Prescription drug overdosing have become commonplace at alarming levels. Particularly potent are opioid painkillers, most famously known as Vicodin and OxyContin. They have been seen in many media articles for their controversial effects. An up-and-comer, benzodiazepines are looking to overthrow opioids painkillers for deaths by medication. Benzodiazepines street names are: Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. They are on the rise because they have quadrupled since the late 90s. This class of drugs is also known commonly as Benzos. According to Dr. Jurrlink, who is the head of clinical pharmacology in Toronto told STAT News,
“Benzodiazepines are grossly overprescribed … and many people don’t necessarily benefit from them.”
Opioids, Benzos, Ants (insect) and Overdosing
The United States of America has less than 5% of the entire world population. Interesting fact, there are more people in Brazil and Pakistan than the United States. According to the BBC, in 2012 the US consumes over 80% of the worlds pharmaceuticals, especially in the pain killer and anxiety variants. So that’s 5% of the world’s population consuming 80% of the goods. This means the United States is consuming drugs at the freakish ratio of an ants weight compared to strength ratio.
The CDC has data highlighted the growing risks of anxiety drugs. Benzodiazepines accounted for 31 percent of the narcotic overdose deaths in 2011 (up from 13 percent in 1999), according to a 2014 CDC Report. Separate research showed the use of benzos has risen alongside the use of opioids, and sedatives. These two are often used alongside OTC painkillers to enhance the effect of the high achieved. If you’re wondering just how deadly opioids and benzos together are, Ohio used an opioid/benzo cocktail for a death-row execution. They didn’t have access to their regular
Despite their known risks, preliminary research presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine in 2014 which found that 12.6 percent of all primary care visits made by Americans between 2002 and 2009 involved prescriptions for sedatives/anxiety drugs and/or narcotic painkillers (opioids).
According to the CDC from 2000 to 2014 approximately 500,000 or half a million people died from drug overdoses, that averages to 78 people dying daily from an opioid overdose. This is equivalent to a school bus packed full of kindergartners crashing and killing all. If a school bus crashed everyday killing 78 kindergartners it would only take 2-3 days before all school busses were immediately stopped. Why is it acceptable for prescription drugs that are over prescribed and less than effective, are allowed to kill 78 people each day?
Children Are Overdosing on Benzos and Opioids
Upwards of 10,000 children under the age of six are hospitalized annually after ingesting family members’ medications. How do kids get ahold of these medications, its simple, parents. It because of the sharp rise in adults’ use of opioids and benzos, which were the top of the list of medications most often responsible for young children’s hospitalizations. According to a study in “Pediatrics, 2014 Sept.”
“Opioids (17.6%) and benzodiazepines (10.1%) were the most commonly implicated medication classes.”
Anxiety Drugs Are Highly Addictive and May Increase Risk of Dementia
Benzos work by affecting the action of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) the same way that opioids (heroin) and cannabinoids (cannabis) do. By enhancing GABA production and absorption these drugs produces a calming effect. It travels throughout your nervous system and activates dopamine release which is known as the gratification hormone
These medications follow a brain reward cascade system, which makes them addictive and also may effects like memory loss, dizziness, hip fractures from falls, and impaired thinking. It is also important to understand once your addicted you need to get off. Withdrawal has some ironic effects, the symptoms of going off anxiety medications include extreme states of anxiety, of which some are far worse than the original symptoms that warranted treatment in the first place. The Journal “Current Opinion in Psychiatry 2005, states that the symptoms that may occur with benzodiazepine withdrawal include: psychotic symptoms, tingling, numbness, and altered sensation, hallucinations both visual and auditory, formication (skin crawling), confusion, convulsions, delirium, and tinnitus.
Beyond the side from the risk of overdosing and addiction, we need to carefully consider the use of anxiety drugs, particularly long-term use. Adults and older adults who used benzodiazepines for three months or more had a 51 percent greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those who did not according to BMJ Sept 2014. The risks increased the longer the medication were used or with the long-acting strains. According to geriatric Psychiatry in July of 2009 a long term study of benzos was significantly associated to an increased risk of dementia, the recommendations were that benzos be avoided among elderly, due to risk of dementia and developing other health problems.
Non-Drug Options for Relieving Anxiety
Anxiety is a serious health issue. Sadly, most people who have this condition either ignore the problem or resort to pharmaceutical drugs, of which many are ineffective at the problem and some effects destroy your health and sanity more.
Remember that getting treatment isn’t limited to the drugs we have mentioned above. There is hope, many alternatives, of which all are natural. You have nothing to lose, there are not negative effects and much to gain. Focusing on lifestyle modifications before trying heavy medications is the most conservative and responsible course of action. You may be pleasantly surprised by how much these changes lessen anxiety and improve your ability to sleep soundly they way you are designed to.
Exercise strengthens positive pathways and the creation of new neurons which release including the calming neurotransmitter GABA. Exercise boosts levels of powerful brain chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These chemicals help buffer and mitigate the effects of stress. After you exercise many people experience a euphoria or surge of hormones which make you feel good. Recall a time that you have done good exercise and felt great afterwards.
Chiropractic is a well-kept secret. Many people know that the chiropractor is the doctor you see when you have neck, back, and joint troubles. What most don’t know is that chiropractic is the doctor you see on a daily or weekly basis to actually boost your health. You cannot do this with many other doctors. The picture above is highlighting a study done on the additional benefits of chiropractic care. This is due to the fact that chiropractors work on restoring and maintaining proper communication between the brain and all the organs by placing the body into a state of ease, the focus of the chiropractor is to enhance and improve health, not just symptom relief. Prevention is greater than the need for a cure. This is important for our topic on opioids and benzos because the study highlights that chiropractic patients had an 85% reduction in pharmaceutical costs, which may definitely keep you from having to seek these drugs.
Intestinal Flora Tune up
Your gut and brain are connected and each influences the other it powerful ways. The current research trends over the past few years have been heavily focusing on how gut health affects brain health. There are many studies linking poor intestinal flora, leaky gut syndrome, IBS, and colitis with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and overall cognitive decline. It also works the other way if your brain isn’t healthy from drug effects or mental stress it can easily disrupt your digestion and absorption.
Eating probiotic and prebiotic rich foods is the best way to strengthen and harvest protective gut bacteria. These bacteria aid in digestion, produce vitamins and minerals, and keep out harmful invading bacteria which helps with immunity. Optimize your intestinal flora, it’s a win-win strategy. It is important to eliminate sugars, processed foods, and unhealthy fats. You will need to eat lots of vegetables, especially fermented ones.