anxiety

Anxiety and Insomnia Drugs Elevate Risk of Death

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 by: Wee Peng Ho
Tags: insomnia drugs, death, health news

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(NaturalNews) If you've the habit of popping sleeping pills or tranquilizers like candy, this study could be a life-saving wake-up call for you: Taking sleeping and anxiety-relieving medications significantly elevate your risk of death!

Researchers at Universite Laval, Canada, found that using prescription drugs to treat insomnia and anxiety increases one's mortality risk by 36 percent, even after controlling for lifestyle behaviors that affect mortality rate, such as alcohol use, smoking, health condition and the level of physical activity.

The conclusion reached by Professor Genevieve Belleville and his team was based on 12 years of records of some 14,000 Canadians from Statistics Canada's National Population Health Survey. According to the team, the data comes from surveys which were carried out every two years between 1994 and 2007. It contains information on the social demographics, lifestyle and health of participants between the ages of 18 to 102.

The researchers proposed that the side effects caused by sleeping and anti-anxiety medications could be the reasons behind the link. Sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs are known to slow reaction time, cause drowsiness, impair thinking and wreck havoc on coordination. These effects would significantly increase one's chances of meeting with an accident, especially among the elderly.

Statement about the study added that: "They [Sleeping and anti-anxiety medications] may also have an inhibiting effect on the respiratory system, which could aggravate certain breathing problems during sleep. These medications are also central nervous system inhibitors that may affect judgment and thus increase the risk of suicide."

What isn't mentioned is that there are also genuine safety concerns related to the use of tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Use them together or mix any of them with alcohol or FDA-approved painkillers can produce serious drug interaction and even cause death. In 2008, a casual combination of anti-anxiety and sleeping drugs ended Australian actor Heath Ledger's life abruptly. Initially thought to be a case of recreational drug abuse, an autopsy instead found Xanax, Valium, Restoril and other pharmaceuticals commonly used for treating insomnia, anxiety, depression and pain inside Ledger's body.

Recognizing the real dangers involving sleeping and anti-anxiety drugs, Dr. Belleville warned: "These medications aren't candy, and taking them is far from harmless. Given that cognitive behavioral therapies have shown good results in treating insomnia and anxiety, doctors should systematically discuss such therapies with their patients as an option."

Details of the study can be found in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Sources:

Use of medication for insomnia or anxiety increases mortality risk by 36 percent (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-...)

Benzodiazepine Use and the Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash in the Elderly (http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstrac...)

Benzodiazepine Side Effects (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzodiazepine#...)

Heath Ledger Cause of Death Confirmed: Prescription Drug Toxicity (http://www.naturalnews.com/022602.html)



About the author

Wee Peng Ho is a health enthusiast who enjoys writing about physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Learn how to use anti-inflammatory food, natural herbs, selected quality supplements (such as Zyflamend), guided meditations and more to improve your life on his website. While you're at it, don't forget to claim your FREE subscription to his newsletter and get access to exclusive contents today!

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