“Drug Poop-Out Syndrome”

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When I speak with patients about their generalized anxiety issues, panic attacks or depression, probably the most common question I get is “…why can’t I find the right drug to solve my problem”?  Or “…Dr. Meyers, I was sure I had found the miracle drug for me—almost all of my symptoms went away for 6 months (or 2 years depending on the patient) but then it started to be less helpful and now it doesn’t do any good at all—why?

 

While there is no one single answer to these questions that fits all patients, there are some very important general concepts that you need to consider as you lay out your personal battle plan for attacking your anxiety issues.

 

Brain researchers have done wonderful work in the last 20 years that has given us incredible new insights into how the hardware (our central nervous system) and the software (the biochemistry of our central nervous system) of the brain work.  These new insights have given drug companies many new ways to try and control anxiety, depression and other brain based disorders.

 

And when a patient is put on the “perfect drug” that works for them, it can give incredible relief of their symptoms—with both patient and doctor breathing a sigh of relief.  So why do these “perfect drugs” almost always eventually quit working?

To understand the answer, it’s important to note that all drugs designed to help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression are synthetically manipulated to either enhance, reduce, or completely block an otherwise normally occurring biochemical or neuronal process—usually taking place somewhere in the brain.

 

But in Her wisdom, Mother Nature will eventually figure out what “trick” the drug is playing on Her system, and begin (sometimes in a few hours) to reprogram the brain’s software (biochemistry) to ignore the action of the drug, and the “perfect drug” stops working.  Doctor’s euphemistically call this “drug poop-out syndrome” because it will eventually occur in almost every patient almost all of the time—that’s why drug companies have to introduce new drugs so often.

 

Rather than trying to “trick” the brain, the BreakFree program is designed to work with Mother Nature to get to the root cause and rebalance the biochemistry that is causing the feelings of anxiety and depression.

 

Yours in good health,

Dr. Ron Meyers


Drugs -To Use or Not to Use

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Many of the questions I get in my practice are about drugs, and my answers seem to surprise most people. I think most people assume that I am somehow anti-medication, and this just isn’t true. My road to recovery involved medication, and for some people, this is the fastest way to get where they want to go.

 

My perspective is that drugs are just another tool in our toolkit for fighting anxiety. True, they are powerful and potentially harmful tools, but tools none-the-less. Each medication should be looked at with all of it’s pros verses all of it’s cons. If the benefits outweigh the costs, perhaps you should consider it.

 

I have always had the image that drugs are like life preservers. I imagine those old ring things that were thrown to drowning people. If you’re drowning in anxiety or depression, TAKE THE LIFE PRESERVER. But then I tell my clients to swim like crazy to get back on solid ground. (more…)


Anxiety and Medication

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As mentioned in a previous email, many people who have gone through the BreakFree Program either no longer need to take medication or only take medication on an “as needed” basis.

 

We at Break Free From Anxiety believe education is a critical component of your recovery. Dr. Meyers, Josh and I will be sending you some information to help you decide, in consultation with your doctor, whether you should take medication, which medication might be best for you, and when or if you should take medication during and after completion of the BreakFree Program.

 

As you know, I have the genetic predisposition for anxiety. I will always double respond to stress, therefore, this will be a lifetime problem for me. But, because I am extremely responsible and do not have the tendency to become addicted, my doctor and I decided that I would carry a quick acting medication in my purse.

 

Even though I very rarely use the medication, I feel more comfortable knowing I have access to a medication I can count on should I have a panic attack. I also have decided to take a small amount of medication if I anticipate I will be doing something that will produce enough anxiety that more damage will be caused to my body than taking medication. As an example, I take a small amount of medication the night before I fly to Europe so I am sure to get some sleep.

 

Our desire is for you to take the information we give you and, in consultation with your doctor, make the best choices for you to live a free and wonderful life.

 

Lots of love,

Polly 


Symptoms -Your Body’s Way of Talking

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Mary, a new patient, came to my office a few months ago complaining of chronic indigestion, fatigue, poor mental focus, constipation, high blood pressure, headaches and heart palpitations.

 

Mary had been to one doctor after another who prescribed drug after drug chasing each of her individual symptoms, all to no avail.  As the case history continued, Mary mentioned that she was struggling more and more with feelings of generalized anxiety, but she had never had a panic attack or severe depression.

 

Your body, like Mary’s, is always trying to tell you what it needs to get and stay well.  What Mary’s body was trying to tell her through each of the symptoms was that her body was struggling with the excessive biochemistry of chronic stress and it needed Mary to compensate for the loss of nutrition being created. (more…)


Getting to the Root Cause of Anxiety Symptoms

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We here at BreakFree start with a pretty simple concept that I believe to my core: There is nothing wrong with you! It just happens that the body that you were given, and the world that we live in today don’t quite match up. The good news is that we have figured out what living today takes out of your body, and how to give it back.

 

Modern medicine seems fixated on using drugs to do this, and I am not saying that drugs don’t work because they often do. Unfortunately they cause some challenging side effects, and like most things that are advertised today, they don’t always live up to expectations.

