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The Dangers of "Legal Brain Drugs"

After reading the work of Peter R. Breggin, M.D. and David Cohen, Ph.d my perspective on the use of prescription medications for psychiatric illness was dramatically impacted. The title of their book is "Your Drug May Be Your Problem" and they highlight some of the underlying issues associated with seeking emotional relief with prescription drugs.

They contend that psychiatric medications are not much different from other mind/mood altering drugs when it comes to activity in the brain. The expectation is to get relief from unwanted emotions and to feel better when the brain is impaired by these substances. Getting this relief by other natural means can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming for the average person today.

So people are willing to take the risk with many prescription drugs. More than 100, 000 people a year are estimated to die in hospitals from drug reactions. Drug reactions in hospitals may constitute either the fourth or sixth leading cause of death behind heart disease, cancer, and stroke (Journal of the American Medical Association).

Some of the troubling brain reactions to medications may be mental abnormalities including anxiety, depression and mania. Neurological disorders may include confusion and disorientation. Stimulants on the brain can lead to seizures, agitation, personality changes, sadness and often depression. While these few observations simplify the extent of their work it became obvious to me that people must become informed consumers before launching out on a protocol of psychiatric medications.

Many consumers today recognize that we have been subjected to an aggressive selling campaign by the drug companies. One of their goals is to convince us that these drugs are much safer and more valuable to brain function than they really are. Unfortunately, these legal drugs achieve their "benefit" by causing imbalances in the brain--producing chemical brain changes to dull emotions and judgment or to produce an artificial high.

The authors of this informative book have set forth meaningful conclusions throughout in an effort to teach alternatives to mind altering drugs. To begin, they say, the most important therapeutic tool when someone is experiencing emotional pain is a caring individual or group willing to create a safe space and a safe relationship.

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