The popularity of benzodiazepine drugs has shot through the roof in the last 20 years. Prescriptions have skyrocketed a stunning 67 percent, and with more folks on them than ever before, chances are good that you—or someone else you know—has taken one of these popular anxiety drugs before.
Millions of older folks are now taking benzos, despite seniors being particularly vulnerable to their side effects.
And they’ve been linked to a startling number of deaths—with a 500 percent jump in deaths attributed to benzodiazepine overdoses in the last two decades.
In fact, these heavy-duty anxiety drugs were responsible for the deaths of nearly 8,000 people by 2014, according to numbers from the CDC (see chart).
Now researchers have dropped another bombshell.
Benzodiazipine anxiety drugs can have serious side effects
If you’re on a benzodiazepine you might be at serious risk for Alzheimer’s disease. More on that connection in a moment, but first let’s take a closer look at how these drugs work.
Benzodiazepines depress your central nervous system. In other words, they sort of wrap you a drug fog that dulls everything down a few notches making your anxiety, depression or problems fade into the background. And if that sounds risky to you that’s because it is.
Benzo’s dull everything else in your life too, from your feelings to your reaction time (hello car accidents) to your breathing. And that last one can put you directly in harm’s way, because if you accidently combine your benzodiazepine with the wrong medication or alcohol—both common coping mechanisms for folks who suffer from frequent anxiety—you could die from the effects.
But now new research finds that if you do manage to not overdose on one of these addictive drugs they could still rob you of your life, just in a different way… by stealing away your precious memories, and eventually your own self-identity as Alzheimer’s sets in.
|Commonly Used Benzodiazepines|
|Ofni, Frisium, Urbanol(Clobazam )|
|Diastat or Valium (diazepam)/td>|
Benzos boost death and Alzheimer’s’ risk
According to researchers, just three months on a Benzodiazepine can raise your risk for Alzheimer’s disease an alarming 51 percent. And if you stay on them for 6 months or more that risk skyrockets by 80 percent, according to a study published in the journal BMJ.
Benzodiazepines are most often used to treat…
- panic attacks
- and muscle spasms
But the truth is there are plenty of ways to relive anxiety and improve mood without reaching for a dangerous prescription drug.
The adaptogenic hearty herb Rhodiola rosea can help relieve anxiety and bring down stress levels. In one study 200 mg of Rhodiola taken twice a day for two weeks slashed anxiety levels, cut through stress and helped improve mood, ease anger and reduce confusion in study participants.
Multiple studies have confirmed that probiotics can help ease stress and anxiety and even boost your memory. In one study, the strain Bifidobacterium longum significantly reduced stress and anxiety levels over a placebo. In fact blood tests on study participants who had received the probiotic for a month showed levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
In another study, a combo of Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus helveticus significantly slashed stress levels in seniors in just three weeks.
If you’ve ever taken a whiff of lavender oil and felt relaxed, or gotten a nose full of peppermint oil and felt sharper, it wasn’t just your imagination. Research shows aromatherapy with essential oils can have real word effects helping to ease anxiety and strengthen memory.
In one study on people experiencing extreme anxiety massage combined with lavender and geranium essential oils reduced anxiety levels including calming heart and respiratory rates.
Deep breathing is a great way to relax, drive down anxiety and even overcome panic attacks. Research shows that taking some time to do focused breathing can literally alter your body’s response to stress, coined “The Relaxation Response,” by Harvard researcher Herbert Benson.
The best thing about deep breathing is that not only is it effective, it requires no special equipment or big efforts on your part to do it. If you want to give deep breathing a try, but aren’t sure how to get started this short animated video can help.
And don’t forget the easiest remedy of all, one that you can begin taking advantage of beginning right now, is to harness the power of prayer.
Dr. Mark Stengler has appeared as a medical expert on FOX, CBS, NBC and hosts his own weekly PBS TV show, “Natural Healing with Mark Stengler.”
He’s also written 17 books, including “Prescription for Natural Cures” and The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies which have now sold over 1 million copies.
When he’s not busy sharing his knowledge of amazing alternatives to toxic mainstream therapies, Dr.Stengler practices what he preaches at his state-of-the-art Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in Encinitas, California.
Dr. Stengler has treated tens of thousands patients of all ages, with a wide range of health conditions, such as...
What makes Dr. Stengler different is his diverse medical training in conventional medications and natural alternatives.
This means he can combine the best of modern technology and traditional time-tested therapies, for safer, long-term treatments.
His track-record of success with this breakthrough approach has earned him national acclaim as “America’s Natural Doctor.”
Dr. Stengler completed premed studies at Mt. Royal College and the University of Calgary, and graduated from naturopathic medical school at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. He is Board Certified in Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Stengler lives in San Diego County, California with his wife and three children. He enjoys quality time with his family. His hobbies include several sports and theological studies.
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