Originally published December 2 2014
Anti-anxiety, sleep medications increase likelihood of drug abuse - Relieve anxiety and get sleep naturally
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Adolescents given prescriptions for sleeping pills or anti-anxiety medications by their family doctors are up to 12 times more likely to go on to abuse those and/or other drugs into adulthood, according to shocking new research published by the American Psychological Association (APA).
A survey of more than 2,700 high school and middle school students living in the Detroit area revealed that nearly 10 percent of them had been prescribed either a benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax or Valium, or a sleeping medication like Ambien or Lunesta, at some point during their lives.
Students in survey previously prescribed medications 12 times as likely to abuse them after prescription runs outMore than three percent of the sampled students were still taking one or more of these medications at the time of the study. Based on a comparison with the other students, these students were found to have a 10-fold increased likelihood of drug abuse, often with the same medications they were originally prescribed.
For those students who had previously been prescribed sleeping or anti-anxiety medications, but who were no longer taking them at the time of the study, this drug abuse risk was even higher. Based on the data, they had a 12-fold increased risk of abusing these medications either by getting the drugs from friends or by taking them from family members.
The most sought after drugs were anti-anxiety medications, according to the study, which apparently provide a greater euphoric effect and a more powerful "high" than sleeping drugs. Those most at risk were white females, as well as those of all races and both sexes who had a valid prescription for several years.
"This is a wake-up call to the medical community as far as the risks involved in prescribing these medications to young people," stated lead researcher Carol J. Boyd, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.
"Prescribers and parents don't realize the abuse potential," she added. "These drugs produce highly attractive sensations, and adolescents may start seeking the drugs after their prescriptions run out."
Healthy diet, exercise, calming herbs and foods reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep Worse than the addictive properties of these legal drugs is the fact that they can be fateful when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, warn experts. These are the true "gateway" drugs that parents should be worried about, not harmless cannabis, a completely non-addictive herb with natural calming and anxiety-relieving properties.
Rather than drug your teen with mind-altering pharmaceuticals, why not encourage him or her to make some positive lifestyle changes that will help relieve anxiety naturally and promote restful sleep. These include cutting refined sugar and petroleum-based food colorings from the diet, as well as getting regular exercise, preferably outdoors in the natural sunlight.
Another simple way to relieve anxiety is to spend less time around computers, cell phones, wireless routers and other emitters of electromagnetic pollution. Turning off your electronic devices a few hours before bedtime will help your body sync into a natural circadian rhythm. Other helpful interventions include supplementing with natural herbs like valerian root, melatonin, and hops.
"Clinical studies indicate that nutrients such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, magnesium, and adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola can synergize with healthy eating habits and stress management techniques to effectively optimize the body's stress response mechanisms and support healthy neurological communication," explains the Life Extension Foundation (LEF).
"Moreover, compounds such as B-vitamins and amino acids can provide the raw materials the body needs to ensure proper neurotransmitter synthesis and signaling."
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