When it comes to Big Pharma’s misdeeds, the opioid epidemic gets most of the headlines. And for good reason. More than 400,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses in the past 18 years.
Not surprisingly, sales of opioid painkillers have plummeted and some have been pulled from the market.
But a new study shows that Big Pharma has found another way to profit from drug addiction.
Researchers have found that the number of people taking anti-anxiety pills (benzodiazepines) has more than doubled in just the past five years.
Most people aren’t aware of the dangers of benzodiazepines. They are highly addictive, both physically and psychologically.
Commonly prescribed medications such as Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Halcion (triazolam), and Klonopin (clonazepam) belong to this class of drugs.
About one-third of people who take benzos for six months or longer will have serious withdrawal symptoms such as seizures when they try to quit.
Dr. Donovan Maust of the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry was the lead researcher. He and his colleagues analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It’s an annual nationwide survey funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The goals of the study were to determine the prevalence of benzodiazepine use.
The information they uncovered was eye-opening…
Use of benzodiazepines is more than twice as high as it was thought to have been. Close to 13% of American adults used benzos last year.
As the number of prescriptions have risen over the past decade, overdose deaths have jumped exponentially…from 1,135 in 1999 to 8,791 in 2015.
A total of 25.3 million adults used benzos as prescribed last year. Another 5.3 million admitted to misusing the drugs. “Misuse” is defined as taking drugs in a way that is not directed by a doctor…taking a higher dose, or taking them more often or without a prescription.
Doctors say seniors are at higher risk when taking benzos. Since the drugs have a sedative effect, they can lead to falls and fractures.
This may be the worst part…
Even though they are killing thousands of Americans every year, benzos don’t even work for the conditions for which they are prescribed. Dr. Maust said the drugs are nearly useless for fighting anxiety, insomnia, or panic disorders.
“The current amount of use way, way exceeds what the evidence would support.” he said.
5 Natural Ways to Relieve Anxiety
The downside of taking benzos far outweighs any possible benefits. There are natural approaches to relieving anxiety that are more effective and risk-free:
- Take cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is derived from the cannabis or marijuana plant. But it doesn’t contain THC, which is the substance that gets pot users high. A study in the journal Neurotherapeutics found CBD has “considerable potential” to treat anxiety disorders. CBD is legal in most states, but not all. Check here to see if its kosher where you live.
- Don’t eat processed foods. They contain chemicals and preservatives linked to mood disorders. They are often packed with sugar, which can cause or aggravate depression and anxiety. Stick with fresh fruits and vegetables, wild-caught fish, and lean meats.
- Express yourself in writing. Research has found that keeping a journal helps people deal with negative feelings. And a study found that creative writing can help you cope with anxiety.
- Drink chamomile tea. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found chamomile was effective against generalized anxiety disorder.
- Spend time with a pet. Studies show that devoting time each day to petting a cat, dog, or any other animal relieves anxiety.
Editor’s Note: Big pharma wants you to believe that drugs are the answer to everything. If you’re interested in the effects of other commonly prescribed drugs, we list several others in our special report, The Top 10 Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs—And Their Natural Alternatives. It’s an important read for you and your family.