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1 in 4 people dependent on painkillers
MORE than a quarter of people in Yorkshire who take painkillers are relying on the drugs to get them through their day, a new report warns.
According to research published today by Nuffield Health, our region is in danger of becoming hooked on painkillers while some risk a “bleak existence” as they looked for an easy way to manage long-term complaints.
Manoj Krishna, a consultant spinal surgeon at Nuffield Heath in York, said: “A lack of knowledge, or fear about treatment can lead some patients into long-term use of painkillers, often without a clear diagnosis by a specialist.
“This can be a very bleak existence with patients becoming depressed, losing their jobs, and often becoming dependent on the drugs.
“I regularly see patients who struggle to deal with drug addiction after their medical condition has been successfully treated.
“With advances in medicine there are many new treatment options available and it is important that patients explore these options fully.”
Mr Kirshna said: “Surgery, injections, physiotherapy or even an exercise programme may be more appropriate.”
The figures, which follow a survey of 3,100 people, reveal that while more than half of those questioned had suffered pain without resorting to medication in the last 12 months, there are people in Yorkshire and the Humber region relying heavily on the drugs.
More than one in ten admitted taking more than the recommended dose, while a fifth said they took between five and ten pills a day.
Nearly a third said they had been using painkillers for more than five years and 27 per cent admitted they were concerned about their dependency on pills to manage their daily life.
Cabella Lowe, head of physiotherapy services at Nuffield, said: “The most important action is to seek expert advice quickly as research shows that early intervention is key to getting rid of pain. Worries about dependency are staggeringly high and match an increasing trend for people to use painkillers as a solution.”
Of those still reporting pain or injury, one in three was unable to exercise, almost a fifth said it had affected their confidence and 15 per cent reported suffering from depression.