Depression, Anxiety, ADHD OH MY!

I first want to apologize for taking forever to blog. I have no real excuse.

As a pharmacist I check over scripts for depression and anxiety literally Monday-Friday and at least once or twice a week for ADHD. I’ve talked with mom’s about their children and what they might do besides amphetamines which are powerful drugs. I’ve discussed with some what they might do to deal with depression. Recently I had someone ask me about heart disease because he was prescribed niacin and hated the way it made him feel. I finally had enough. It was time to hit the research and case reports to see what I could find.

Here are a couple of studies if anyone wants to read:

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/303/1/47?home
http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045

From the first study the researchers reported the following: “What makes our findings surprising is the high level of depression symptom severity that appears to be required for clinically meaningful drug/placebo differences to emerge, particularly given the evidence that the majority of patients receiving ADM in clinical practice present with scores below these levels.”

and from the second: “Drug–placebo differences in antidepressant efficacy increase as a function of baseline severity, but are relatively small even for severely depressed patients”.

Essentially what they’re saying here is that antidepressants don’t do much for most people and only help the severely depressed, but even then the help is small. In other words your just as well of taking a sugar pill or a rock and getting the same result. At least with a placebo you don’t have the sexual dysfunction and any of the other wonderful side effects that come with antidepressants.

Another study came out last year talking about how duloxetine, which is an SNRI-SSRI which means it not only block serotonin reuptake like drugs such as fluoxetine and sertraline, it also block norepinephrine reuptake. The study can be found at the following link:

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1107437

They show that over a long period of time people with depression did overall better than placebo but they did mention this little tidbit:”However, some patients receiving these medications did more poorly than patients receiving placebo.” So you were actually better off had you received no drug at all if you were one of those people.

Now I’m not trying to belittle anyone that does have depression or taking these drugs. I think depression is real and so is anxiety and so is ADHD. I do think diet and activity plays a role in helping us be healthy mentally. I think some people go through times of hardship and pain that can last days, weeks, months and even years. I’m not making this a post about depression in and of itself. I can’t talk about something without giving some advice on the topic. It’s just my nature. Diving into a topic for the sake of diving into it just isn’t me.

Anxiety can be a problem for some. I have firsthand seen some of the effects of anxiety in myself during different periods of my life while under increased stress. I’ve known people with stress and we all know that stress will screw you up. ADHD can make life stressful for parents and teachers alike. Powerful drugs are usually the Rx the docs will write for most and they are powerful. Some will get benzodiazepines which can cause addiction and in serious cases people can die from withdrawal. Amphetamines and other stimulants can cause heart problems and are being used from college students to moms just to get through the day. I was listening to NPR the other day on a drive home from work and the subject being discussed on the program On Point was the illicit use of amphetamines in schools for academic performance. I personally know a couple of people from college who used them on occasion for the same purpose. One mom actually called in and said that she used when she needed to get a lot of work done around the house. Kind of scary if you ask me.

So what to do? I was having a lazy Saturday a few weeks back and decided to watch some documentaries on food. Food Matters was one of them and I found some of the content interesting. It sounded like some were pushing a vegetarian diet which I don’t support, but of course I do support the use of fresh veggies as part of a regular diet. One of the researchers that was interviewed extensively during the film was Andrew Saul. Dr. Saul has done research into vitamin therapy for different disease states. One of the things he mentioned was a doctor by the Abram Hoffer who was a pioneer in using niacin for treating schizophrenics and depressed patients. He also helped Bill Wilson (the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) get over his depression using niacin daily. The story can be found at this link:

http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_niacin.html

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty in this post but there was some great success with the use of niacin in alcoholics. Dr. Hoffer had much success using niacin in people with schizophrenia in his psychiatric practice and found other uses as well and as you can tell from the post title, ADHD and depression are some of those. There may be some benefits for cardiovascular disease and arthritis as well. We’ll be diving into some of those thing in the following post. Until then,

CIAO

The Brute

Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability  for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.

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