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Another Deadly Consequence of Prescription Drugs

There’s nothing quite so sad as watching older people hobble around, living the last years of their life in pain and discomfort. What’s worse is knowing that much of their discomfort is from the prescription drugs they’re on. One drug for this, another for that, another for the side effects of those. And they’re still in pain. Probably feel like zombies. And the drugs, instead of making them better, are causing even more problems – including contributing to sometimes debilitating or fatal falls.

A study that was recently done in Sweden on 64,000 people over 65 who had fallen and injured themselves badly enough to have to be hospitalized. When they looked for the cause of the falls, they found that women taking opioid painkillers (e.g. OxyContin, hydrocodone, oxycodone) and men taking antidepressants were twice as likely to injure themselves in a fall as those who weren’t taking those drugs. For woman taking antidepressants, the likelihood of injuring themselves in a fall was 75 percent more likely.

The researchers said there’s no real way to prove that the drugs caused the fall, but said that if people taking these drugs are also experiencing vertigo, dizziness, drowsiness, psychomotor impairment, muscular weakness or cognitive impairment, then doctors should try to find alternatives to the drugs they’re taking so the risk of fall and injury is lowered.

In the U.S. there are 40 million people over 65. About one third of them take at least 8 medications every day!  For most people, it’s likely that those 8 include some in the categories most linked to falls in the study. Which means more than 13 million older people are at risk of falling and injuring themselves. And, of course, many of the other two thirds of the 40 million – those who don’t take as many as 8 medications – are also likely to be taking the same drugs.

Why are Seniors Taking These Drugs?

  • Insomnia or other sleep difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Trauma
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Pain of any sort – even though many of the painkillers are only approved for chronic and very severe pain

None of these drugs actually fix anything – they just, sometimes, relieve the symptoms. But they come with very long lists of dangerous, uncomfortable, and sometimes fatal side effects.  Everything from dizziness or short and long term amnesia to wanting to kill yourself!

But there are often ways to actually cure the problems the drugs are being used for, or at least treat them with something that doesn’t have disastrous side effects and make a person more ill than they were.

Insomnia and sleep problems, for example, can be caused by:

  • Going to bed late. The body is constructed to go to bed fairly early and get up early so you are awake when it’s light out and sleeping when it’s dark.
  • Not having enough light during the day – living in a bright environment or going outside is vital.
  • Not having things dark enough at night – when light comes through the eyes into the brain, it interferes with the hormones responsible for sleep.
  • Other hormonal imbalances, especially growth and stress hormones.
  • Losing a loved one or a job
  • Being ill or having had surgery
  • Problems at work or in some other part of life
  • Being worried or upset in any way
  • Travel, especially through time zones
  • Menopause
  • Drug side effects
  • Caffeine and nicotine
  • A host of medical conditions: allergies, prostate problems, arthritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), rheumatologic conditions, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, hyperthyroidism, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, frequent urination, and pain.

Did your doctor thoroughly check into all of the things above before prescribing sleeping pills? Did he investigate the symptoms to see what might be causing them? Did he look for alternative solutions instead of drugs? Chances are he did not.

And chances are he did not investigate and explore all the possibilities for the problems he prescribed the other drugs for either.

Find a Doctor Who Will Look for the Cause and the Cure, Not Just Prescribe Drugs

There are doctors who will dig in and find out what’s causing your problems and address the cause instead of simply prescribing drugs to relieve the symptoms. Look for anti-aging specialists or doctors who practice functional medicine. They’ve studied wellness, not just sickness, and know how to get to the bottom of things.

They will do extensive testing and work out a proper program to be followed.

Everyone wants their parents, grandparents, and themselves to feel good and live a healthy, productive happy life for as long as possible.

The process has to include getting off the drugs, of course. A professional drug detox program might be needed – stopping prescription drugs on your own can be very dangerous – or, if it’s gotten to the point of addiction, maybe even a drug rehab. In either case, some form of drug addiction help will be needed.

Call us to find the best program for your situation. And get starting on helping your older loved ones can get back to having a good life.

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