nobody wants to soothe pain by bringing on greater pain.
For some cases of anxiety medication is necessary, but for many there are healthier ways to cope that don’t put your life at risk, such as simply eating right and exercising, or reading spiritual books and meditation. There are a plentiful of healthy alternatives. Learning how to cope with our anxieties in a healthy way will empower us to overcome them independently and not be reliant on a substance. Sometimes natural remedies are more powerful and effective than artificial drugs.