1. Psychiatric drugs: Bad for your heart, too

    Here's one more reason to avoid psychiatric drugs: There's a possibility they could contribute to sudden cardiac death.

    New research has found that folks who die from cardiac arrest were more likely to have taken one of the three most common kinds of psychiatric drugs – antipsychotics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines, used commonly to treat anxiety.

    Finnish researchers looked at the medications taken by 321 victims of cardiac death and compared it against the drugs used by 609 patients who survived heart attacks, and presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, held in May.

    And they found that that nearly 11 percent of those who died were taking antipsychotics, versus just 1.4 percent of the survivors. There were also discrepancies with antidepressants (7.4 percent versus 3 percent) and benzodiazepines (18.4 percent versus 5 percent).

    When you consider how over-prescribed these meds are in the first place, that's a lot of people who could be facing an increased risk.

    More research is needed before anyone can say for certain whether there's a real link between these drugs and sudden cardiac death. As a result, the researchers say there's no reason to give anyone advice based on this information just yet.

    But I will, because my advice is based on everything else we already know about these dangerous drugs.

    It's not hard to see how this could be true when you consider all the other side effects of psychiatric drugs.

    When you consider the stakes – your life – and the fact that there are viable, effective alternatives to drugs like antidepressants, there's really no reason to take this risk.

    As I've mentioned before, I rarely prescribe antidepressants to my patients. When I do, it's often a short-term solution when there's no other choice, to help them get by while we work to identify and fix the underlying problem.

    These alternatives are real, they work, and they're safe.

  2. Antidepressants just don't work

    I've spent a lot of time over the years getting many of my depressed patients off dangerous antidepressants.

    I've found they sometimes simply don't work – and now, the rest of medicine is finally starting to see the light too.

    Recent studies have questioned the effectiveness of some of the most common antidepressants – drugs millions of Americans take in the belief it'll help them feel better.

    But that's all it is in most cases – a belief.

    A number of studies have found that many of these drugs work no better than placebos. One review of research, published in the February Journal of Affective Disorders, gave credit to the placebo effect a whopping 68 percent of the time.

    The most recent study, published in the April American Journal of Psychiatry, finds that antidepressants really only work for a small portion of those who actually take the drugs – specifically, those who battle depression alone with no other complicating conditions like substance abuse or other mental illness.

    When you consider that up to 60 percent of all depression patients are coping with at least one other condition, you start to see just how ineffective these drugs really are.

    The researchers reached this conclusion by using government data from 41 psychiatric facilities over three years. They used data from nearly everyone – not a group carefully screened and selected for a clinical trial.

    It turns out the drug trials paid for by Big Pharma often don't represent a realistic group of patients. A 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that most people battling major depression would be excluded from clinical trials. Another study found less than 10 percent of a typical group of patients would qualify.

    And the researchers in the latest study concluded that the clinical trials don't match the real-world results, and usually end up overestimating the effectiveness of the drugs.

    That's typical Big Pharma chicanery for you.

    And if you think that kind of deck-stacking only takes place in clinical trials for antidepressants, then I've got some oceanfront property here in Montana to sell you.

    In the end, these studies mean more doctors prescribe more drugs that don't work for people who don't need them.

    You can win the battle against depression, and it doesn't involve meds or side effects that could include increased suicidal behavior.

    Depression is usually a sign that the patient has lower serotonin levels. Those can be corrected through nutritional therapy, not drugs. Vitamins B6 and B12 and tryptophan are often the answer, and they're much safer to boot. For more information on nutritional deficiency caused depression, see my book The Body Heals, 2nd Edition.

    When your body finally gets what it's been missing, it's not a placebo effect.

    It's a cure.

  3. Repairing the heart—and the soul

    Many people who undergo heart bypass surgery find themselves battling an unexpected side effect: depression.
  4. Sudden cardiac death linked to antidepressants

    Some drugs can be worse than the illnesses they treat.
  5. Antidepressants for IBS? Here's what they're not telling you

    A study found that antidepressants can provide IBS relief, at least in the short term.
  6. Docs looking to "see no evil" after bad antidepressant news

    When researchers from the World Health Organization reviewed eight studies, they determined that certain antidepressants increase suicide attempts by younger people, especially those in the 18-25 age group.
  7. Antidepressant research looks for best of a bad lot

    A recent study concluded that Zoloft and Lexapro are the best antidepressants. The catch? They’re the “best” only when compared to the current generation of other Big Pharma antidepressants.

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