1. Benzodiazepines linked to deadly overdose risk

    How common mood meds could kill you

    As I shared earlier today, painkiller deaths have reached epidemic levels, with the CDC now trying to get docs to cut the supply of these dangerous and addictive drugs.

    But there’s another class of medication that’s also shooting up the wrong charts –drugs that are responsible for an alarming rise in deaths and are taken by millions of seniors.

    No doubt, folks you know have taken these drugs…and maybe even you’ve tried them yourself.

    It’s a class of medication called benzodiazepines, or “benzos” for short, and includes common drugs like Valium and Xanax – drugs that people think they need to take to overcome life’s many stresses, anxieties, and sleep disorders.

    And if you’re taking a benzo right now, it’s time to work your way off, because new research finds that the death rate linked to these drugs has jumped dramatically.

    In less than 20 years, the number of prescriptions for benzos has risen by 67 percent.

    That might sound like a big increase, and it is – but it’s nothing next to the increase in deaths linked to the drug, which have skyrocketed by some 500 percent in that time.

    By 2013, nearly 7,000 people were killed by overdosing on benzos, making them responsible for 30 percent of all prescription drug overdose deaths that year.

    Part of the reason is that while benzos are risky enough on their own, many folks make them even more dangerous without realizing it.

    These drugs “work” by hitting your central nervous system. It’s like taking a dimmer switch to the whole thing – turning down your anxiety and other problems, but also dimming everything else in the process.

    That includes essential processes in your body, including breathing.

    Combine it with another med or even booze – a common “self-medication” for folks battling anxiety – and you just might shut the whole thing down.

    While the CDC is now calling on docs to stop dishing out painkillers, there’s been no such outcry over anxiety meds and other benzos.

    But there should be.

    Along with the risk of an overdose or a reaction by mixing your meds, studies show that long-term use of benzos can practically rot your brain from the inside.

    Take a benzo for just three months, and your risk of Alzheimer’s disease jumps by 51 percent. And if you take them for six months or longer, the risk shoots up by 80 percent, according to a 2014 study in BMJ.

    These drugs have also been linked to everything from heart problems to traffic accidents (that “dimmer-switch” effect can slow reaction times).

    Many of the conditions treated with benzos are signs of a hormonal problem – one that can often be corrected naturally, either with bioidentical hormone or a nutritional approach that can get your own body to produce the hormones it needs.

    Seek the help of a holistic medical doctor. If you’re in Southern California, you can make an appointment to see me at my clinic in the San Diego area.

    Not in the area? I can also offer advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

  2. Common drugs linked to dementia

    Sleep and anxiety meds increase dementia risk

    Millions of people swear by drugs to help them get to sleep each night, while millions more rely on medications to ease their anxiety to get through the day.

    Some people take both, leading to a 24-hour cycle of dependence with tragic consequences -- side effects up to and including death. And now, new research confirms that regular use of these meds is linked to dementia.

    Researchers compared about 100 French seniors who took benzodiazepines and similar drugs to 1,000 who did not. Over 15 years, the ones who took the drugs had a 60 percent higher risk of dementia -- and that's even after adjusting for the usual variety of risk factors, according to the study in BMJ.

    What makes this even more disturbing is that the drugs they tracked are practically household names -- including Ambien, Halcion, Klonopin, Restoril, Valium, and Xanax.

    These types of meds were never meant for long-term use. The problem, of course, is that people who turn to them for a short-term problem with sleep or stress, for example, end up relying on them day after day (or night after night), and year after year.

    You probably know some people who are practically hooked on these drugs, even if they don't walk around advertising it.

    If there's a bright side to this, it's that dementia caused by medication can sometimes be completely reversed by getting off those drugs and onto safe, natural alternatives.

    But sometimes, it's too late -- and that's why the better plan of action is to not take the drugs in the first place.

    If you're on these drugs now and looking for a way off -- or simply want a little help with conditions such as sleep or stress -- speak to a holistic physician who can help you find the safest natural options.

  3. 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.

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