Mind Over Meds
What is more preferable? Mind over meds? Or, the mind on meds? Prescription drugs are now the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. Why? And, why are we so dependent on medications? And, are prescription medications always needed? In his latest book, Mind over Meds, renowned integrative medicine physician, Andrew Weil, MD answers these questions.
We now take 10 times as many drugs as we did in the 1950s. While prescriptions drugs have a role and can be life-saving, all drugs come with side effects and that is more true the more medications a person takes. And, these side effects are more serious than often portrayed.
In Mind over Meds Dr. Weil discusses the adverse reactions from drugs used to treat 15 different groups of medical conditions and also addresses drug use and concerns in special populations like the elderly and children.
In each chapter Dr. Weil provides alternative treatment options for each medical condition – proven alternative treatment options – that can be used to treat the very same problems with less risk for an adverse reaction.
The book is easy to read and well organized. If you suffer from a particular medical problem you can quickly jump to that chapter and find information regarding any adverse reactions caused by drugs for that problem.
In Mind over Meds, Dr. Weil reviews the following 15 drugs/medical problems.
- GERD medications
- Common cold and flu remedies
- Sleep aids
- Steroids (corticosteroids not anabolic)
- Psychiatric meds for adults
- Psychiatric mess for children
- ADHD medications
- Antihypertensive drugs
- Diabetes medications
- Drugs for osteopenia
Anything foreign to the body is toxic to the body. With the exception of vitamins and bioidentical hormones all drugs are foreign to the body. In Mind over Meds, Dr. Weil repeatedly states that drugs should rarely be used as a stand alone treatment – that they should be part of bigger game plan to deal with any medical problem. We agree with him.
Though not discussed in the Mind over Meds, a major problem we see with prescription drug use has to do with the disconnect in the way drugs are studied and the way drugs are prescribed. Drugs are studied in isolation for safety and efficacy, but are frequently prescribed in clusters (a statin coupled with two diabetic meds coupled with a blood pressure med coupled with an antidepressant) and those clusters of meds have never been studied for safety and efficacy.
This disconnect between the drug study approval process and prescribing habits makes practicing evidence-based medicine nearly impossible. For instance, the use of Lexapro (depression), lisinopril (blood pressure), metformin (diabetes), Lipitor (cholesterol) are safe and efficacious when used individually.
But, are they safe and efficacious when used in combination with one another? No one really knows. They have never been studied in combination. We now know the statin drugs can elevate blood sugar – so some meds negate the benefit of other drugs. And, the more meds that are used the more likely an adverse reaction will occur.
It seems obvious, but the fewer medications you need to take (including over the counter medications) the better off your health will be. Though it should be obvious, the number of prescription drugs you take is a direct reflection of your health and lifestyle. So watch your lifestyle. Many drugs can be avoided with closer attention to exercise and nutrition.
We encourage our readers to read Mind over Meds. Order above.