Sunday, October 1, 2023

Excessive consumption of psychotropic drugs: Frank Vandenbroucke launches an awareness campaign aimed at health professionals

Excessive consumption of psychotropic drugs: Frank Vandenbroucke launches an awareness campaign aimed at health professionals Belgians consume too many psychotropic drugs. These are often misused, which is why an awareness campaign is being started. It is intended for health professionals.

Antipsychotics are successful and a growing number of fellow citizens use them daily. However, these medications can have side effects and even risks to our health. “We are mainly talking about sleeping pills and medications used against anxiety, which especially cause a feeling of fatigue in the morning and dizziness at night. And then also memory problems and psychological problems. In the case of antidepressants, it is more about the fact that we no longer have the emotions we usually have or sexual problems.” explains Thierry Christaens, general practitioner and president of the Belgian Platform of Psychotropic Experts.

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An awareness campaign was launched

By 2022, one in four Belgians will have used psychotropic drugs. This Monday, the Minister of Health, Frank Vandenbroucke, launched an awareness campaign aimed at health professionals, in particular family doctors, pharmacists, and psychologists, to stop this “concerning consumption.” “The frequent and partly inappropriate use of psychotropic drugs in our country is very problematic,” he says. “Therefore, it is urgent to move towards a more appropriate use of psychotropic medications, through a reasoned, profound, and concerted approach.”

Frank Vandenbroucke hopes that healthcare professionals will always try to move towards a non-pharmacological solution first. When starting treatment, special attention should be paid to the side effects but also to the duration of this medication.

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Reaction of the National Order of Physicians

I think doctors tend to prescribe too many psychotropic drugs.” confirms Christian Melot, French-speaking vice president of the National Order of Physicians.”The relationship between doctor and patient is one of trust. If the patient does not tell the whole truth, he may abuse the doctor’s trust.

According to him, to avoid this situation, everything is a matter of collaboration between the doctor, the pharmacist, and the patient. “It is a triangle that must talk to each other and try to have points of agreement and trust,” explains Christian Melot. “For example, a medical opinion of the College of Physicians was prepared with the College of Pharmacists so that a commission could work on this problem of excessive prescription, whether of psychotropic drugs or other medications.

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“The quickest solution is the pill”

This explosion of prescriptions is essentially due to the fact that people wait until they are in crisis, in a critical phase, to consult and sound the alarm. “People often wait a long time before going to the doctor and that is why the quickest solution is the pill, but it is not always the best solution. Psychological help is usually much more effective in the long term“, indicates Thierry Christians.

Therefore, one of the solutions is to consider psychological help, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, which will allow for better long-term stress management.

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