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Mental health survey in Hong Kong: 4% of Hong Kong residents abuse sleeping pills and painkillers

Post Time:2012-06-20 [Large Middle Small] View:


(May 23th) Hong Kong Sing Tao Daily reported, many Hong Kong residents with much mental stress have to rely on sleeping pills to get off to sleep. The "Mental health survey in Hong Kong" released in May 22nd showed that about 1% and 3% of Hong Kong residents addict to sleeping pills and painkillers respectively. Psychiatrist warns that overdose of sleeping pills can lead to memory loss or mind confusions and excessive painkillers could hurt the liver as well. There was a case of an unemployed woman in her 30s who took more than 20 painkillers everyday which hurt her health badly, finally she was sent to hospital for the treatment of addicts.

Yesterday, Psychiatry Department of Hong Kong University, the Psychiatry Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong along with the Hospital Authority released the interim results of Mental Health Survey in Hong Kong and found that about 1% and 3% of 2500 respondents addict to sleeping pills and painkillers respectively. While over 14% have significant emotional problems, in which more than 6% with anxiety disorders, more than 4%  with depression, and more than 2% suffering from not only one type of mood disorder .

LIN Ming, consultant of the adult psychiatrist department of Castle Peak Hospital, expressed that once addicted to sleeping pills, when stop taking it, the patients would have the symptoms of hand tremor, marked sweating, mind confusion, body cramps, and even memory system of the brain recession, or admitted to hospital. He also said "we have seen some women abuse of sleeping pills, they will forget to pay the bill because of the poor memory when they go to supermarkets. " He also reminded those people who take sleeping pills when could not fall asleep, "it is okay when eating once or twice ... But if you rely on it, you have to take more and more in order to fall asleep, even 10 or 20 pills every 2 or 3 hours. Once there is a stop, you will have withdrawal symptoms. "

Besides sleeping pills, painkillers are also addictive. Doctor LIN used to met an unemployed woman in her 30s, "she always complained about the pain all over the body and the emotional problems... The doctor had given her two types of painkillers, but she still feel that was not enough, and bought four different types of painkillers by herself... She took more than 20 painkillers one day, and also took other drugs such as stomach medicine and cold medicines, which hurt her health badly." In order to help her to stop the abuse of medicines, she was sent to hospital. Doctors gradually reduce her dose and change her mind, meanwhile, gave her psychological consultation to protect her against drug abuse because of emotional distress. He commented that different types of painkillers can cause to different damages for bodies, e.g. a long time of taking large amount of paracetamol will affect the liver.


Date: May 23rd, 2012