Spain, a leader in the use of benzodiazepines for anxiety and insomnia


“Medicalization of life” is the main cause of overdosage, now, “if it is not with a pill, the patient feels that he is not cured”

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Spain won 1st place in the whole world In the use of drugs to treat anxiety and insomnia. A title with which he dethroned the United States, which had been in the lead for years. The Consumers and Users’ Organization (OCU) has condemned the alarming statistics on the use of benzodiazepines.Which places Spain number one in the world in the use of these psychoactive drugs, an effective therapeutic tool that is not free from the side effects and risks of causing dependence.

The consumption of anxiolytics, hypnotic and sedatives has increased in recent days either due to poor public health, a lack of mental health specialists or a pandemic. Benzodiazepines are drugs used to treat anxiety disorders or insomnia., among others. The patient profile is clear, “predominantly those over the age of 65 and now women”, explained Miguel VazquezRepresentative of the Neuropsychiatric Pharmacy Group of the Spanish Society of Hospital Pharmacies (SEFH).

Spanish Medicine Agency (AEMPS) has confirmed that the use of these drugs has decreased The daily dose rose from 86.93 in 2019 to 93.04 per day in 2021, one per thousand residents. Spain has given the reason for taking the first place in taking this drug “The Medicalization of Life”, explained the expert. Now we try to solve everything with one bullet. “The patient comes to the doctor and asks for a medicinal treatment that he may not need, but he feels that without medicine he will not get better”SEFH’s representative of neuropsychiatric pharmacy has told.

A person who comes to counseling with mild anxiety says “it would be more effective if he sees a psychologist”, like someone who suffers from insomnia, “you talk to him about it” Sleep hygiene and its effectiveness are not trusted When tested by many experts. They like the pill,” Vzquez insisted.

What is ‘Sleep Hygiene’?

It is practice that involves following certain recommendations to achieve more effective sleep and avoid any kind of change.

  • Get up at the same time every day to educate sleep.
  • Avoid taking exciting foods like coffee, sugary drinks etc. after noon.
  • Do not spend more than eight hours in bed.
  • It is advisable not to stay in bed for more than 8 hours.
  • Exercise.
  • Do not take naps for more than 30 minutes.
  • Provide suitable environment. Avoid excessive light and noise.

The pandemic has fueled a tendency to believe in the miracle of the pill and to reject alternative medicine of any kind. “The paralysis of medical consultation has prevented the patient from being pharmacologically helped any other way,” he said. In fact, during the pandemic, mental health problems have multiplied. About 20% of Spaniards were in psychological treatment before the pandemic, since then, Over 40% of the population has gone to a psychologist for anxiety problems and over 30% for depression, According to the Center for Sociological Research (CIS).

This time More than a third of Spaniards have a mental health problem. The most common are the so-called general mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression or somatization. However they are not alone. Eating disorders, behavioral disorders or suicide attempts are on the rise, especially among children and adolescents, the CIS report dated.

A shortage of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, or even primary care physicians fuels the increase in the use of psychotropic drugs. Professionals have very little time to care for patients. “The work overload on the part of these professionals prevents the follow-up of patients. A specialist prescribes a benzodiazepine and for another 15 minutes they would not see you for another 15 minutes, on the other hand, if the situation was better, Maybe it can be scheduled and make an appointment for a month and then see how the patient develops,” Vzquez specified. The follow-up will avoid this “benzodiazepine over-prescription and, of course, this chronology over time”.ha aadido.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, in 2018 almost half of the people who already went to family doctors for psycho-emotional problems and Treating them with psychotropic drugs is one solution that may be effective in treating symptoms in the short term, but is not without risks. And in the long run, it doesn’t solve the problem. Clinical guidelines recommend psychotherapy to address this type of problem, or at least, a combined approach with psychotropic medications when necessary, as the OCU gathered in its report.

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