Senate Aging Panel blows whistle on over drugging dementia patients

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 by: Monica G. Young
Tags: dementia, drugging, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
INVESTIGATION: Three days before Dr. Bradstreet was found dead in a river, U.S. govt. agents raided his research facility to seize a breakthrough cancer treatment called GcMAF
BOMBSHELL: China and America already at war: Tianjin explosion carried out by Pentagon space weapon in retaliation for Yuan currency devaluation... Military helicopters now patrolling Beijing
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
Italian court rules mercury and aluminum in vaccines cause autism: US media continues total blackout of medical truth
SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision may have just legalized the concealed carry of loaded firearms across all 50 states, nullifying gun laws everywhere
Orthorexia Nervosa - New mental disorder aimed at people who insist on eating a clean diet
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Nearly every mass shooting in the last 20 years shares one surprising thing? and it's not guns
(NaturalNews) Pharmaceutical companies view the elderly as a lucrative market. However a panel of experts at the recent Senate Aging Committee forum decided to speak up. Over-medication occurs far too often in those diagnosed with dementia, the panel warned, and as baby boomers age the problem will only worsen.

One reason overmedication occurs, per this panel, is family members, caregivers, and nursing home workers often misinterpret patients' complaints about physical ailments as unruly or aggressive conduct. To manage their behavior, such patients are administered antipsychotics they don't need.

About five million patients are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. "Those in this field have a feeling we're headed in a very fast train toward the end of a cliff," stated Patricia Grady, PhD, director of the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, Patricia McGinnis, demanded nursing homes be held "accountable" for the drugs they administer. "The way anti-psychotic drugs are used in nursing homes is a form of elder abuse," she told the forum. "Instead of providing individualized care, many homes indiscriminately use these drugs to sedate and subdue residents."

McGinnis urged for more informed consent before antipsychotics are given. She cited her own 89-year-old mother who was hospitalized for a broken hip, discharged to a nursing home and given an antipsychotic. McGinnis said her mother did not have dementia and didn't need the drug, and family members were never consulted.

Professor of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin, Christine Kovach, spoke of an elderly patient who kept saying "No, no, no" and protesting whenever someone tried to move her. She was put on an anti-psychotic. X-rays later disclosed an untreated broken hip.

Nonpharmacological approaches can help, said Laura Gitlin, PhD, Director of the Jefferson Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health in Philadelphia. She listed alternatives like personal counseling, education, skill training of family members, and simple and engaging activities.

Antipsychotics have been widely used to squelch disruptive behavior among people with dementia. However these drugs are especially life-threatening to older people, raising the risk of strokes, diabetes and falls.

"There's a bunch of problems, not least of which is those drugs can kill you," reported Dr. Mark Kunik at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston at the annual Gerontological Society of America's meeting. Instead of looking for physical causes of disruptive behavior, doctors typically prescribe drugs for dementia patients, he said, because "It's the easy thing to do. ... That's true in hospitals, in clinics and in nursing homes."

"Whether you have Alzheimer's or not, there's a reason people get frustrated or upset -- pain, urinary tract infections, hunger, fear of strangers or loud noises or strange settings, maybe drug interactions," Kunik stated. "If you figure that out, you likely can find a safer, nonpharmacologic treatment."

There are alternatives that work. Eva Lanigant, a resident care coordinator for a facility in Minnesota, was tired of seeing elderly patients drugged into a stupor. Working with a psychiatrist and a pharmacist, she started a project to replace drugs with massage, games, exercise, personal attention, better pain control and other techniques. They trained the entire staff to interact with dementia residents.

Within six months they eliminated antipsychotic drugs and cut antidepressant use by half. Lanigan reported, "The chaos level is down, but the noise is up: the noise of people laughing, talking, much more engaged with life. It's amazing."

About the author

Monica G. Young is a lifelong advocate for human rights. She is an educational researcher and writer with a purpose to expose the truth about the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries. She encourages non-drug alternative approaches based on healthy lifestyles and human decency.

Follow real-time breaking news headlines on
Dementia at
Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.