antidepressants

  1. SSRI drugs can increase stroke risk

    Antidepressants linked to stroke -- again

    If there's anything worse than an ineffective drug, it's a dangerous one -- and antidepressants win on both counts. They often fail to beat placebos in studies, and they come with more risks than most people realize.

    Now, new research confirms one of the worst of those risks: SSRI drugs -- including common antidepressants such as Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft -- can boost your risk of strokes referred to as intracranial hemorrhages or intracerebral hemorrhages by up to 50 percent.

    I've seen this link made before, and a number of studies have found that women in particular face a higher risk of stroke while on antidepressants. One study in 2010 even found that the stroke risk shoots up by 45 percent in post-menopausal women who take those same SSRI drugs.

    The new look at 16 studies involving more than 500,000 patients goes further, showing how the risk extends to everyone -- men and women -- leading to 10 extra strokes in every 100,000 patients who take SSRI drugs.

    That number may sound low, but the risk of this type of stroke is fairly low in the first place. Even without the SSRI drugs, just 25 in 100,000 people can expect to suffer one.

    Adding 10 more to that toll is a major increase, especially when you consider that close to 30 million Americans take antidepressants. This could add up to nearly 3,000 extra strokes per year, all linked to the meds, according to the study in Neurology.

    And if that's not enough risk for you, antidepressants can cause sexual dysfunction, bleeding problems, hyponatremia, and more. Some recent studies have even shown that seniors on these drugs have higher risk of death.

    But all of those risks are completely unnecessary.

    Depression is a condition that can almost always be beaten naturally with the help of homeopathic remedies, B vitamins, and/or serotonin-boosting nutraceuticals.

    Many cases of depression are also caused or worsened by low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for proper brain function. Studies have shown that fish oil supplements can improve or even cure the condition, and I'll bring you more on that later in the week.

    And if you're still having trouble shaking off your own blues, don't visit a shrink who'll offer you those dangerous SSRI drugs -- visit a holistic doctor like me instead.

    Coming up next, more on stroke -- including a delicious way to slash your risk.

    Keep reading!

  2. Common drugs can cause car crashes

    Don't drive when you take these drugs

    Seems like every time I open a newspaper or turn on the TV, I see a breathless report on Lindsay Lohan's latest traffic accident.

    Why do I care? I don't -- but reading a medical journal the other day, I realized maybe there's something to be learned from this after all.

    Turns out people who take antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs are more likely to get into traffic accidents -- and thanks to the regular news reports on Ms. Lohan, we know that she's been on at least three psychotropic drugs: including the antidepressants Zoloft and Trazodone

    My point isn't to share with you the ins and outs of Lindsay Lohan's medicine chest or her driving record. You can get as much of that as you want from Entertainment Tonight if you're into that kind of "news."

    No, the real point here is that while most people (except, perhaps, Lindsay Lohan) know better than to drink and drive, many people won't think twice about driving while on powerful mood-altering drugs that can affect reaction times, and more.

    And as the new study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology shows, that's a mistake.

    Researchers from Taiwan matched data on 5,183 people involved in major car accidents to that of 31,093 others who had no accidents. Turns out the people who banged up their cars were more likely to have spent time on one of three classes of psychotropic meds: the benzodiazepines used for anxiety, antidepressants such as SSRIs and tricyclics, and the newer Z-drugs used to treat sleep disorders.

    Now, I don't know if Lindsay Lohan's meds are what make her drive like she's in a demolition derby.

    I'm concerned about you and your loved ones -- because many of the people who take these drugs don't realize how it can affect them. So obviously, the first action to take is to understand what these meds do to you and whether or not it's safe for you to drive while on them.

    And remember, you might not necessarily be the best judge of that while you're on those meds.

    The second and more important course of action, however, is to find your way off the drugs so you don't have to worry about how they might affect your driving.

    Odds are you don't even need them in the first place.

    Anxiety, sleep disorders, ADHD, and depression -- even major depression -- can often be cured completely naturally. In many cases, all of these conditions can be caused or worsened by some combination of poor nutrition and hormonal imbalances.

    A holistic doctor can help you find the real cause, and fix it. And while you're working on finding that cause, he can shift you away from dangerous drugs and onto natural remedies that can provide short-term relief without the risks.

    And if you're one of my patients from the Los Angeles area and happen to see Ms. Lohan on your way to my clinic you might want to get off of the road fast -- or, better yet, slip her my card at a stop light.

  3. Light exercise can improve stroke & heart attack recovery

    Exercise is important for everyone -- but new studies show how even light exercise and stretching can be essential to stroke and heart attack survivors.
  4. Autism linked to toxins in the water

    New research shows that common drug residues found in drinking water may cause autism in at-risk kids.
  5. Natural cures for the ringing in the ear called tinnitus

    A study finds that psychotherapy and ocean sounds can ease tinnitus -- but there are some easier treatments that can do even more to stop the ringing for good.
  6. The true risks of depression drugs

    Some 10 percent of Americans are on antidepressants at any given time -- 30 million of us popping these pills, despite the fact that they're often matched or beaten by placebos in studies.
  7. Take two chickens and call me in the morning

    It's the Buy-One-Get-One-Free special stores don't advertise: Buy some chicken, get some meds for free. And just to make it more convenient for everyone, the drugs aren't in their own package -- they're already inside the chicken.
  8. Turn down the heat with therapy

    It's one of the Holy Grails of the drug industry: A pill to end hot flashes. Think that's a big market? You bet it is! Up to 80 percent of all women battle hot flashes during menopause, making a would-be treatment a billion-dollar dream for the drug industry.
  9. Antidepressants make depression worse

    Turns out antidepressants are even worse than ineffective: In a huge number of patients, they can actually make depression worse.
  10. Deadly faith

    A new survey finds that 40 percent of Americans believe the FDA only gives the OK to "extremely effective" meds -- and 25 percent believe FDA-approved drugs don't have serious side effects.
  11. Deadly warning over common meds

    Pharmaceutical drugs are supposed to help you... not hurt you. Yet every time I turn around, there's ANOTHER report about ANOTHER way these meds can kill you. Here's the latest.
  12. Antidepressants boost women's stroke risk

    Would you rather suffer from depression or from a stroke? If you're taking antidepressants, you might not have a choice. The answer could be both.
  13. The real reason for Prozac Nation

    Who's responsible for the antidepressant frenzy that's led to 10 percent of all Americans taking these dangerous meds? If you guessed shrinks, you're only partly right. Fact is, there's been a stunning rise in the number of non-psychiatrists dishing out mood drugs.
  14. Feds light controversy over medical marijuana

    The U.S. Department of Justice has finally responded to a 2002 petition to reclassify marijuana as a medical treatment.
  15. Antidepressants for everyone

    Primary care docs are prescribing antidepressants so easily that they're practically giving them away--and a new study shows that millions of Americans are now taking these meds despite never actually being diagnosed with depression.
  16. Eeyore Nation: How mainstream treatments keep America depressed

    A new survey finds that nearly 10 percent of the nation is suffering from clinical depression, a stunningly high number that only proves again how drugs have failed.
  17. Our dark journey into depression

    We already know that mood disorders are running rampant in America – but it may be a lot worse than anyone thought.
  18. Truly depressing news about meds

    A shocking new study finds that some 10 percent of us take antidepressants now – more than 27 million Americans.
  19. Doctors miss depression signs

    New research shows doctors can't identify what's wrong with patients, especially when it comes to recognizing the signs of depression.
  20. More bad news for antidepressants

    New research shows that these powerful meds can cancel out the effects of the most popular cancer-fighting drugs used by women who have suffered from breast cancer.

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