Mood-altering Drugs are Overprescribed

Today’s message is one that is affecting all of us. It is something that is not talked about enough, but it’s something that requires our attention.

And if you read this further, you may scratch your head, shake your head or, hopefully, nod in agreement.

This message is dedicated to the overprescribing of psychotropic drugs. Yes, those drugs, the ones that have been cleverly marketed as a cure for bad moods, changes of seasons, depression, anxiety and countless other maladies that beset us.

I see it as a dentist, because I need to know my patients’ medical histories. And the longer I have been in practice, the more I see these drugs prescribed.

From a dental perspective, these drugs, as well as many others, cause dry mouth, and dry mouth results in tooth decay. Such tooth decay is difficult to control and often recurs.

But the facts are more insidious than merely tooth decay. The drugs have multiple effects. Weight gain, diabetes, sexual dysfunction and a host of serious, life-threatening health problems are common side effects of these drugs. And the drugs often are extremely difficult to stop, requiring extensive time and doctors’ supervision to withdraw completely.

Sometimes, patients and doctors become confused, thinking the symptoms that occur during withdrawal are a return of the emotional problem.

In the past few years, several pharmaceutical companies have been fined hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars by the U.S. Justice Department for deceptive marketing of these drugs. Several states have successfully filed suit against these companies as well for failing to reveal major health problems caused by these drugs. And just this past year, two major companies dropped researching this class of drugs entirely.

Please look carefully before deciding to take one of these drugs. Read all the effects before you decide to take it. Look at all the things that could be causing the emotional problem. Diet? Exercise? An undiagnosed medical problem? Do you need someone to talk to? There are lots of nondrug resources for help.

If you are taking these drugs and want to stop, don’t do that yourself. Get a physician’s help. And help yourself by reading a book on the subject.

“The Antidepressant Solution” by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen is an easy-to-read book that has helped many. If you want to find out more about this subject, log on to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights,

Lee N. Sheldon, DMD