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There are medications on the market that are addictive and considered highly dangerous. Therefore, physicians are often told to prescribe them only for a shorter period of time so that addiction will not occur. Despite this there are some patients who take these medicines regularly for a long period of time. If and how dangerous this is, is a question of some controversy. There are people who have used these medicines for several years without having experienced any feelings of tolerance increase, whilst others have developed severe addiction. Most experts feel that the risk of developing a severe addiction and tolerance increase is so great that one should avoid this risk by only using these medicines for a short period of time.
Medications that are considered to be addictive are tranquilizers and sedatives (sleeping pills), Many of these belong to a group of similar substances called benzodiazepines. Some pain killers and other medication can cause addiction after long-term use. Medicines that are considered to be addictive or in other ways are connected to certain risks are in some countries labeled with a special triangle which warns that there is some sort of danger connected to the medicine:
There are also several non-medicines are also addictive such as alcohol, nicotine (tobacco), caffeine (coffee, tea) and narcotics. What is usually referred to as "addictive" is in fact a combination of several effects that in various ways are connected to each other.
How bad are the withdrawal symptoms?
Warning: This information is based on studies financed by pharmaceutical manufacturers which may have a tendency to underestimate the problems.
The degree of difficulty of the withdrawal symptoms depends on how long one has taken the medicine. For diazepines the following symptoms may occur:
For how long do I have to take the medicine to become addictive?
In the case of diazepines it is reported that there is a strong connection between the time that one has taken the medicine and how strong one is addictive to it. The results below show patients who have taken diazepine in dosages recommended by the manufacturer.
Psychologists often use the word "addiction" to describe a psychologial mechanism, through which people learn to suppress anxiety through some activity such as eating, shopping or other activity which for them is used to suppress the anxiety. Psychotherapists teach such patients to listen to their inner feelings, accept the uncomfortable feelings, and find constructive solutions instead of suppression. In this case, there can also be a pharmacological dependence, for example when alcohol or drugs are used, but there can also be no pharmacological dependence on an external substance. The treatment, though, is rather similar to that for drug addiction.
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