Razors Edge Two
# 3 Talker on Senior/Teen/Armed Forces Depression and Suicide
In my emails today were two articles that caught my eye. So I went online, doing some Goggle searches. What a sad, serious state of affairs those searches revealed. While the article was on seniors and teens, what also came up in my search, was about the alarming suicide rates in the various armed forces.
While I could post my further thoughts here, and they are many, will settle for you reading the article and doing what you deem appropriate in your actions.
Most people make a critical mistake when they use common over-the-counter medications.
They assume these drugs are safe.
Fact is, most of them are not — many are a lot more dangerous than you’ve been led to believe.
Take this latest study, which finds that a common ingredient in many OTC meds can harm the brains of seniors.
University of Indiana researchers found that diphenhydramine, which is used in some of the most popular cold, allergy, pain and insomnia drugs, can block a key neurotransmitter.
And that can have a disastrous effect on an aging brain.
The study, published in May in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging, found that seniors on these meds — especially those who take more than one drug containing diphenhydramine — are at risk for cognitive impairment.
At its extreme, that can cause delirium — an acute brain dysfunction that can lead to institutionalization or even death.
The researchers also believe taking a drug with this ingredient for 90 days or more can triple your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
And yet there they are, on the shelf of your local pharmacy, available to anyone without a prescription and without any overt indication that these meds could have this kind of effect on your brain.
Not only that, but because this ingredient is in so many drugs, many people — especially seniors — can take several pills containing diphenhydramine without even realizing it.
These researchers are still looking at this ingredient to see what its long-term effects may be. I have no doubt that it won’t be very good — especially for seniors. Most of our older friends already take far too many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter pills.
Seniors may also have different reactions to common prescription drugs.
Take the latest study on sleep meds and sedatives. Not only are these drugs mostly unnecessary in the first place, because insomnia and sleeplessness can be treated safely and naturally, but they’re also especially dangerous for seniors.
Many of them can be habit-forming and more than a few have some pretty unpleasant side effects. And now, we’re learning that seniors on these meds are at increased risk for suicide.
That’s right, suicide.
Swedish researchers reviewed the records of seniors who had committed suicide, and compared them against a group of similar seniors who had not.
And they found that even after adjusting their data to compensate for psychiatric conditions, seniors who took meds to help them sleep were four times more likely to kill themselves, according to the study published in the June issue of BMC Geriatrics.
If you’re battling sleeplessness, consider that an incentive to deal with it the right way. Find the cause — don’t just take a drug that tricks your body into falling asleep while exposing you to any number of unpleasant or even deadly side effects.
And whether it’s a prescription sleeping pill or an over-the-counter cold med, think twice before you take any drug.
If your doctor is the one telling you to take these pills, always — always — ask about your alternatives.
There are few things worse than a depressed child — but a depressed child loaded up on meds he doesn’t need is one of them.
Two of the biggest problems when it comes to teens and depression is that many are overtreated — while many others are not treated at all.
Both approaches are wrong, and both can lead to lifelong problems and even the saddest ending of all — suicide.
New research shows that it doesn’t take much to get a child back on the right track — it just needs to take place early.
A study in the June issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association shows how well teens respond to simple nondrug therapies, such as cognitive behavioral instruction.
In this study, researchers followed teens with a history of depression or symptoms that fell just short of a depression diagnosis. These kids also had at least one parent who had suffered from depression.
Half of the kids were sent to weekly cognitive behavioral instruction sessions for 8 weeks, and monthly sessions for six months. The other half were allowed to seek whatever treatments they wanted.
The kids who went through the 90-minute sessions were less likely to suffer from an episode of depression. In fact, just 21.4 percent of kids in the group sessions experienced depression during a nine-month follow-up, versus 32.7 percent in the control group.
These group sessions won’t help everyone, but even then drugs are not always the answer. The real answer lies in your child’s body.
Sometimes, the answer is simple — just not in the place most doctors look. I’ve found that many depressed patients just need additional tryptophan, vitamin B6 and/or vitamin B12.
The single most important thing to understand is that your child’s depression should not go untreated.
Just as you shouldn’t rush to put your teenager on expensive prescription drugs, you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms and hope they’ll just go away, either.
Chances are, they won’t.
Remember, depressed teens often go on to become depressed adults. And depressed adults are at risk for a number of problems, including drug and alcohol abuse and suicide.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if you treat it early.
(July 14, 2009 Google searchs) Results 1 – 10 of about 13,800,000 for suicide rates. (0.13 seconds
Results 1 – 10 of about 62,000,000 for suicide [definition]. (0.15 seconds
Results 1 – 10 of about 3,550,000 for how to commit suicide. (0.19 seconds
Results 1 – 10 of about 1,950,000 for suicides in the armed forces. (0.29 seconds)
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