For those suffering from insomnia, the lure of a ‘quick-fix’ sleeping pill can be irresistible. While prescribed medication such as Valium can be highly effective, their addictive qualities are becoming more and more apparent.
A recent statement from health professionals (including the Royal College of General Practitioners, RCGP) warned doctors to limit prescriptions of tranquilisers, and advised them to monitor use of the drugs with regular reviews.
Currently there are nearly 18 million prescriptions written every day for the group of tranquilisers known as ‘Z-drugs’. The statement advises doctors to ensure patients are fully informed of the potential risks when using this medication and that they should only be prescribed in extreme cases.
Professor Clare Gerada, chairman of the RCGP, said: “Medicines such as tranquillisers do work for many patients but they need to fully understand the risks.”
When doctors do need to prescribe these types of drugs, the duration of the treatment should be agreed to avoid prolonged usage. The medication is usually prescribed for short-term relief, however some patients remain using them for years.
Adding more fuel to the fire, a study conducted last year by the British Medical Journal linked tranquilisers to an increased risk of developing dementia. The warning seems loud and clear – if you are struggling to sleep, try natural or alternative methods before hitting the pill bottle.
If you are looking for an alternative therapy to help with insomnia, you may want to try hypnotherapy. To find out more, please see our Insomnia page.
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