According to the Annual Health Survey for England, 48% of adults in the UK have taken prescription medicines. With 24% of those taking three or more a week.
Unsurprisingly, the intake of medicine increased in relation to age, with 90% of those of aged 75 or older having taken at least one prescribed medicine in the last week.
Maureen Evans, 69, from Gravesend has been taking prescription medicines for well over 30 years now and said, “I’ve been taking Lorazepam and Diazepam for as long as I can remember.
“I started taking them to deal with anxiety, and the older I get the more I feel my body relies on them. I’m not sure I will ever be able to stop.”
Prescribed medicines are not cheap for the NHS either, with £9.2 million being spent in 2016 on prescriptions alone.
Katy Gullu, a healthcare assistant and nurse at Downs Way medical practice in Gravesend feels a lack of knowledge is to blame for prescription medicines being so common. She said, “I think the main problem is that people go to the doctor with their diagnosis already in mind just because it’s what the internet says is wrong with them.
“With some even manipulating their symptoms slightly to fast track getting the medication they feel they need, even if it is not the best treatment for them. People need to be as truthful as possible at the doctor’s and trust their judgement. They have so much knowledge in the medical field.”
NHS prescribed medicines are not the only problem in the UK currently. The anxiety relief drug Xanax has become increasingly popular in the UK and can be dangerous if used inappropriately. To find out more about Xanax check out Ria Carepenter’s piece ‘Explained: Everything you need to know about the XanaX craze’.
If you are struggling with any form of pill addiction, or have any other medical issue, you can always call the NHS non-emergency number on 111 or book an appointment with your local GP.