New! – A Healthy Living Newsletter
patients frequently ask my opinion about new health books on the market.
And there's certainly no shortage of experts peddling their advice!
While many of these books are excellent, others are written by people
who don't have a clinical background in the subject. Simply put - they're
The people writing the books either don't regularly use the medicines
they write about or they're presenting theories as if they are facts.
Others can be valuable tools for improving the quality of your life.
This newsletters also includes a list of my classes in Natural medicine
which offer highly effective ways to treat a broad range of illnesses.
Learn practical and safe medical remedies you can use in your daily
life. Natural Medicine Series
at PCC Sylvania - Spring 2001
Your Drug May Be Your Problem
How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric
By Peter R. Breggin, MD and David Cohen, PhD
Peter Breggin and David Cohen are on a crusade. The crusade is to educate
patients and physicians about the effects of commonly prescribed psychiatric
drugs (substances that affect brain function) and to give therapists
more confidence in helping people through difficult times without the
use of drugs. This isn't what you would expect from someone with a teaching
fellowship at Harvard Medical School and training in the conventional
use of psychiatric drugs, but Breggin -- author
of Talking Back to Prozac, Toxic Psychiatry and Talking Back to Ritalin
-- is on familiar ground here.
Breggin and Cohen start and end the book with a discussion of faith
and trust and self-reliance. Their basic argument is that we have put
our faith in drugs to solve or dull our conflicts rather than believing
in ourselves and working them out with the help of our faith, therapists,
and supportive family and friends. The conflict is still there, unresolved,
only dulled by the drug. They question the diagnosis of biochemical
imbalance and remind us that it is a theory only and modern medical
research hasn't produced conclusive evidence to support it. They explain
drug testing and what FDA approval means. If you think that meant the
drug was safe - think again. They also imply the ease and cost-effectiveness
to the insurance companies and some therapists to use drugs rather than
work through the problem.
As I said, it is a crusade, so the book tends to make the situation
black and white. Psychiatric drugs are bad; talking therapy and faith
in yourself and spiritual belief is good. This almost seems a bit naïve
to me as I know many circumstances in which a short stint of psychiatric
drugs help people through a hurdle. On the other hand, I see people
start on one psychiatric drug only to find themselves with additional
diagnoses, possibly from side-effects of the initial drug, resulting
in prescriptions of 3-4 psychiatric drugs for many years and leading
very unfulfilled lives.
Then, after the authors complete their argument for stopping the drugs,
they move onto step two - withdrawing from the drugs. They meticulously
guide the patient through conversations with the prescribing physician,
the recommended decreased doses to minimize the discontinuance effects,
and ways to find an empathetic therapist that will work with the child
or adult patient to help resolve his or her problems. They even list
support Internet sites. And if the reader still doesn't feel secure,
Breggin and Cohen have included a section on how to contact them to
get additional help.
I'm not going to list all the gory side effects of the drugs - you can
read that in the book. But I will say that the side effects can be permanent.
Like those who have just been diagnosed with cancer, the psychiatric
patient is very vulnerable. It is extremely important to find a trusted
physician, therapist, friend, or family member who will sit down and
discuss options and the pros and cons of each. Yes, there are more options
than being prescribed a drug. If you are currently taking or considering
taking a psychiatric drug, then Your Drug May Be Your Problem
is a book you should read.
for this book on Amazon
By Deborah Sichel, MD and Jeanne Watson Driscoll, MS, RN, CS.
Women's brains are
structured differently than men's. That's why women cry at "chick
movies" and men like The Three Stooges. Women's Moods explores
the effect of female hormones on women's behavior. Before you decide
that you know all about it, consider these two quotes from this book.
"Fifty percent of women who use oral contraceptives will experience
depression due to the effects of the hormones they contain." "The
rate of depression in women is double that in men."
Sichel and Driscoll know firsthand what they are writing about. Both
suffered severe postpartum depression and one, psychosis, following
the birth of their children. Efforts to counter these effects with hormones
lead to a worsened condition. Only a careful history that exposed earlier
undiagnosed depression in both their families and in themselves, led
to an effective treatment. So effective that Sichel has devoted her
psychiatric medical career and Driscoll has developed a supportive tool
called NURSE to help other women combat similar psychiatric conditions
exacerbated by hormonal fluctuations.
NURSE is an acronym that stands for Nourishment and need (food and drugs),
Understanding, Rest and relaxation, Spirituality, and Exercise. It's
a great plan - except for one thing. Women's Moods clearly advocates
the liberal use of drugs. They dismiss the use of natural therapeutics
as supportive or ineffective, but if you really want to get well, talk
to your therapist, eat well, meditate, exercise, but take your Lithium,
Zoloft or Paxil or whatever is appropriate to the psychological condition.
I found this an interesting conclusion after just having read the opposite
opinion expressed by well-credentialed psychiatrists in Your Drug
May Be Your Problem. Equally as puzzling was that there was no serious
discussion of drug side-effects was mentioned except for avoiding breastfeeding
or to discard the breast milk 8 hours after taking the Zoloft as that
is the time that the drug will most likely pass from the breast into
the infant. They euphemistically call Depakote a mood stabilizer. Tell
that to some of my patients who developed liver problems, chronic stomach
pains, gained 40 lbs., and felt in a fog while taking it.
