Prescribed Memory Loss: Drug-Induced Alzheimer’s
There are so many people taking prescription drugs to help alleviate anxiety and depression. Many do not thoroughly read the prescription side effects and warnings. What is most disturbing is most highly prescribed benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax, and Ativan inhibit neurotransmitter communications. What does that mean? It means, these drugs can kill memory. The writers for RXList.com state that “all benzodiazepines affect gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter chemical that nerves use to communicate with one another” (retrieved from www.rxlist.com).
Anxiety and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is scary. Several years ago, I began caring for an elderly cousin diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He had become a shell, stuck in his personal Ground Hog’s Day. Once an animated and lively man whose greatest joy was to make people laugh, my cousin quickly descended into a dark mental abyss. His descent was rapid, happening within a few months of moving in with me. Although I had a part-time nurse and full-time health aide, it eventually became impossible for me to care for him at my home. He began wondering away from my home in the early morning hours thinking he was in his Alabama childhood neighborhood some 60 years prior. After putting him in a nursing home, he died within a year at 82.
A dose of Lithium can do you bad
Included in the daily cocktail of pills, my cousin was prescribed lithium. This was supposed to be for his benefit, a pill to help keep him calm. I didn’t know much about side effects and never questioned the dosage. With so much news about the devastation of Alzheimer’s, and the possibility of drug treatments potentially the culprits, I decided to learn more about this disease. What I have learned is frightening.
I have begun to notice my short-term memory is failing. For year, I have taken prescription anti-depressants. In the past few years, I have noticed subtle memory loss. Could the drugs be the cause? I’m unsure; but I’m determined to learn more.
I don’t have an extensive family history of Alzheimer’s. My parents are in their 70s and their memories are fine. I’m constantly playing challenging memory games to exercise my brain. I began learning how to play guitar. I struggle to memorize basic cords, finger positions, and its parts. I have always been the type to challenge my learning capacity. Am I afraid? Of course, I’m afraid. I thought taking anti-depressants was a good decision. I followed medical advice that the ‘benefits outweighed the risks’. Now, the risks outweigh the benefits.
You own your health!
You only have one life to live. Live it according to you. You can take control of your health by
- NEVER stop your medications without the supervision of your doctor. Side effects could be deadly.
- Never ignoring your intuition. If it doesn't 'feel' right, question it.
- Ensure you are getting the best results from prescriptions by discussing your concerns with your doctor
- READ! READ! READ those prescription inserts. The Internet is filled with information should you need more in depth clarification.
- Check family history for potential Alzheimer's disease.
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