The Over-Medication of Americans

Education Blog 01-14-15

I remember back as a kid listening to Rolling Stones’ records with my older brother and sister and hearing Mick Jagger sing about something called “Mother’s Little Helper.”

I was about five years old at the time and had no idea that he was referring to frazzled housewives popping anti-anxiety pills, but sadly it appears that right around the 1950’s and 1960’s is when we started to see a shift toward a “better living through chemistry” existence.

And has the you-know-what ever hit the fan since then.

We’re now to a point where 70 percent of us takes at least one prescription medication per day, half of us takes at least two medications each day, and 20 percent takes five or more drugs every single day!

Am I the only one who’s wondering what on earth is going on here?

That’s not to say that medications aren’t necessary in certain cases—of course they are, and they have enhanced the quality of life for and/or saved the lives of many people.

But when it’s the norm and not the exception to have to rely on chemicals every single day, something is seriously going awry.

And what makes this even scarier is that the class of drugs that has shown the greatest increase over the last several decades is mind-altering and body-numbing drugs—specifically ADHD drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, painkillers and antidepressants.

Let’s take a closer look at the potential dangers of each of these, as well as explore some ways you can safely and naturally help your body and mind from within, so that you may be a less likely candidate to climb aboard the “medication train.”

ADHD drugs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in seven children in the US receives a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by the time they turn 18, and that includes one in five high school aged boys.

At least 70 percent of those are prescribed stimulant medications like Adderall or Ritalin.

Plus ADHD drugs have also lately gained a reputation as “cognition enhancers” among college students and young professionals—many of whom have not even been diagnosed with ADHD.   Researchers estimate that up to 30 percent of these young adults are using ADHD drugs without a diagnosis.

So of course prescriptions for these drugs have shot through the roof.  48.4 million prescriptions for ADHD stimulants were written in 2011, up 39 percent from 2007.

Contrary to what you may believe, the drugs prescribed for ADHD are FAR from “mild.”

They’re actually Class 2 narcotics, regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a controlled substance because they can lead to dependence, heart attack, stroke, seizures, stunted growth and more.

That doesn’t sound too “mild” to me.

Here are just some of the frightening side effects of the popular ADHD drugs:

  • Permanent brain damage
  • Increased cancer risk
  • Changes in personality, depression and suicide
  • New or worse behavior and thought problems
  • New or worse bipolar illness
  • New or worse aggressive behavior or hostility
  • Psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not real, hallucinations, paranoia)
  • Sudden death in people who have heart problems or heart defects
  • Stroke and heart attack
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Slowing of growth (height and weight) in children
  • Seizures
  • Eyesight changes or blurred vision

And let me remind you that at the same time these drugs are being taken in increasingly staggering numbers, we’re also seeing increased acts of violence and shootings in our schools.

I’ll let you ponder that thought while we move on to…

Anti-anxiety medications

Benzodiazepines, a class of anxiety drugs that includes Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan, are also wildly popular and are used to treat not only anxiety, but also mood disorders and insomnia.

According to data presented by the World Health Organization, women have the highest utilization rate of anti-anxiety medications–11 percent (more than one out of 10) of middle-aged women ages 45-64 were on an anti-anxiety drug treatment in 2010, nearly twice the rate of their male counterparts at 5.7 percent.

But the most disturbing increase in the use of anxiety medications was seen in children ages 10-19—their use increased by almost 50 percent from 2001 to 2010!

Typical side effects from benzodiazepines can include drowsiness, dizziness, increased saliva production, or change in sex drive/ability, mental/mood changes such as hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, slurred speech or difficulty talking, loss of coordination, trouble walking and memory problems.

As if those aren’t enough, one of the biggest problems with anxiety medications is they can produce a very strong physical dependence in as little as 14 days, and this dependence that can create life-threatening withdrawal seizures and other consequences when trying to quit the medications.

And here’s the scariest part of all:  Benzodiazepines are frequently prescribed along with opiates—narcotic painkillers such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl—which can increase your risk of death!

You see, both benzodiazepines and opiates are sedatives that slow down your respiration (which can lead to death), and therefore the risk is greatly enhanced when the two drugs are combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the combination of benzodiazepines and opioids accounts for about 30 percent of all opioid-related deaths.

And speaking of opioid painkillers, they’re our next category…

Prescription painkillers

Our use of painkillers in this country (particularly morphine-based pills) has increased 600% from 1997-2007!

Get this–by the year 2010, the US, with about only 5 percent of the world’s population, was consuming 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone (the narcotic drug in Vicodin), along with 80 percent of the oxycodone (in Percocet and OxyContin), and 65 percent of the hydromorphone (in Dilaudid)!

And sadly, the death rates from overdose have gone through the roof as well.

According to a recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in little over ten years (1999-2010), deaths from prescription painkiller overdose—both accidental and intentional—shot up 400 percent among women and 265 percent in men!

Plus painkillers can increase your risk of developing depression.  Research shows that taking a narcotic painkiller for 90 to 180 days can increase the risk for depression by 25 percent, and people who take opioids for 180 days or longer are at a 53 percent increased risk of developing depression.