Women's Mood draws a line in the sand - women don't need hormone balancing,
they need drugs. And I agree, some women do. For instance, those who
describe their menstrual cycle as "two weeks of crazy fury"
may do well on a medication. As the two authors point out, some of the
women serving time behind bars today had serious but ignored psychosis
from hormonal imbalances. But do I think that 10% of all women who give
birth and who will get postpartum mood and anxiety disorder should go
on drugs, even temporarily. No way. I was one of those women after giving
birth to my twin boys 15 years ago. And yes, it was no picnic. But I
was fortunate enough to get help from natural medicine and the situation
The drug issue aside, Women's Moods is an important book as it recognizes
that women with a personal or family history of depression, anxiety,
bipolar disorder, or PMS are likely to have a crisis after a major hormonal
shift such as childbirth, miscarriage or abortion, or menopause. If
you or your daughter or friend fit this description, get help - and
read this book.
for this book on Amazon
Fight Fat After Forty
By Pamela Peeke, MD
Fight Fat After Forty
is a great book with a bad title. This book will help people of all
ages. In the first four chapters, Dr. Peeke sets out to explain the
science behind the connection between stress and weight gain and for
a few people, weight-loss. Some of it is theory; a lot is science -
but all a bit tedious. |
Here's the gist of it. Increased and unresolved stress often leads to
increase levels of stress hormones, especially cortisol. Cortisol is
the hormone designed to replenish our strength after fight or flight
situations. And guess how we were designed to replenish our strength
- by eating! For those who lose weight with stress, the scenario is
a bit different, but equally as serious.
After 90+ pages of reading about this and the health hazards of poor
stress management and excessive weight, I had just about given up on
the book, when I finally arrived at chapter 5. Then I realized why the
book made the Amazon best seller list. Dr. Peeke has sound, practical
advice. Not only does she present a very comprehensive and do-able plan
on what to eat and when, but she also throws in a backup plan for those
days when an optimal routine is just not going to happen. She eliminates
the guilt of temporarily going off your diet.
Her food suggestions are excellent. Real food - not the low-fat and
non-fat varieties of empty calories that tend to strip muscle mass instead
of fat cells. Peeke discusses the pitfalls of drastic dieting and recommends
a sensible gradual weight loss plan. And I chuckled at the way she diffuses
all the excuses people tend to make on how it just won't work. Plus,
she throws in a couple of chapters filled with pictures on easy exercises
graduating into fairly challenging ones.
for this book on Amazon
Herb Tip - Buyer Beware
Herbs are medicine and it's important
to know what you are putting into your body. Recently, I have seen some
over the counter and multi-level marketing herbal products that make
me concerned. One of them was called Metabozyme from Amazon herbs. It
resulted in unexplained dizzy spells that were resolved only after the
product was discontinued. The other was a formulation by a Dr. Whiting,
an orthomolecular nutritionist who has his own line of products. One
of the products for weight control contained Gymnema sylvestre. Gymnema
is a very specific herb for diabetes that directly affects the pancreas.
Herbalists know this and would never give it to a non-diabetic as it
could harm them over a period of time. A third example was the prolonged
use of Echinacea to ward off illness. Echinacea is an immune stimulant.
It's not healthy to repeatedly push the immune system for months at
I found all three incidences disturbing as it's not the fault of the
herb but the prescriber. So, be careful, in this current health climate
of herbs being safe. Don't assume that educational degrees make a person
knowledgeable about herbs. Herbs, especially prolonged use, are only
safe in the hands of an herbal practitioner.
Health Tip (Not
Going to the dentist? For shooting
nerve pain following dental work, Hypericum 6x, 30x or 6c is commonly
and safely used in natural medicine. Hypericum is a homeopathic medicine
that is readily found in health food stores and some drug stores. It
is for sharp, shooting upward pain that Tylenol and aspirin just don't
touch. Homeopathic remedies like Hypericum are only used when the pain
is present and not repeated until the pain returns.
Medicine Series at PCC Sylvania
Mind/Body Connection in Auto-Immune and Chronic Disease
PCC Sylvania campus
Natural medicine offers highly effective ways to treat a broad range
of illnesses. This course will show you practical and safe medical remedies
you can use in your daily life.
This course covers the basics: colds, flus, ear infections, sudden fevers,
chicken pox, etc. It stresses when it is appropriate to self-medicate
and when to get professional help. The participants are taught how to
put together a natural medicine chest to treat these common conditions.
Learn about the cancer-fighting, ulcer and acid reflux-protective and
immune-boosting properties of food. Full of strategies and good recipes,
this course emphasizes a gradual transition from a Standard American
Diet (SAD) to a more healthful and delicious one.
Starting with a brief explanation of what is happening in the body to
cause allergies, this class discusses the diversity of allergic symptoms
(from sneezing to anxiety to bloating). It will focus on treatment for
airborne and dietary allergies by teaching the participants how to treat
the conditions using nutrition, herbs, homeopathy and hydrotherapy.
The homeopathic industry has been growing
exponentially - 300% yearly for the past several years. The consumers
who are purchasing the remedies both in drug stores and health food
stores often need advice. This course will cover the practical aspects
of choosing a remedy, how often to dose, what to expect, when to change
remedies, as well as to answer any questions that you may have.
Looking at women’s health as a natural cycle, we will talk about how
to prepare for and minimize the discomfort of PMS, menses, and menopause.
We will also cover common female conditions like fibroids, osteoporosis,
This course explores the relationship between the increasingly
common autoimmune and chronic conditions such as fibromylagia, systemic
lupus, scleroderma, diabetes mellitus II, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.
and our state of mind. And while this course will not offer specific advice
on how to treat these illnesses, it will discuss general holistic guidelines
to live with and shorten the duration of these illnesses.
HOW TO REGISTER