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News Views
Ethical Responsibility of Health Professionals
By Riffat Sadiq
Healing refers to make an ill person free from all kinds of pain and distress. Years ago, hakeem (herbalist) was there to treat patients. Many people used to visit spiritual healer for their illnesses having thought of being victim of witch craft (black magic). With the passage of time, proper institutes have been established to train those who were interested in healing sick person. Now, people have different options to visit health professionals according to their need.
Healing itself is not just confined to treat a patient or make prescriptions but it is a way to dealing an ill person. Therefore, health professionals are ethically responsible to go in depth while attending patients pertaining to their presenting problems. Researches have proved that behind physical problems/diseases, number of psychological and social factors work. Unfortunately, there are health professionals, not all, who do not bother to uncover the hidden factors and merely treat the problem as it appears. As being happened in the case of addiction of tranquilizers/painkiller which is killing our nation slowly and silently. Unfortunately, it is not easily recognized by a common man.
Usually, tranquilizers/painkillers are prescribed by health professionals to overcome excessive worries, sleep disorders and severe pain. But continuous use of these medicines/injection, by own self, result in addiction. During working experience in an addiction treatment centre, my female addicted patients reported that when they consulted doctors in case of severe tension and disturbed sleep, they were recommended tranquilizers to have sound sleep and reduce the level of tension. But frequent use of tranquilizers eventuated in addiction.
One of my patient also reported that she used to remain disturbed and could not sleep all the night owing to having severe conflicts with husband and in-laws. Doctor prescribed her laxotanil. Initially, she used to take one tablet at night but gradually, she became habituated. Whenever, she got tensed, she took medicine and now she could not go to bed without taking laxotanil. Medicine did not solve her problems but made her addicted that ruined her marital life one day. She couldn't do her household chores properly and take care of her children. As a result, she lost her family, husband and every thing.
A primary school teacher was overwhelmed by feelings of apprehension and inferiority complex owing to poverty at home, frequent bickers between parents since her childhood, not having suitable proposal and lack of gratification of her need for affection. Her mother was on bed for many years and used to take tranquilizer as prescribed by her physician. One night, she thought to take same medicine to reduce her tension. That made her addict and she could not be recovered yet.
In order to get quick relief from pain, people are also injecting painkillers. One of my addicted patient reported to me that, ''I feel to be more relaxed and tension free after injecting sosegon, because I do not want to face frequent quarrels at home.'' Actually, doctor had injected her that painkiller after surgery and since then she was using it by her own self.
The trend of taking tranquilizers and painkillers is also common in men. They also were recommended by their doctors to use them to overcome their tension. Even, people working in hospitals and clinics are also using these medicines by their own. They reported that they saw doctors prescribing these medicines to psychologically disturbed patients for stopping their worrying habits and poor sleep. Therefore, they did not feel any harm of using it to treat same problems they had.
Researches revealed that causing factors for tension and disturbed sleep vary among men and women. In men, earning bread for family is a major stressor in South Asian Countries. Along with job stress, other family problems like conflict between wife and parents also make them disturbed. One of my acquaintances reported me that he was disturbed and could not concentrate on his work owing to quarrel between his mother/sister and wife and he asked me to recommend him psychotropic medication.
On the other hand, conflicts with in laws, sarcasm frequently received from partner, lack of amenities in life, overburden by household chores and not having enough time to be socialized  are adversely affecting women' mental health. Furthermore, in our society, unmarried women seem to be overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness and deprivation owing to not having proper match or either they are compelled to tie a knot with mismatch, a compromise for whole life. All these factors make ground for emotional turmoil that is reported to doctors in form of headache, tension, disturbed sleep, tiredness, body aches, loss of appetite, etc.
At this stage, health professionals must counsel these patients and take time to make prescription. In this way, patients will understand their problems and will be able to find a rational solution instead of trying to escape from reality. Moreover, collaboration of physical and mental health problems can save people and prevent our nation from indulging in addiction of tranquilizers/painkillers.

Drug Free Nation 2013