As of 2015, at least half of all people in the US take a prescription medication. Another 15% take at least 3 a day. Is this really necessary? Is there a better solution? Without a doubt, certain diseases need to be controlled with medication, but at what risk and is there a better alternative? In this post I breakdown some of the most abused prescription medications today.

  1. Xanax – Xanax is a benzodiazepine, that is used to treat anxiety disorders, nausea from chemotherapy as well as panic disorders. Xanax is typically taken in pill form and is absorbed within an hour of digestion. Like a lot of prescription drugs, Xanax, a schedule IV drug does come with a host of possible side-effects, some of which are: increased drowsiness, jaundice, hallucinations, amnesia, suicidal thoughts, fatigue, aggression, rage, mania, and digestive problems. Xanax has also shown in studies to increase a person’s tolerance, which will require the user to increase the dosage, therefore increasing the chances of side-effects on this list.
  2. Ambien– Ambien is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic or better known as a sedative. Ambien, a schedule IV drug works quickly and most commonly taken in pill form with most users feeling its effects within 15 minutes of ingestion. Used primarily to treat insomnia, but only with initially falling asleep and not helping to stay asleep through out the night. Some possible side-effects of Ambien are: headaches, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, sleep-eating, euphoria, poor motor control, amnesia, sleepwalking and rebound insomnia. Ambien has also shown to increase a person’s tolerance, which can lead to over-dose as well as addiction.
  3. Hydrocodone– Hydrocodone is a powerful opioid used for pain control. It is commonly taken in liquid form and usually takes 30 minutes to feel its effects. This drug is used primarily to treat pain, but also is used as a cough suppressant/antitussive. Some possible side-effects of this drug are drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, rash, itching, irregular breathing, moodiness, anxiety, and loss of hearing. Hydrocodone can also bring about serious withdrawal symptoms, as well as being known as a drug frequently being used recreationally. As of fall of 2014, hydrocodone was upgraded from a schedule III drug to a schedule II drug meaning it has a greater potential of abuse.
  4. Adderall– Adderall is in the phenethylamine class and is used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy and to help people focus. Adderall is most common in pill form and is prescribed as immediate release or extended release depending on what is prescribed to you. Common side effects of Adderall include loss of appetite, nervousness, abdominal pain, agitation, nausea, fever, hives, diarrhea, dry mouth, increased heart rate, diminished libido, and trouble breathing. Adderall is a schedule II drug and has been shown to have a serious risk of addiction.
  5. Valium– Valium is a benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures. Valium is typically taken in pill form and can take up to 40 minutes to absorb. Like most medication’s, Valium has a host of possible side-effects like loss of motor control, agitation, blurred vision, chills, confusion, dehydration, dizziness, and orthostatic hypotension. Valium is a schedule IV drug, but has been shown to have physical and psychological dependence.

Obviously certain people MUST use these drugs to function daily, but are a lot of people using these medications as a temporary fix to their problem? It is very common in our society today to use what I call a “band-aid.”  A band-aid is often times used to “mask” an underlying problem without actually addressing the real culprit. Finding a REAL solution to the problem at hand is a much better long-term strategy to cure/heal a health issue.  Simply masking a problem with mediation is not only a temporary fix, but can also lead to more damage on the body when relied upon for any length of time.

For example, if you are having trouble sleeping at night and focusing during the day, instead of reaching for the ambien, xanax and/or adderall, you should FRIST make sure you are eating right, exercising, and exhausting all natural remedies to help you sleep at night such as a magnesium supplement or using lavender essential oils before you retire for the evening.  The second step to providing a natural remedy to these particular problems would be seeking counseling from a professional.  We are often so busy in life, we simply ignore the need to deal with our emotions in order to solve problems indefinitely.

Simply put, if your goal is to live a long, healthy, and happy life, get rid of the temporary fixes, and learn to treat your body as the temple it is.  It’s the only one you’ve got…

 

 

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