 

Using nutrition as a solution has the opposite problem. The side effects are zero, and the expectations are low. People just don’t realize how nutrition can have powerful effects on mood and overall body function. One study demonstrated the effects of a simple nutrient that we use in the BreakFree Program as being as powerful as Imipromine in reducing anxiety. Imipromine is a powerful anti-depressant that has been very effective against symptoms of anxiety, but has been largely removed from service because of side effects. (more…)


People with Anxiety Disorders Often Called Hypochondriacs

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Rebecca sat on my exam table, shoulders slumped forward, both hands covering her eyes while she cried.  Once she had regained her composure, she told me a story very similar to ones I have heard many times before.

 

The muscles in her upper back and neck were in near constant spasm,  she had daily debilitating headaches, several days of the month she had ringing in her right ear so loud that she couldn’t carry on a normal conversation,  and sometimes her heart would beat so hard she was sure she was having a heart attack.

 

She had complained frequently to her family doctor about each of these very troubling symptoms and was referred to numerous specialists, but each time, after spending thousands of dollars on tests and countless medications, the result was always the same—“…we can’t find anything wrong with you Rebecca”. (more…)


Children Can Have Anxiety Too

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Adults often think that since children live such carefree lives, their days filled with fun and play and laughter, they couldn’t possibly have anxiety. Unfortunately, this just is not the case. Parents have brought children as young as six to me. I can really relate to them because I had my first panic attack when I was five years old. It is an event that is clearly imprinted on my mind. I remember where I was, who I was with, what it felt like, and I don’t expect to ever lose that memory.

 

When anxiety happens in children, especially where there is no traumatic event to trigger it, I find after taking a family history, that there is usually a strong genetic component. The good news is that, along with the familial history of anxiety, panic attacks and related depression, there are a whole host of good traits kids with anxiety usually also inherit. The most common is intelligence, but you will often see: sensitivity, creativity, and good looks.

 

When a child has a panic attack, it is my experience that the physical feelings are more intense. It seems to me that the total amount of chemicals released during a panic attack is similar to the amount released in an adult. The smaller body of the child reacts more aggressively to this higher dose/volume ratio. For me, I would go from feeling fine to shaking, throwing up, and cold sweats, in just a couple of minutes. This is a pretty scary event for a child.

 

The odd thing is that it is often scarier for an adult to go through. For children everything is new, and to some degree, frightening. Children can adapt more readily to changes in their environment and their body far more easily than adults. Children often accept their anxiety as just another part of their life. They will never want to do the thing that they feel “caused their attack”, but usually they will still eat, sleep, and live normally. This is good and bad. While an adult will see things as very wrong and be desperate for change, children can be less motivated or feel helpless to remove this from their life. In fact, anxiety can become a component of their self-image. Even if they keep it hidden from the world, they can deeply believe that anxiety is part of their makeup, their permanent self.

 

Parents, teachers, and other people involved with the care of children often ask me, “I understand what a panic attack looks like but what should I look for to know if a child is suffering from anxiety even though they have never had an attack. I want to help them before they experience a panic attack.”

 

I tell them to first look at the child’s family. Does anyone, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents suffer from anxiety? Is the child trying to stay home from school? Do they tell you they have stomachaches or diarrhea when they have to go somewhere? Do they have trouble spending the night with friends? Do they make excuses not to do things when other children jump excitably to participate? Are they painfully shy? Do they let others dictate how they should act? Are they sensitive to other’s feelings and does it hurt them to know someone or an animal is suffering? Although there are certainly exceptions to this rule, children with anxiety often are the good, sweet children who try to please.

 

With all that we know now, there is no reason for anyone to continue fighting with anxiety. I see people, day after day accomplish what took me years, in just a few weeks. Children are often the fastest to recover. If you or your child struggles with anxiety you need to act now. Every day that passes makes recovery take just a little bit longer. When I start children on a nutritional protocol, most feel better in just a few days.
Josh Meyers

 

The best time to plant a tree was fifty years ago. The second best time is today. Author Unknown


Anxiety-The Thief in Your Body

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A lovely young lady attending her junior year of college came in to my office recently. “Rachael’s” main complaints included back pain, leg and foot cramps and trouble sleeping. As I took her case history, Rachael confided to me that although no one else knew, she also often times felt anxious and overwhelmed.

The stress of living away from home, being totally responsible for meeting assignment deadlines, the realization that she would soon be on her own and financially responsible for herself had taken its toll and slowly slid her into some of the physical symptoms I often see associated with anxiety.

Rachael had learned of the “fight or flight response” in a biology class and

understood that it was a naturally occurring hormonal response to life threatening

situations. From an historical perspective, when the lion was really chasing us, this

hormonal stress response was literally a life saving mechanism.

I explained to Rachael that the fight or flight response has only one job that is to make sure you live for the next few minutes-long enough to fight or flee from the dangerous situation. Your body pours toxic hormones and chemical into your body to strengthen and sharpen your abilities.  Your body’s nutrient stores are quickly depleted and any nutrients that are in conflict with the fight or flight response are actually forced out of your body.

 

In modern times the accumulation of daily stressors we are exposed to in our complex world are likely to cause a “fight or flight response”.  Those people who are predisposed to being hypersensitive and reactive to stress hormones are particularly affected.

