Healthy Alternatives to Addictive and Dangerous Rx Meds

Nearly 70% of Americans take Rx medications to counteract serious physical or mental health conditions. We expect our Rx meds to help rather than harm, however that isn’t always the case. Some Rx medications have dangerous side effects that can leave you worse off than you were before.

There are several healthier options to Rx medication that can work as effectively, if not better.

Cucurmin for depression

Spice Tumeric on a white surface.

You probably have this in your kitchen cabinet. | iStock.com

A recent study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that 13% of Americans 12 and older take antidepressants.

Curcurmin, an active ingredient of the spice tumeric, has proved itself as a healthier alternative to Prozac. University Health News reported that, “as a natural antidepressant, curcumin worked as well as the prescription drug fluoxetine in terms of improvements in depression severity.”

Ginseng for ADHD

Ginseng and powder on a white table.

Ginseng has long been praised for its medical benefits. | iStock.com

Ritalin, a common stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, can have some dangerous side effects. Ritalin releases dopamine in the brain, which increases the potential risk of abuse and possibility of withdrawal symptoms.

Herbal treatments like ginseng are known to stimulate brain function and increase energy. A 2011 study reported improvements in anxiety, personality, and social function in 18 children with ADHD after researchers gave them 1,000 mg ginseng each for eight weeks.

Acupuncture and chiropractic sessions for pain

A chiropractor massages a patient's body.

A chiropractor can help pinpoint and treat pain. | iStock.com

Vicodin’s side effects range from less serious, like drowsiness, to highly severe such as mood interactions, difficulty waking, and the potential for overdose.

Vicodin is highly addictive and one of the most frequently abused drugs in America. Doctors recommend trying chiropractic sessions to relieve the cause of the pain rather than just the symptoms. “Pain can be caused by an interference in our body’s nervous system, so manipulating the body’s main nervous system channel to the brain– the spine — can help remedy aches,” says chiropractor and acupuncturist Sungwon D. Yoo.

Anti-TNF drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, allergies

A hand holding a glass of water and pills.

Your doctor might want to make substitutions based on the effects of your current medication. | iStock.com

Corticosteroids like Prednisone and Cortisone mimic the effects of hormones your body produces naturally. These drugs can trigger high blood sugar and lead to diabetes, and increase your risk of infection, osteoporosis, as well as concerning mood disorders.

Johns Hopkins’ Arthritis Center recommends using methotrexate, Arava, and anti-TNF drugs (Enbrel, Humira, Remicade) to reduce prednisone use. “The less prednisone the better,” Alan Matsumoto, M.D. says, “There is likely no totally safe dose.”

Herbal relief for acid reflux

Slippery Elm on a white plate placed on a table.

Slippery Elm could be the answer to your acid reflux problems. | Hakat

Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease is an irritating condition which affects 20 to 30% of people weekly. Prilosec is commonly used to treat the symptoms of acid reflux. Unfortunately, taking Prilosec may increase your risk of bone fracture in the hip, wrist, or spine among other common side effects.

Herbal relief is an option for those concerned with Prilosec’s side effects. Slippery elm has antioxidants that relieve inflammation and helps to protect your GI tract from excessive acid.

Valerian root for anxiety

Valerian Root on a wooden table with leaves.

It might be worth heading to the market for some valerian root. | Dirkr

Xanax is the most prescribed mental health drug and is used recreationally by millions. While it’s no secret we’re an anxious society as of late, this Rx med has deadly side effects. It can decrease concentration, lead to serious addiction, and has caused a spike in death by overdose over the last few years.

There are quite a few natural alternatives to Xanax. Valerian root offers similar benefits to Xanax including decreased anxiety, emotional assistance, and insomnia relief. Valerian has less serious addictive qualities and complications as Xanax, but still has its own side effects and dosage requirements.

Progestin-only birth control methods

Three types of birth control on a white surface.

You can explore different birth control options. | iStock.com

Yaz was involved in upwards of 1,800 individual lawsuits addressing serious blood clotting in women who used the oral contraceptive.

If you can’t imagine going off the pill, there are some progestin-only alternatives (instead of estrogen-progestin combination pills) that can work just as effectively. These “mini pill” brands like Camila and Errin are just a few of the options that are safer for women who have a history of blood clots or have high blood pressure.

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