In his many years as a chiropractic physician, Dr. Ben Nelson had begun to notice an increasing number of his patients had become addicted to anti-depressant drugs. Other patients admitted to being “stressed out” and indicated they were considering drugs to alleviate their anxieties.
Clearly he needed to do something to stem this trend which ran so contrary to his wellness philosophy. A perusal of The National Institute of Mental Health’s website indicated 30 million Americans took antidepressants at a cost of over $10 billion a year. In addition, pharmaceutical companies had overall yearly sales of $14.6 billion from anti-psychotics and $4.8 billion in sales of ADHD drugs.
How did a country–whose citizens are known the world over for their outgoing self-confidence–emerge as a leading consumer of drugs for social anxiety?
Drug companies, with their vast budgets and marketing campaigns, have convinced millions of Americans that their unhappiness is actually a disease with a simple cause–a chemical imbalance–and a magic-bullet cure!
Back to the future!
Dr. Nelson investigated various drug alternatives and discovered the plant kingdom supplies the building blocks for calmative, nervine, and antispasmodic medicines which humans have utilized since the beginning of time. In fact, he discovered such herbs are currently being employed by European medical practitioners to regulate psychosomatic disorders and elevate mood.
Awareness is the key to helping patients.
Dr. Nelson decided to educate his patients to the dangerous side effects and addiction of anti-depressants and introduce them to natural non-narcotic alternatives to alleviate their symptoms.
First, anti-depressants are only marginally more effective than placebos.
Second, there is no biochemical marker for stress and depression. The tools doctors use to diagnose stress, anxiety, and depression are based on symptoms alone.
Third, stress, anxiety, and depression are not caused by chemical imbalances in the brain as pharmaceutical companies would have everyone believe.
Fourth, ironically, many anti-depressants precipitate the very conditions they were prescribed to prevent! In 2003, the FDA mandated warning labels on anti-depressants because many were found to promote suicidal tendencies. Other side effects can include bone loss, lower life expectancy, birth defects, sexual dysfunction, gastric upset, insomnia, nervousness, and mental impairment. The list goes on!
By comparison, natural sedatives and mood enhancers abound in nature and have virtually no side effects. Their activity depends upon the presence of specific electrolytes, such as magnesium and calcium, known as “the calming minerals.” Valerian root is tranquilizing on the nervous system, relieves tension and improves sleep quality. It also has a marked tendency to increase concentration ability. Lemon balm also improves sleep and ameliorates insomnia. Scullicap herb together with vitamin B-6 ameliorates nervous tension and has been shown to be an effective muscle relaxant. Passiflora acts as a natural tranquilizer and can calm hyperactive people. It is also an antispasmodic in the treatment of muscle cramps. Both Hops strobiles and Gota kolu exhibit a claming effect on the nervous system. Chamomile is also a time tested nervine herb with calming as well as anti-inflammatory actions.
Dr. Nelson found numerous nutrition companies that exclusively served the profession and featured formulations that included mineral electrolytes and nervine and anti-spasmodic herbals. Many offered educational materials as well as protocols for weaning patients off addictive anti-depressants and tranquilizers. He was pleased he didn’t have to reinvent the wheel! He now had the tools to help his patients safely ameliorate the daily stress and anxiety in their lives while promoting the chiropractic wellness philosophy.
Galen O. Ballard is President of Titan Laboratories and directly responsible for the products division. His background includes undergraduate studies in research at the University of Denver with graduate work at the Universities of Wisconsin and Maryland. Galen may be reached toll free at 1-800-929-0945 or by email at [email protected].