Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saying No to Psychotropic Drugs


This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of online lpn schools. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

Saying No to Psychotropic Drugs

Depression can happen to even the hardiest of us, depending on the circumstances we’re in. While most of us bounce back to normalcy in a short period of time, others have a harder time of coping, and are often labeled by society as mentally ill and prescribed psychotropic drugs by doctors in the psychiatric field. These drugs often do more harm than good, and have come under harsh criticism as being promoted indiscriminately by psychiatrists to fill the coffers of the drug manufacturers.

The side-effects of psychotropic drugs:

In the last five years, more than 60 warnings have been issued by international drug regulatory agencies about the medical side-effects that arise when psychotropic drugs are used, especially by those under the age of 18 – suicidal tendencies, increased hostility, diabetes, heart problems, strokes, depression, anxiety, disinterest, hallucinations, mood and personality swings, sleep disorders, delusions, lack of concentration, increased heart rate, confusion, increased nocturnal urination, agitation, irritability, mania, tissue damage, imbalance of hormones, diminished sex drive, nightmares and trembling to name just a few.

Can we treat depression without psychotropic drugs?

The answer to the above question is yes, we can. By:

• Treating the cause and not the symptoms: A good physician is able to treat depression as well as if not better than a psychiatrist by identifying the underlying cause behind the feeling of intense sadness and negative emotions, and providing relevant treatment. Often the cause of depression is a sudden trauma, loss of a loved one or just loneliness.
• Checking general medical health first: A thorough medical examination often reveals that most patients suffer depression as a side effect of a greater problem, such as intense headaches and other pains caused by tumors or other chronic diseases and conditions. Treating those diseases will often solve the problem.
• Examining the drugs and antibiotics the patient is on: Some antidepressant pills cause depression while prolonged usage of antibiotics causes a weakening of the immune system leading to fatigue and anxiety disorders. Eliminating these drugs from the patient’s medication routine in a systematic and proper manner helps in the treatment of depression.
• Checking the food habits of the patient: Foods that are low in good fatty acids and rich in complex carbohydrates often cause depression. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (for which psychotropic drugs are normally prescribed) are usually found to be on a diet low in fatty acids and iron and high in sugar. Some foods cause allergies which in turn cause depression.
• Checking for conditions: Some conditions like extremely low blood sugar levels, thyroid problems and adrenal fatigue cause depression. Treating these conditions rids the patient of the somber mood.
• Following a pattern of good health: Eating healthy and nutritious food, getting enough physical exercise and sleeping well is often enough to treat depression at times. A mild sedative may be prescribed if sleep is elusive at first.

Very often, we find that mental healing is effectively accomplished with a combination of patience, tolerance and kindness. Trained medical personnel need to be committed to the patient’s well-being instead of immediately resorting to drugs or treatment by shock and incarceration.

A word of warning: It is not safe to stop psychotropic drugs abruptly without medical supervision or advice; the associated risks include side-effects and withdrawal symptoms.

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