 

We have the stressors of overwork, sleep deprivation, noise pollution, environmental toxins, poor digestion, poor diet, dehydration, angry bosses, divorce, wars, guilt, fear, worry, depression, crazy drivers—the list goes on and on.

 

More significantly, the actual lion scenario would happen only a time or two in a lifetime.  For many of us, these stressors bombard us literally hundreds of times every day and our body never has a chance to recover.

 

When elevated abnormally high levels of these stress hormones are present in the bloodstream day after day, it becomes more and more difficult to break the cycle of stress, anxiety, panic attack and depression.

 

After putting Rachael on a nutritional supplementation program to replace the nutrients stress had robbed from her body and teaching her what to look for and how to take care of herself, Rachael reported that all her symptoms had disappeared. She was looking forward to graduation and the new life ahead of her.

 

Yours in good health,

Dr. Ron Meyers


Panic Attacks and Anxiety—Genetics Not Flawed Character

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While I have known for some time that up to 20% of my patients suffer from generalized anxiety and panic attacks, and that 1 in 3 office visits to a family doctor are prompted from anxiety issues, I’m still surprised at how many of my patients seem to come across as if they feel almost guilty talking about their anxiety.

 

I always emphasize to these patients that their anxiety issues are NOT A CHARACTER FLAW, but rather an inherited genetic duplication that makes them at least twice as likely to struggle with stress and anxiety than a person not born with this genetic trait.

 

Even though this knowledge is not widely circulated, studies published in 1991 in the University of Barcelona Press, and new validating research published in the medical journal CELL, confirm that an astounding 95% of subjects in both of these studies who suffered with panic attacks and generalized anxiety were found to have a gene duplication on chromosome 15 (called DUP25), while only 7% of study subjects that did not have this duplication had panic attacks. (more…)


Even the Fish Are Depressed

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I found this article particularly interesting and actually frightening.

 

Under the True Facts section of the San Diego Union, Thursday January 1, 2009 “Researchers have found that antidepressants in rivers and lakes, part of the flood of pharmaceuticals washing into the environment, make fish sad, causing them to cease eating or looking for mates. Some fish even stop swimming, preferring instead to simply hang vertically in the water.”

 

It is hard to believe that the human population is taking so many antidepressants that the left over amounts our bodies don’t absorb is excreted is so large a quantity that it now has contaminated our rivers and streams!

 

Don’t you find it interesting that the very drugs that are supposed to decrease depression are actually causing it in the fish? What might they be doing to our bodies??

 

There are better ways to live without anxiety and depression.

 

Let’s make a better world,

Polly Meyers


The Truth About Addiction and SSRI’s

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It’s been over twenty yeas since doctors started prescribing SSRI type antidepressants. The big names in this class of drugs are Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, and Zoloft. We’ve all seen the advertisements, and for those of us who suffer, many have been steered toward these drugs while in a doctor’s office.

 

One of the primary reasons that doctors prefer to have their patients use these drugs rather than other medications, especially when it comes to anxiety medications, is that they are labeled “non-addictive.”

 

When the drug companies say that theses are “non-addictive” they are being technically truthful, but only by using a definition of addiction that most patients wouldn’t understand. This leads to most patients leaving their doctors office with a view of these drugs that is, at the very least, incomplete.

 

There are many definitions of addiction used in the modern medical vocabulary. Most of the better-accepted definitions require two conditions to be met for a substance to be considered addictive.

 

The first condition is that it must produce a chemical dependency in the user, this is true for SSRI’s as well as street drugs.

 

The second requirement is that the drug must induce a psychological reward that makes the user want to use the drug again. This often results in what the medical world calls “seeking behavior.” People will try hard to find that drug or a similar drug to replicate the feelings that the drug created in the first place.

 

The reason that SSRI’s can be called “non-addictive” is that they do not create this “seeking behavior.” One reason for this is that the time between taking the drug and feeling any positive reward is so far apart. It is common for patients not to feel any better for 6-8 weeks, whereas with heroin, cocaine, or Valium, the effects are almost immediate.

 

BUT, patients who are taking, or are considering taking SSRI’s, need to understand that chemical dependence on these drugs absolutely happens. Quickly stopping these drugs can result in severe physical effects and is rarely, if ever, advised. Give a list of symptoms

 

Even when these drugs are tapered off slowly, the effects can be very challenging. I have personally watched my clients suffer tremendously while trying to get off SSRI’s. There are many patients who have been trying to get off of these drugs for over a year and are still unable to do so. In reality, many patients resume taking the drug because the withdrawal symptoms were too great. You may also want to slip something in about how a huge percentage of people with anxiety are highly sensitive to drugs and more likely to suffer from these symptoms.

 

One interesting thing to note is that for many street drugs the actual physical dependency can be broken in just a matter of days, but the psychological addiction can take years to sever. When it comes to prescription antidepressants the psychological addiction can be irrelevant, but the physical dependency can be devastating.

 

Considering all of this, it would seem that both doctors and patients should be better informed when they are considering the use of these powerful and complicated medications