Monthly Archives

December 2017

Prescription medication misuse on the rise

Around one million Australians misused pharmaceuticals and medication over the last 12 months according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The report indicates the number of Australians using opioids and benzodiazepines for non-medical reasons is on the increase.

The report, released on December 19, 2017 focussed on two main types of prescription drugs. One was opioid analgesics, pain relief medications like codine and morphine.The other was Benzodiazepines, tranquillisers like diazepam, valium and xanax used in treating anxiety and sleeplessness.

With 23 per cent – or 2.5 million – of prescriptions dispensed in 2014–15 being for codeine, that means about 6.8 per cent of the population were using opioids.

In some instances that misuse had fatal consequences according to Institute spokesperson Matthew James

“Over the past decade, there has been a substantial rise in the number of deaths involving a prescription drug, with drug-induced deaths more likely to be due to prescription drugs than illegal drugs,’ he said.

According to the report, the number of people older than 14 to have misused these drugs in the last year was 4.8 per cent. Benzodiazepines were the most common single drug type identified among the 1,808 drug induced deaths, accounting for 663 deaths in 2016. That is an increase of 3.7 per cent since 2007.

The misuse was higher than all illegal drugs, with only the exception of cannabis.

People misusing these products are the ones more likely to experience mental illness, chronic pain and experience high or very high levels of psychological distress, according to the report.

NSW Pharmacy Guild president David Heffernan responded to the report findings in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy saying it highlights the need for vigilance and better exchange of information between health professionals and the need for better post-hospitalisation reconciliation of medicine use—where many addictions arise.

With these distressing statistic it seems that finding a better path to post-hospitalisation recovery is an important issue. Chronic pain management can be a difficult are in a person’s recovery and require a multifaceted therapeutic approach. At Retreat South we combine physical therapy with more traditional psychotherapy as well as tog and meditation to address physical recovery.

Contact us today to see how we can help with issues around medication dependancy, chronic pain and other mental health issues.

Understanding Depression and treatment

Depression is by far the most commonly experienced mental health problem. Somewhere around 300 million people globally experience depression. While it may effect so many people, less than 50 per cent of those 300 million seek treatment.

That’s part of a bigger picture showing that mental health problems account for around half of all health problems but, even more alarmingly, only around a quarter of people get treatment.

Men are still in the highest statistically to go undiagnosed and treated. Older men in particular are the least likely to be in treatment year they are in the group that has the highest rate of mental health problems.

Because it is so widely experienced, Depression has been the subject of many studies. We know a lot more about it. It is something caused by brain function. Experts think certain parts of the brain help regulate mood.
So while there is still much to learn about brain function and its relationship to Depression, the conduction itself is much better understood.

But just how it is understood can be somewhat confusing. Many people with Depression might not be aware that they have it. How many of us know someone who might seem like they need to snap out of it and and apply themselves more? That could be someone experiencing depression and neither you or they know it. It isn’t something that you can ‘snap out of’ either.

But understanding that you or someone you know might have depression is an important step. Taking that means that the next step, finding help and support through medication and therapy, can take place. Like so many mental health issues, taking control is that process of taking a step a time. But awareness, about the problem and seeking treatment are vital steps on that path to recovery.

Poor mental health can shorten life expectancy

The part played by alcohol in relation to mental health problems has been under the spotlight for many years. Dependancy and addiction to alcohol or alcohol used to deal with mental health problems is a significant problem.

New research between Danish and Australian universities has experts recommending more holistic mental health treatment in light of the part alcohol related problems played in reduced life spans across the last two decades.

New research has found that men diagnosed with a mental health problem can live ten years less than men who are not. The research found that women with a mental health problem could have a seven year shorter life span.

The study used information from Danish medical records between 1994 and 2014. The study was a joint work between Australian and Danish experts. The study is hoped to be replicated using Australian medical information.

The researchers said the shorter life span is of concern as there has been significant efforts to promote better understanding of mental health issues over that same time. Although the mortality gap has stayed the same, causes of death have changed with conditions like diabetes and heart disease being of greater significance.

Alcohol related conditions have also played an increasingly greater role in deaths during that period. Alcohol has been found to be the cause for shorter life-spans among people with mental health conditions over the last 20 years.

The researchers called on governments to implement more holistic approaches to mental health saying medication is not enough.

If you are experiencing alcohol related mental health or any other mental health look at our resources page for some places to contact for support. If you are considering treatment, contact us to see how we can work with you to plan course of action to help you on the path to recovery.

Knowing when to seek mental health help

Because it is most likely that all people will experience some form of mental health issue during their life, knowing when it is time to seek help is important. Just as most people will experience mental health problems, most people who seek treatment for them will benefit from that therapy.

When do you know you might need to find some help for a mental health issue?

It might not be so obvious to you that you are experiencing mental health problems. It isn’t a case of suddenly going ‘crazy’ either but sometimes there are signs when you might need help. Unusual changes in mood can be one. Sometimes those changes include more than just your mood. You can feel a little sad every now and then but if it is more pervade and experienced over a longer time it mean something is wrong. Changes in your lifestyle as well as mood, such as sleeplessness or loss of appetite can be a sign there immeshing wrong too.

Sometimes a significant or traumatic event in your life can cause physical and emotional problems. It can be an event that has happened recently or something that happened a long time ago and which is effecting you, even if you might not be aware of it.

Changes in the way we cope with life’s pressures can be an indicator. Sometimes it is a drastic change, and you might resort to using alcohol or other substances to cope or help in feeling better about things. Dependance on these substances can lead to major problems too. Finding help before those problems get out of control can be an important factor in duration of mental health treatment.

The good news is that more and more people are seeking psychotherapeutic help. Stigma has long been a barrier but, more and more people are discussing mental health and realising that it effects so many of us that it should not be bused up any longer.

Medication has become more sophisticated and better able to help deal with some mental health problems. Because of this many people feel that can get by by using medication. Even though we are in a time when medication be help reduce the symptoms of many problems such as depression and anxiety, psychotherapy has always been recommended along with medical treatment.

If you are thinking about treatment for mental health problems, take that next step and call today.