Don’t miss out on a drug free life.

Medication is a very powerful tool in modern society. It can be extremely beneficial for many conditions and 7 in 10 Americans are currently prescribed some kind of drug.

However, I think sometimes we are too quick to agree to pills. We are a fast paced society and everyone seems to be in a constant rat race to get things done. In our busy convoluted lives solving problems with an easy-to-swallow remedy is quite appealing.

What are some of the long-term effects of taking medications? Have these medications actually been in existence long enough to complete studies following a users life? There are many side effects to medications and some come with sacrifices.

One example would be anti-depressant medications. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are normally the drug of choice. These have physical and emotional side effects sometimes leaving the patient worse off than before. There is also a lifestyle and sometimes a financial commitment that comes with the prescription.

All these factors aside, there are still many questions about the long-term effects of the medication. Currently, there seems to be no clear indication of how long patients can continue these treatments.

What if we could bypass all of the risk and negative side effects? What if patients could learn to manage the disruption in their thinking patterns by alternative methods? There seems to be some promising new opportunities emerging in the health field.

Many experts have been starting to embrace Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM). This method uses pharmaceuticals as well as other treatments. While this does not completely eliminate drug use, it allows for less dependence on it.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used in a CAM method or on its own. It has shown to be efficient in helping patients manage their depressive symptoms. The treatment is done with a health care professional and the focus is to change behavioral thinking patterns. Patients are encouraged to engage in enjoyable activities with an overall goal to improve their quality of life.

Mindfulness has been increasing in popularity with patients with depression and has been accepted by professionals. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has emerged from this acceptance. While this may seem similar to CBT, it differs inthe focus of the therapy. CBT focuses on the content of ones thoughts, while MBCT focuses on the patients relationship their thoughts. The goal is to be closer and more understanding of where negative thoughts come from.

Physical exercise has been greatly promoted based on the fact that exercise releases endorphins, a natural mood lifter. While the results have shown mixed results in adolescents, adults seem to show improvement in symptoms after continuous use.

Herbal remedies have also been on the rise. One study reported that when it comes to anxiety, 21% of patient’s are currently using herbal remedies. 51% of these patients self prescribed the treatment. The herbs can come in the form of teas, tablets, capsules, liquid formulas and creams. Roseroot herb and Saint John’s wart are the most common choices for anxiety.

Lastly, the use of vitamins has been encouraged. Omega-3-Fatty acid is one vitamin that has proven effective. Fatty acid is involved with neurotransmitter synthesis and has shown to be effective especially in patients with depression.

In conclusion, each person is different and their needs as a patient may be unique. While treatment by a professional is always recommended, being cognosente of all options could prove equally beneficial.

References:

Eisendrath, S. (2011). Adapting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Cognitive and behavioral practice, 18(3)

Peck, K. (2015). Traditional and alternative treatments for depression: Implications for migraine management. Headache, 55(2)

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Graphic of woman exercising retrieved from: http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/15250

Graphic of vitamins retrieved from: http://www.public-domain-image.com/free-images/science/medical-science/medicines-drugs/vitamin-b-complex-drugs-and-omega-three-acids/attachment/vitamin-b-complex-drugs-and-omega-three-acids