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The largest group of addicted individuals in America today is prescription drug-addicted people (Dr. Kurth, August, 2007, Boston). This involves two broad groups of pharmaceuticals, opiates and antidepressant / anxiolytic medications. Across both groups is the frequent prescribing of medications for sleep.

Historically, the clinical use of sedative drugs was introduced with barbiturates in the early twentieth century. They were soon noted to be addictive with significant withdrawal symptoms, and today their main use is in anesthesia and treatment of epilepsy, using, for the latter, Phenobarbital medications, which have a long half-life.

The clinical use of Meprobamate, marketed as Miltown, Equanil and Meprospan, in the mid-1950’s replaced barbiturates as the predominate psychoactive medication. Jacqueline Susann’s novel, Valley of the Dolls, published in 1966, exposed the pitfalls of barbiturates used as sleep aids.

The benzodiazepine class of drugs was introduced in the 1960’s and replaced Meprobamate and like-medications. This was launched primarily with Librium and Valium as anxiolytic drugs. More recently, this class includes Xanax and Ativan and their generic forms.

Clinical psychiatry has undergone a major paradigm shift in recent years in which the pendulum has swung predominately toward prescription of psychoactive or psychotropic medications at the expense of cognitive regeneration techniques. These medications are prescribed for a host of predominately situational symptoms such as depression and anxiety syndromes. Patients are often told that they have a chemical imbalance which can be regulated by these medications. There is currently no laboratory marker to support this claim, and the notion is based primarily on subjective assessments and assumptions. However, there is a concerted research effort to find chemical markers.

The SSRI antidepressant medications and the anxiolytic drugs have serious and disabling withdrawal side effects which are commonly interpreted as representing a flare-up of the patients’ presumed chemical imbalance. Contributing to the withdrawal symptoms is the documented reduction of important brain substrates such as glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Optimal glutathione levels are instrumental in contributing to a smoother withdrawal process involving psychotropic drugs. The rationale for withdrawal from these drugs relates to significant side effects and need for increasing doses or adding additional like-medications. In addition, favorable adjustments to past stressful living situations tend to eliminate any perceived need for the further use of these drugs. Many patients discontinue their medications on their own with often devastating side effects.

Our Medical Advisors

Bill Code, BSc, M.D., FRCPC - Anesthesiologist, Integrative Specialist, Author

A leading expert in glutathione, the master antioxidant that is vital to the natural detoxification process, and has extensive experience in both brain research and addiction. At 42, Dr. Code was at the height of a successful and challenging career in Anesthesiology when the symptoms that had plagued him for fifteen years was finally diagnosed as progressive Multiple Sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and optic nerves), often resulting in severe pain and neurological deterioration. During his journey back from the neurological deterioration of MS, Dr. Code developed a thorough understanding of how to integrate food, supplements and wellness regimens into the healing process. Since then, Dr. Code has used his medical expertise and research skills to develop alternative therapies to regain health. MORE...

Raymond Armstrong, M.D.  Cardiothroacic Surgeon, Family Medicine

A board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon with thirty years of clinical experience. He has provided expert witness opinion and testimony in malpractice cases involving this specialty area. Dr. Armstrong is also certified in general surgery, and in 2003 returned to private practice in Family Medicine and subsequently added full-time service as a Medical Review Officer. MORE...

Habib Sadeghi, D.O. - Osteopathic Physician & Integrative Specialist

Attending Physician and Clinical Facilitator at UCLA Medical Center and Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences, and firmly believes in a "whole person" approach to medicine and preventive health care. Like MDs, Osteopathic Physicians (DOs) are fully qualified and licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. DOs receive additional training in the musculoskeletal system (the interconnected system of nerves, muscles, and bones), and in osteopathic manipulative treatment. Dr. Sadeghi's specializations include family medicine, osteopathy, environmental and integrative medicine, and clinical pharmacology. MORE...

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