If you’ve ever been on a pharmaceutical medication that treated pain, depression, anxiety, or insomnia you may have had some unexpected results when you were trying to quit. As a person that has had long term anxiety, I have been prescribed benzodiazepines, SSRI’s, and a variety of pain medication throughout my life to treat my ailments. Since many of these wonder drugs are newer, the long term effects are still unknown and doctors often brand these as side effect and withdrawal free. Here are some of the less talked about side effects of prescription medication.
When you first decide to quit medication that is potentially addictive the first thing you have to worry about is withdrawal symptoms. Comparing my story to other testimonies I found that the symptoms I had suffered were like heroin or alcohol withdrawal, but worse. Withdrawal is caused by your body’s reaction to an absence of a chemical it had when it was stable, and it’s efforts to compensate. I had severe symptoms including but not limited to memory loss, hot and cold flashes, trouble focusing, a mix of lethargy and hyperactivity, shaking, and others. This all came from medications that my doctor assured me had almost no known side effects or withdrawal symptoms. Often after stopping an anxiety medication it would take me months to get back on my feet and in the worst case these symptoms slowed gradually over a year.
Some Meds Just Don’t Work
Like many over the counter medications, many prescriptions that doctors write have little or no effect on a wide range of people. My parents both have been prescribed medication for high blood pressure and hypertension various times. After about six months of switching medications back and forth they both finally found one that works for them individually, however, this included more than five prescriptions each. Finally after going through the third round of medication my mom asked why they hadn’t been working. The answer she received from the doctor was that although some people did have a benefit from the pills, neither he nor the manufacturer could guarantee good results for any one person. This was a huge waste of time and money for products that very few had good results from.
One thing I had experienced across the board when stopping my medication was severe insomnia. In the worst cases this lasted for months and I was only getting about four hours of sleep per night. When I told my doctor about this he offered to write me another prescription, which I politely declined. It seemed like a cruel joke that the worst insomnia I had ever had was after I had tapered myself off of a common sleep medication. The lack of sleep affected my work and personal life, and often left me in a hazed state that I felt was sometimes too unsafe to even drive a car. Finally, after about five months and a lot of natural remedies I started to recover and sleep normally again.
Doctors are very quick to write medications but don’t often speak with you about the cost of what they’re prescribing. What I didn’t know was that if your insurance deems your prescription unnecessary they can decline to cover any or all of it. When I was given anti-anxiety medication my insurance told me that anxiety conditions were elective medications and they could only cover 20 percent of the cost. This unknowingly stuck me with a $60 bill monthly for medication I was taking to lessen my social anxiety and to function normally. If you have basic health insurance you may be surprised that their view of what is a medical necessity and not varies greatly from what you are told by the doctor.
Diabetes comes from the body not being able to produce the right amounts of insulin or not being able to use the amount stored in the body properly. With my weight fluctuating rapidly between medications I was put at risk for type-2 diabetes, but what they told me was that I was eating too much and not being active enough. What I didn’t find out until much later was that prescription anti-depressants could actually cause diabetes itself. Research from the University of South Hampton has shown that antidepressants could be an independent risk factor for developing type-2 diabetes in many of its’ users. The medication itself could play a huge roll in severe weight gain and other factors contributing to diabetes.
All of these things I have learned over the ten years I experimented with trial and constant error prescription medication. For the last four years I have switched to more natural healthy remedies and my health is better than it has ever been before. The next time you go to the doctor be aware of these possible factors in what they are prescribing you and know the most important information may be the words left unsaid.
For more health related information from this author, check out:
Tips For Eating Healthy While Eating Out
10 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
8 Natural Diuretics to Add to Your Diet
Treatment Options For Prescription Drug Addiction- webMD
The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath- NY Times
10 Types of Meds That Can Cause Insomnia- AARP