Increased consumption of psychotropic drugs in León

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The consumption of psychotropic drugs, on the rise in León since 2019, is directly related to the fact that the population is “less and less willing” to suffer the consequences of the “avatars of life”, as explained by Francisco Rodríguez, head of the Service. Caule Psychiatry, which leads to an increase in demand for mental health services.

The psychotropic drugs known as “minor antidepressants” and “anxiolytics” are the ones that are currently consumed the most and the problem lies in the “poor management” of these, which entails problems of “tolerance and dependence,” as Rodríguez points out to this medium.

Anxiety and insomnia, main problems

The reliability of the drugs to control problems so common today such as insomnia or anxiety, which are usually antipsychotics at low doses, helps, according to the head of the Psychiatry Service, to avoid the use of other drugs with profiles « more addictive.”

As Rodríguez indicates, the pandemic has changed our mentality in such a way that the “self-demand to be happy” has come to the fore. This has made the population increasingly less prepared to overcome “mere everyday life situations” and leads them to demand antidepressants, anxiolytics “or whatever is needed.”

“I want it all and I want it now”

As experts have been warning for years, citizens are becoming “emotional drug addicts”, with frenetic experiences based on impulses and emotions. Rodríguez summarizes all this with the title of the famous song by the British band ‘Queen’: “I Want It All and I Want It Now” (“I want it all and I want it now”) and associates it with the danger due to the constant search for “new sensations” that leads, especially in adolescents, to the consumption of narcotics with its consequent effects on mental health.

As Rodríguez explains, mental illness “starts at age 30,” although it can occur earlier, and frequently “tends to be chronic.” And although mental health “does not understand gender”, there are certain disorders that may be “more prevalent in one sex or another.”

Psychiatric care

In addition to the psychiatry services of the Virgen Blanca building of the Hospital of León, and the consultations of this specialty in the main health centers of the city, León has a Hospital dedicated exclusively to mental health, such as the Hospital Santa Isabel. This building includes different hospitalization units, contained in the Rehabilitation Unit of the Caule Psychiatry Service.

A hospital that, currently, has just over 100 patients admitted, but in which about 40 years ago “there were more than 500.” Mainly dedicated to the rehabilitation process, this hospital cares for people “with serious mental illnesses”, such as “psychosis, OCD or serious affective disorders”, as well as patients with intellectual disabilities who suffer from these illnesses.

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Santa Isabel psychiatry units:

  • Psychiatric convalescence unit: for medium-stay subacute patients, understood to be two to three months, which consists of 14 beds.

  • Psychiatric rehabilitation unit: this is a voluntary hospitalization unit in which the deterioration that certain mental illnesses can cause is fought, recovering skills to achieve “patient functioning that is as normal as possible” (in work, social, familiar…). Together with the convalescent unit, it cares for patients from the two areas of the province, such as León and El Bierzo.

  • Long-stay rehabilitation unit: patients from all over the autonomous community are admitted to this unit when the mental illness affects “areas of vital functioning” and a “longer” rehabilitation process is required, with the aim of “achieving the greatest possible degree of autonomy.

  • Continuing care unit: this includes patients with very serious mental illnesses and problems integrating them into social services, so their admission is prolonged and their chances of recovery “are very low.”

  • Intellectual disability mid-stay unit (Umedi): this is a specific reference unit for the autonomous community for patients with intellectual disabilities and serious behavioral problems.

  • Comprehensive community care team: this is a multidisciplinary team whose mission is the therapeutic support of patients who need care in their homes.

Santa Isabel Hospital in León.

Caule

All of these units are made up of multidisciplinary teams made up of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, nurses and auxiliary nursing care technicians (TCAE), social workers and occupational therapists. It is the therapists who carry out the activities and “their motivating work” makes patients “completely voluntarily” attend these activities as something routine.

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