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. Antidepressants fail another trial

    There's no two ways about it: When it comes to beating depression, that last thing you want is your doctor's first choice. Tell him you're down in the dumps, and he'll reach for his prescription pad -- but the dirty secret about the depression meds used by some 30 million Americans every year is that they just don't work.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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