suicide

  1. Gimmicks won't help you quit

    There are plenty of gimmicks out there that claim they'll help you to quit smoking -- not to mention a couple of risky Big Pharma drugs.

    And just about none of them work.

    Ever see someone with a nicotine patch on each arm and a cigarette in his hand puffing away? Me too.

    The latest research confirms what's obvious to everyone but him: The patch doesn't work.

    And here's something else to chew on: Nicotine gums are equally ineffective.

    Of 787 smokers who quit in the new study, a third restarted again within two years -- and the folks who spent money on patches, gums, inhalers and sprays were just as likely to be among them as those who went cold turkey.

    That's a far cry from the success rate promised when these things were first approved by the FDA, with studies showing they could triple the success rate of quitters.

    But it's right in line with what anyone who's already tried -- and failed -- to quit using gums and patches can already tell you. And it's also right in line with the rest of the research on this, which shows that all the gimmicks in the world can't deter a determined smoker from his habit.

    On the other hand, at least the worst thing that could come from a nicotine patch or gum is another failed attempt at quitting...and hopefully the determination to try even harder next time. (There's always a next time, right?)

    If you turn to meds for help, however, you could find yourself battling something worse than a return of your bad habit. You could even end up in a fight for your life.

    As I've told you before, Chantix -- the most common anti-smoking med -- has been linked time and again to bizarre behavior and even suicide...and one recent study found the drug can boost your odds of severe depression or suicide by 800 percent.

    If that's not enough, Chantix has also been linked to violence, hallucinations, paranoia, confusion and weird dreams -- and some of the drug's side effects can actually start after you stop taking it.

    All that, and 80 percent of the people who take the drug are back to smoking a year later.

    Here's the "cold" hard truth: There's one method that's been proven time and again to work. It's been used by close to 90 percent of successful quitters...and it won't even cost you a dime.

    It's cold turkey... and if you're serious about quitting, put it on the menu tonight.

  2. Quit smoking -- or die trying?

    Nearly 70 percent of all smokers want to quit -- and half of them have tried and failed over the last year, according to new numbers from the CDC.

    Obviously, it ain't easy.

    But if there's anything worse for you than tobacco, it's when the meds that are supposed to help you kick the habit up your suicide and depression risk instead.

    And researchers say Chantix, the med most commonly given to smokers, has been found to do exactly that -- with one new analysis concluding that it'll boost your odds of suicide or severe depression by a stunning 800 percent.

    Not exactly the type of "quit" you're looking for -- but instead of warning smokers away from the med or even issuing a long-overdue recall for Chantix, the feds are actually defending it.

    In fact, the FDA says its own review of data from two studies finds no difference in hospitalization rates for psychiatric problems. So case closed -- go ahead and take your Chantix, smokers.

    But before you fill that prescription, read the fine print on that reassuring new message from the FDA -- because the agency admits it didn't bother to look at psychiatric incidents that didn't lead to hospitalization.

    In other words, a suicide victim found dead wouldn't count, nor would a seriously depressed person who's never hospitalized (and remember -- many depressed people never seek any help at all).

    You know what's even crazier than the fact that the FDA didn't consider non-hospitalizations? It's that the agency actually has that extra data... and didn't even bother to look at it!

    That's where the new study comes in, because researchers combed the FDA's own Adverse Event Reporting System and found 3,249 reports of serious self-injury or depression linked to anti-smoking products like meds and nicotine gum since 1998.

    Chantix was only on the market four of those 13 years... but was involved in a whopping 2,925 of those cases, or 90 percent of the total.

    Try to explain that one, FDA.

    Other studies have also made the connection between Chantix use and serious behavioral issues -- and not just suicide and depression. One found that Chantix users are 18 times more likely to be involved in violence than people who take other meds.

    Violence, I should point out, also generally doesn't lead to a hospitalization -- although it could certainly end in prison or even death.

    Bottom line here: Quitting smoking is a great goal -- and with the New Year fast approaching (already!), it's the one resolution you should put at the top of your list.

    But do it without meds.

  3. Risky business: Sleepless kids are bad news

    Kids who miss out on sleep aren't just groggy in school -- they're also far more likely to do all the things that give parents nightmares.
  4. Fats beat sadness

    Looks like the old maxim "fat and happy" isn't too far off -- but it's not fat in your body that'll lift your mood. It's fat in your diet.
  5. How not to quit smoking

    A long list of risks just got even longer: The feds now say the anti-smoking drug Chantix can boost the odds of a heart attack.
  6. Cold turkey never looked so good

    There's no doubt about it: If you're a smoker, the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your body is to quit -- and quit right now.
  7. Saving teens from depression

    Two of the biggest problems when it comes to teens and depression is that many are overtreated – while many others are not treated at all.
  8. What's keeping you up at night?

    Two new studies show the problems of chronic sleeplessness can run far deeper, as insomniacs are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and have increased thoughts of suicide.
  9. FDA rewards drug maker's bad behavior

    The FDA has just approved the antidepressant Lexapro for use in kids.
  10. 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.

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