These pills can kick you while you're down
With all that candy and all those pumpkins already cramming store shelves, it's beginning to look a lot like Halloween.
And even if your trick-or-treating days are way behind you, this spooky season reminds us that things aren't always as they seem.
Take, for example, two illnesses that often go hand in hand -- like dementia and depression.
Both can make you feel like you don't want to see anyone or go anywhere... and both can turn your mind into mush, making it difficult to think clearly or concentrate fully.
In fact, since depression can impair cognitive performance, it sometimes gets misdiagnosed as early-stage dementia. And, on the flip side, it can be tough to tell if the depressive symptoms in Alzheimer's are due to the dementia... or just "the blues."
But that confusion doesn't stop docs from handing out antidepressants to Alzheimer's patients like it's Halloween candy.
Heck, the mainstream will even tell you that antidepressants can help PREVENT Alzheimer's!
But if you or someone you love has Alzheimer's, you should think twice before filling that prescription -- because according to a new study, antidepressants could take you from "down in the dumps" to "flat on the pavement," leaving you with a gash in your head.
In the study out of Finland, the researchers tracked the risk of head injury among two groups of patients with Alzheimer's over six years: About 10,000 who used antidepressants and about 20,000 who did not.
By the end of the study, it turned out that those who took antidepressants had a significantly higher rate of head injury AND traumatic brain injury (TBI) than those who didn't.
That risk was especially high during the first month of popping antidepressant pills, but it persisted for up to TWO YEARS from the start of treatment.
The theory is that antidepressants can lead to head injuries because -- as previous studies have shown -- they increase your risk of falling, which is the top cause of damage to the ol' melon.
So, if you've got Alzheimer's... and you're feeling low... don't reach for an antidepressant to lift you up.
It might bring you down instead!
And even if you don't have dementia, you should be cautious -- because previous studies have shown that antidepressants can even DOUBLE your risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Fortunately, there are natural, drug-free changes you can make to clear away those dark clouds. For example:
- Step out into the sunshine to soak up some UV rays, which your body converts to mood-boosting vitamin D (a.k.a. the "sunshine" vitamin).
- Add some "good bugs" to your gut by eating yogurt, which has been shown to ease your mind AND improve cognition in Alzheimer's patients.
- Listening to your favorite music can lift your spirits, and it can even reduce anxiety and agitation in Alzheimer's patients.