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Anxiety Medication Epidemic

We all just saw the massive wave of the anti-opioid campaign where awareness was raised about its side effects and the lack of discipline that it had been prescribed with. Fortunately this wave will allow us to move forward and learn new ways to manage pain in ways that will hopefully have little negative side-effects.

There is no doubt that every single one of us will experience pain in our lives and many will experience chronic pain, but mental health also affects a perplexing amount of people, in all likelihood, more than you may think. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reported in 2016 that about 45 million Americans have a mental illness. This equals about 18% of the U.S. Population. A significant portion of these people are ailed with anxiety and are thus prescribed with a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.

A study in the JAMA Psychiatry journal reported that these benzodiazepines are prescribed to about 5% of the total U.S. population between the age of 18 and 80 years old. Another study reported that dependence can become prevalent in patients taking this medication, leading to addiction.

Side effects are always a concern with any medication, but there are a few that should not be overlooked. Increased risk of attempting suicide (search"Tyler J Dodds benzodiazepines" online) is a real concern. Yes, suicide is a possible side effect of taking benzodiazepines. This raises serious concern whether parents should allow their child take a medication with such possible outcomes. There has been a rise in suicide by 24% over the last 15 years, anything that could be done to reduce this rate, even a little, would be virtuous.

Anxiety is a very real health concern and is something that must be addressed, but not in a way with an added risk of suicide. There are too many drug-free options such a neurofeedback treatment that can be very successful in reducing anxiety. These methods should be attempted first before taking majors risks. With the current social climate of the country and ever rising violence and tension, anxiety is an issue that needs to be addressed thoroughly and properly. And remember, something as simple as talking to someone in need can be very effective if your intentions are pure.


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