There’s a new king of the hill in the drug world. It’s no longer statins – the most popular category of drugs to lower cholesterol and the biggest money making drug of the past decade. Now there’s a new giant dominating that huge industry. And guess what it is? Anti-psychotics, the drugs they use in mental hospitals, of all things.
Do we really have that many severely mentally ill people? These drugs were originally created and sold only to treat schizophrenia and extreme manic-depressive disorder.
But now they’re no longer just being prescribed for mental illnesses that incapacitate people. And that’s how the drug companies have managed to make this the number-one selling drug.
They’re used for everything from dementia to anxiety, depression and many other general mental-health issues.
What makes it worse is that they’re being prescribed to two of our most vulnerable groups of people: children and the elderly.
Did you know that 25% of all nursing-home residents have been given these drugs?(1) You can only hope the drugs aren’t being used to make them sit down, shut up and stare at the walls all day. Especially because they can cause communication and cognitive problems in dementia patients.(2)(3)
The effects of using them on children are unknown… doctors have even prescribed them to children as young as two years old.
Meanwhile, these are some of the most dangerous drugs out there. Anti-psychotics have been linked to:
- A shortened lifespan
- Pneumonia (4)
- High-blood pressure (5)
- Heart disease (6)
- Weight gain (7)
- Stroke (8)
A bit of good news is that, as we speak, the government is suing drug makers to stop “off-label” use of anti-psychotics. (9)
Until then, if you or someone you love is coping with psychiatric, behavioral or developmental challenges, consider these natural alternatives:
Step 1: DON’T take anti-psychotic drugs unless you have a formal diagnosis of schizophrenia or manic-depressive disorder. Look for a doctor who prescribes a combination of strategies to treat your condition – such as natural foods and vitamin and herbal supplements – along with behavioral or developmental therapies.
Step 2: Be sure to eat foods that’ll lift your spirits. That means natural foods high in protein, vitamin B1 and omega-3 fatty acids. Proteins contain amino acids, which help to regulate emotions.
Also, foods rich in vitamin B1 – such as asparagus, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, green peas, tomatoes, eggplant and brussels sprouts – help to metabolize carbs that give your body energy and improve your mood.
In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are essential to brain function. In fact, low DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water fatty fish) has even been linked to schizophrenia. The best omega-3 sources are wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef, sacha inchi oil, nuts, leafy green veggies, eggs and avocados.
Step 3: Avoid processed foods, unfiltered water and unnecessary medications. Keep your system clean with plenty of filtered water, fiber-rich foods and probiotics.
Step 4: Make sure your hormones are in balance. Low testosterone can mean fatigue, depression and low energy – for men and women. But you can get your levels checked with a simple blood test. If your doctor finds an imbalance, consider hormone therapy.
Step 5: I recommend a daily dose of vitamin C. A new double-blind study published in Nutrition shows that it’s not just one of nature’s best immune boosters. It’s also an effective anti-depressant.(10) The best way to get your dosage of vitamin C is to eat citrus fruits, green pepper, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, steak and oysters. Or you can supplement with 500 mg twice a day.
Step 6: Exercise at least three or four days a week. It’ll boost your body’s feel-good chemicals. One of the most important is serotonin. Your brain needs balanced levels of this hormone to maintain a good mood. Short duration, high-intensity workouts, like my PACE program, are all you need to increase your serotonin levels. It only takes 12 minutes a day.
1. Wilson, Duff, “Side Effects May Include Lawsuits,” The New York Times Oct. 2, 2010
2. Ballard, et al, “The dementia antipsychotic withdrawal trial (DART-AD): long-term follow-up of a randomized placebo-controlled trial,” The Lancet Neurology February 2009; Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 151-157
3. Wilson, Duff, “Side Effects May Include Lawsuits,” The New York Times Oct. 2, 2010
4. TrifirÃ², M.D., et al, “Association of Community-Acquired Pneumonia with Antipsychotic Drug Use in Elderly Patients,” Ann Intern Med. April 6, 2010; Vol. 152, No. 7, 418-425
Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have been transforming the lives of his patients for over 15 years.
Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida with over 15,000 patients. Over the course of his career, he has developed his own approach to heart health, longevity and anti-aging medicine - combining the best of modern medical science with natural holistic techniques and treatments.