Don’t be a benzo statistic

WITH those dependent on benzodiazepines “almost universally ordinary middle-class folks” who experience anxiety and/or insomnia, this country’s mental health crisis seems not at all surprising (HS, 30/8).

That it is “suburban mums and dads and professionals with no idea they had a problem” is a disturbing indictment of our society, with hundreds of thousands of people apparently unable to manage their lives without needing pills.

Moreover, that these benzos killed “1435 Victorians in five years” strongly suggests an urgent need for a public education campaign about their potential danger as well as inspiring people to face their problems.

It seems extremely concerning that these benzos have reportedly been prescribed regularly by the same doctors for years, suggesting that some doctors have not been addressing the underlying causes of the anxiety or insomnia. They could also refer patients for other treatments rather than continually prescribe pills.

While most Victorians are aware of the shortcomings in the state’s health system, many should reflect on why their anxiety or insomnia demands continual medication, at the same time accepting some responsibility for their lifestyle choices and the pressures possibly unconsciously self-imposed.

Perhaps the idea of “having it all” and “the fear of missing out” is so pervasive that people are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves. It seems imperative to stop, think and slow down before becoming another anonymous statistic killed by choosing to take benzos.