And by the way, that’s the final category of drugs we’re talking about today…


The list of antidepressant side effects is staggering and includes nausea, nervousness, headaches, sleepiness, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, digestive problems and weight gain.

Plus studies are continuing to show that antidepressants do not work as advertised. In addition, despite the “happy” faces on the people in the ads, antidepressants can cause suicidal and homicidal tendencies, as well as deterioration into even more serious mental illness.

And if you don’t think that there’s even a remote connection between these “side effects” and the increasing acts of random violence we’re seeing in this country, then there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

What you can do

If reading what I said above has concerned, disturbed, angered or even frightened you, I understand.

And as much as I would love to say I was only kidding with everything I wrote above, I can’t.  I have simply passed on the facts.

However, don’t think that there’s nothing you can do except hope your number doesn’t come up in the physical pain or psychiatric illness lottery.

On the contrary, there’s plenty you can do–by helping to create better physical and mental health from within!

When you help create an internal environment that encourages your body AND mind to work like they should, you are far less likely to encounter physical or mental health problems to begin with.

Here are three important, possibly life-saving steps you can take:

1)  Have a nutritious diet of real foods

Nutrient deficiencies are the culprit behind many a mental and physical health challenge.

For example, kids diagnosed with ADHD have repeatedly been shown to have low levels of magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin B6.

Many people who suffer from depression are deficient in numerous vitamins and minerals, especially B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium.  Plus Candida overgrowth has been linked to depression, and that’s typically caused by eating too many refined carbs.

In addition, the excess acid wastes created by a poor diet can contribute to the inflammation that’s behind the chronic pain that so many people on opioids suffer from!

So having a nutrient-rich diet can go a lot farther than you think in helping to make you feel better in body and mind!

Now don’t you dare think I’m talking about having a “bland diet” or existing on rabbit food!

No–I’m talking about real, good-for-you foods that not only taste delicious and are LOADED with crucial nutrients, but are a cinch to prepare and far easier for your system to digest.

I will show you all you need to know in the Great Taste No Pain health system

or if you have gluten challenges, Great Taste No Gluten.

Both systems give you easy to understand instructions that show you why eating real foods and having efficient digestion is SO effective, and teach you the simple principles you need to know to create delicious meals that are far less of a burden on your system.

You’ll learn the importance of having an alkaline pH, why processed foods and fast food not only don’t nourish you but practically guarantee you’ll be sick and medicated, and how to help encourage all of your systems and organs to work in tip-top shape!

Plus you’ll also get a recipe book filled with tasty dishes that will likely soon become hits with the entire family!

2) Bring your gut back into balance

The Standard American Diet is murder on your friendly gut flora…and over time, this can affect your ability to absorb essential nutrients, as well as contribute to anxiety and depression.

Plus medication residue in your intestinal tract also throws off your flora balance.

And since you saw up above how important nutrients are to your mental and physical health, imbalanced gut flora is not something you want to have—it’s an invitation for trouble to brew.

Eating nourishing real foods like I mentioned above can certainly help rebuild your flora, but for many people, that’s not enough…especially if you’ve had anything resembling a typical diet or have taken medications for a long time.

That’s why a multi-strain probiotic supplement like Super Shield can be so beneficial for so many people.

Super Shield’s 13 strains of friendly flora each have their own unique job in terms of how they help enhance your health.  More strains means a wider variety of protection against sickness.

And Super Shield contains both strains of Lactobacillus bacteria (which live in your small intestine) and Bifidobacteria strains (which reside in your large intestine or colon), so this important stretch of your immune system is well covered end to end!

3) Get enough Omega-3 essential fatty acids

A deficiency in Omega-3 essential fatty acids is another leading cause of inflammation and pain, as well as poor mental functioning!

So it’s crucial to make sure your Omega-3 supply is what is should be.

The best ways to do this are to eat more fatty fish that are sources of this essential nutrient as well as taking a fish oil supplement.

VitalMega-3 is a potent pharmaceutical-grade fish oil that delivers a full 1,000 mg. of the necessary EPA and DHA essential fatty acids in every daily 2-capsule serving.

VitalMega-3 can help bring your Omega-3 EFA level to a more desirable range and encourage your natural anti-inflammatory mechanism to work like it should, as well as pamper your brain with the ever-important DHA that it so desperately needs.

Certainly, medications have their place in our society, and there are times when they are absolutely necessary—that cannot be denied.

However, you also have to DO YOUR PART to make sure your body and mind function like they are supposed to!

When you do, I’m sure you’ll be very excited about the changes you can see…and you may very well help prevent the need for medications to begin with.

And even if you are already on medications, by helping to create a healthier internal environment, you just might be able to talk to your doctor about other alternatives, reducing your dose, and maybe even weaning off them altogether!

Wouldn’t that be nice?


One thought on “The Over-Medication of Americans

  1. Thank you for this detailed post. I do believe in keeping things natural if possible. When I first approached doctors for my anxiety, a natural/therapeutic option wasn’t even suggested, they insisted on medication before letting me in therapy which to me should never be the first resort – it is never supposed to be a long-term solution, nobody wants to be stuck with prescriptions for the rest of their life and changes to your lifestyle can have far longer-lasting impacts with less negative side effects.

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