This week Addiction will be discussed, a word meaning many things to different people, but can be defined as “a repeated involvement with” or “compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli” despite adverse consequences, the brain’s reward system bringing pleasing results.

Addiction to medications is on the rise with drugs casually used as pain killers some classified as narcotics being mind-altering drugs. Anything from simple looking tablets to syrupy cough mixtures are taken with dangerous consequences.

In 2016 legislation was introduced in order to cut back on the intake of codeine. Pharmacists can no longer issue more than 40 tablets each having no more than 10 milligrams per dose. Consumers are going from one pharmacy to another to bypass this.

So why all the fuss one may ask ? The answer being the addictive effect.

To give clarity ` codeine is classified as an opiate associated with morphine and heroine which binds to receptors in the brain and other body cells.

Intake produces a relaxed, euphoric feeling and it is this sedation that leads to dependency.

When satisfaction is no longer acquired the user will seek out and abuse stronger drugs.

Codeine slows down breathing and in severe cases causes seizures. Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, anxiety, stomach ache and Diarrhoea.

The medication is generally used to subdue severe headaches, pain from arthritis and other conditions.

Morphine on the other hand can be administered for intense post operative pain and that affecting cancer patients.

Does this mean that many addicts are walking amongst us? Probably, but statistics show that many users are in drug rehabilitation centres from addiction to the so called regular pain killers.

Alternate healers recommend natural, plant based products as those mentioned below in preference to drugs :

Willow bark has been used for centuries as it contains a chemical Salicin similar to ingredients in aspirin.

The dried herb can be brewed to produce a tea or can be bought in capsule form.

Cloves are excellent if nausea exists and can be found in the form of capsules. If tooth ache is a problem clove oil rubbed onto the gum will give relief till a dentist is consulted.

Turmeric contains a compound curcumin, an anti-oxidant to block free radicals, best purchased in capsule form as the strong orange pigment in powder form causes staining.

Arnica applied externally, but never orally reduces the effects of bruising.

Lastly Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples and papaya, which reduces inflammation and inhibits blood clots.

Drugs will always play a role in medicine but an alternate choice will result in

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