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More than a decade ago, I went through a phase where I was having a really hard time sleeping.
It was during a period of my life where I was experiencing quite a lot of stress, and it was long before I turned my health around through natural means.
My doctor prescribed what he said was a mild sleep aid. Everyone was using it and it should do me some good, he thought. I didn’t realize then, as much as I do now, that “everyone” doesn’t react to the same drug in the same way — and that Big Pharma’s concern for our safety lags far behind their profit margins.
I want to share my experience with you because, since then, I have uncovered the truth about numerous drugs, some you likely have in your medicine cabinet right now, and that you may be shocked to learn can cause amnesia.
A night I’ll never remember
That first evening, when I took my prescribed sleep-aid an hour before my normal bedtime, as directed, I experienced amnesia.
Thankfully it was temporary, but extremely frightening nonetheless. Not just for me, but for my family who witnessed my odd behavior — that I have absolutely no recollection of.
My first memory following the event was waking up, and slowly realizing my family surrounded my bed. I didn’t understand why they were asking if I was ok. And I didn’t remember the evening before. I threw the pill bottle out that very day and never had it refilled.
Odds are you may not have the same reaction to Ambien that I did… but the scary thing is, more drugs than most of us are aware of have been found to do this very thing. Even drugs you may have taken for years thinking they’re safe may be slowly robbing you of memories, hurting your cognitive abilities, and lying in wait to spring an episode of amnesia on you.
It’s certainly something to think about — and a reason to evaluate the necessity of any medicines you may be taking regularly, especially if any of these are in your medicine cabinet…
Medicines that steal memories
After my experience and years of hearing from others with similar or worse stories, I began to investigate just how widespread the problem of memory-stealing prescription medications is.
At first, it was hard to find anything. After all, this is the kind of thing that most mainstream doctors and the pharmaceutical industry would prefer to keep quiet.
Now, the effects of memory-stealing drugs can strike anyone. But those of us who are on the mature side, have the most to lose.
You may be doing all the right things to keep your mind strong — like taking your brain-boosting B vitamins, vitamin D and krill oil to clean out your brain. So in spite of your best efforts, if you’re experiencing mild or worsening memory issues, any of these prescription medicines could be to blame…
Antianxiety drugs are benzodiazepines, a class of drugs that directly affect activity in the brain involved in the transfer of short-term events to your long-term memory.
Ambien, the sleeping drug that gave me a night of amnesia is a nonbenzodiazepine (brands also include Lunesta and Sonata). At the molecular level, the sleep aids are different from antianxiety drugs, but they are both “Z” drugs that interfere with messaging in the brain and have been tied to dangerous or strange behavior and amnesia.
A few examples of benzodiazepine antianxiety drugs include Xanax, Librium, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium, Dalmane, Doral, Restoril, Halcion, and Versed — which, according to Dr. Armon B. Neel, Jr. on the AARP site, “has particularly marked amnesic properties.”
Some of them are added to anesthesia to ensure a patient has no unpleasant memories following a procedure. They’re slow to leave your system and they build up in your organs. That’s why they’ve been associated with not just memory loss, but delirium, falls, and car accidents.
I’ve had intermittent issues with anxiety and sleep at different times in my life, and found significant relief when an integrative doctor suggested I boost my B vitamins and try melatonin. He has a full list of nutrients and natural treatments for anxiety you should consider if any of these benzodiazepines or nonbenzodiazepines are in your medicine cabinet now.
Cholesterol is brain fuel. Your brain needs cholesterol to grow new nerve cells and for these nerve cells to work properly.
But large numbers of people are artificially lowering their cholesterol with statin drugs—like Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor, Crestor and Zocar — even though according to Dr. Cutler, “When we look at all the data, we find cholesterol itself is not even a real cause of heart disease.”
Conversely, the data shows three out of four people using statins do experience cognitive problems that stop — at least for 90 percent of them — when they go off statin therapy.
If you’re uncomfortable about going against your doctor and ditching your statins, Dr. Neel suggests asking your healthcare provider about instead taking a combination of sublingual vitamin B12 (1,000 mcg daily), folic acid (800 mcg daily) and vitamin B6 (200 mg daily). You can also boost your HDL cholesterol by following suggestions that include adding omega-3s, flaxseeds, avocado, high fiber foods and olive oil to your diet.
There are many frightening things about narcotic painkillers. Addiction and drug abuse are near the top. These drugs — like fentanyl — in the spotlight for being the drug linked to Prince’s death, in my opinion, are overly prescribed. Again, mainstream medicine applies Band-Aids that often do more harm than good.
And now a CBS story online has reported that a hospital in Massachusetts has been seeing a strange pattern of amnesia presenting in 14 opioid users. Their MRI scans revealed a significant reduction in blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that makes your memories. Several of these folks were left with short-term memory problems for months, and one woman was still having memory problems a year later.
If pain relief can be found without drugs, it is by far a safer option. And when it comes to natural pain relief, you can discover how to stop the pain and start living. Consider this 3-step plan for sustained pain relief.
Natural techniques may require more of a commitment on your part, but considering that even Tylenol is a popular painkiller that can turn you into a mindless zombie by killing your emotions, your good judgment and your empathy, they’re more than worth considering.
When I read about how beta blockers interfere with your memory, it reminded me of what I’d read about statins. Beta-blockers block messaging in the brain — and that can interfere with your memory.
Besides hypertension, they can be prescribed for migraines and tremors. You may recognize some of these: Lopressor, Toprol, Inderal, Betapace or Timoptic.
My research shows that benzothiazepine calcium channel blockers are safer, but if you can control your blood pressure without prescription medication, think long and hard on it — and read about how I gave up one food and my BP vanished…
I didn’t give up grains and go on the paleo diet for my heart health. I did it in an effort to improve my memory and deal with digestive issues. But it resulted in heart benefits I didn’t expect.
As I was losing weight, enjoying clearer skin, experiencing less arthritis in my hands and losing about 20 pounds over two years, my high blood pressure went away.
My doctor’s non-explanation explanation for my hypertension was that it was due to genetics. In his view, there was nothing that could be done for it except to take prescription medication, which I did: ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers. I’m proof he was wrong.
Unfortunately, this is not a comprehensive list. There are more drugs out that are more than capable of stealing your memories, possibly more. Just remember you won’t always get a full spectrum of advice in your doctor’s office. That’s partly because pharmaceutical studies on drug efficacy don’t always tell the whole truth. Those pills don’t always work… and more often than we realize, they hurt.
Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy? It was developed originally to remove lead and other contaminants, including heavy metals, from the body. Its uses now run the gamut from varicose veins to circulation. Click here to discover Chelation: Natural Miracle for Protecting Your Heart and Enhancing Your Health!