Clonazepam, better known as the brand name Klonopin, is a benzodiazepine originally used to treat seizures but later became a popular drug for anxiety. Some people with anxiety disorders feel more emotionally stable on clonazepam. The big problem with benzodiazepines is that they become ineffective over time. A patient winds up taking more and more of the drug in order to get the same effect. This can lead to clonazepam overdose.

Another time when a patient is most prone to an overdose is when they are first prescribed the medication. Since each person reacts differently to clonazepam, a safe dose for one person might be a fatal overdose for another. Anyone taking clonazepam for the first time needs to be supervised or at least needs a medical professional to call and check up on that person for the first few days to make sure an overdose does not occur…

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St. John’s Wort

One reason people persist in using marijuana is because it can help you relax even in extremely stressful situations.  Although I support legalizing marijuana, I do realize that I cannot use it for relaxation because it is illegal.  So I wrote this article about legal drugs that can help you relax or at least help your muscles to relax.  These include chamomile, mint, St. John’s Wort and velarin.  It’s always best to check with your doctor before taking herbs or herbal products.  For example, if you are allergic to ragweed, avoid chamomile.  If you are on antidepressants, avoid St. John’s Wort.

Please read my article about legal herbs at Yahoo.  Thanks!

Vicodin is a powerful opioid painkiller which, in a perfect world, is only prescribed for short-term pain. The big problem with Vicodin is that over time the body gets used to it and it becomes less powerful. You eventually need to take more Vicodin to get rid of the same amount of pain.

But Vicodin also brings along other side effects other than pain relief and these can be very attractive to some people. Vicodin can make one sleepy, tranquil, relaxed, euphoric and not bothered the stresses all around them. However, Vicodin addicts find that they also need to take more and more Vicodin to get the same effects. They may need to add something else to the Vicodin – like another painkiller, an anti-anxiety drug like Xanax or alcohol – in order to get the desired sensations…

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One big problem with treating people with depression is finding the right treatment for them.  Many patients have to try one medication after another in order to find just the right one.  Some patients cannot take medications but do well with therapy.  Finding the right treatment could take a depressingly long time.

But how about if there was a diagnostic test patients could take which tells them what medications would work best for them before actually trying the drugs? The test would be a brain imaging scan that looks for specific things called biomarkers.

This is the hope of a promising new study at Emory University funded by the National Institutes of Health.  Details of the study can be found at JAMA Psychiatry, June 12, 2013.

In case you let your subscription lapse, here’s a bit from the press release about the study from the NIH website:

Using a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, they imaged pre-treatment resting brain activity in 63 depressed patients. PET pinpoints what parts of the brain are active at any given moment by tracing the destinations of a radioactively-tagged form of glucose, the sugar that fuels its metabolism.

They compared brain circuit activity of patients who achieved remission following treatment with those who did not improve.

No — I didn’t understand that, either.

Of course, a lot more testing would need to be done in order to make sure this test works as well as preliminary results suggest.  If it does, then would be a huge leap forward in treatment of mental illness.

I’m breaking up with Remeron (mirtazapine). And, yes, Remeron — it was you. Although I got a much-needed grip on my mental health with Remeron, I gained almost 100 pounds in less than a year. OUCH!

Ideally, I should’ve talked to my therapist about weaning myself off of Remeron, but in our last session, he’d talked about getting me off of it while keeping me on Prozac (which I’ve been on since April of 2003.) Also, I’m not getting any younger (although I am getting fatter) and I couldn’t wait to get an appointment with the therapist. By the time I manage to get an appointment, I’ll be so fat I can’t get out of the house.

I had two refills of 30 pills left, so this is what I did:

The first refill I took a Remeron every other night. Two months later, I got the last refil and have been splitting the pills in half and taking half a pill every other night.

Even before I stared the half a pill, my appetite decreased to a dull roar. My appetite has been decreasing. Unfortunately, I haven’t lost any weight, yet, but at least the grocery bill has gone down.

So far, I have not experienced any withdrawal symptoms except that it takes me another 2 or 3 hours to fall asleep on my non-Remeron nights.

I don’t recommend cutting back on psych meds unless you talk to your doctor first, but I rarely follow my own advice.

A glass of ginger tea/ Wikimedia Commons

Do you need to relax? Try ginger essential oil or other ginger products. Please do not use this article in the place of a medical professional’s diagnosis.

There are a few legal herbs that can help you relax. These herbs — chamomile, mint and St. John’s Wort — help your body to relax, even when it’s tensed up in pain. Technically, they’re called anti-spasmodic. But are there any herbs known to help combat stress? Say hello to ginger.

Now, before you go on a ginger spree, please be sure to talk to your doctor or physician first, especially if you are taking blood thinners. Although ginger is natural and not synthetic, it still needs to be treated with respect.

Different Forms

Ginger is another anti-spasmodic that some people prefer over chamomile or mint. Ginger snaps, candied ginger and ginger tea are great for digestive upsets. And many children of my generation were raised on ginger ale whenever we got sick. This turned me off of ginger for a long time, because whenever I got sick, I got ginger ale — no matter what it was I was sick with. If you have unpleasant memories of ginger, try to eat ginger treats or drink ginger ale when you are feeling happy (or at least, not sick) and soon your unconscious will pair the smell and taste of ginger ale with feeling good.

Ginger essential oil is good for helping your body to feel warm. Sometimes, a massage with diluted ginger oil helps people with digestive cramps, rheumatitis or stress. One or two drops in a foot bath is also very relaxing.

Different People React Differently

I like a bit of ginger treats to help me feel better about life in general. I don’t take it medicinally, but there are people that do. Again, you have to talk to your doctor or a licensed herbalist about this. I find ginger to help me relax, calm down and get perspective. Because it’s a bit spicy, I have to eat or sip it slowly, lest I burn my mouth. If you are working with any kind of ginger — ginger essential oil, fresh ginger or even ginger powder for baking, be sure to wash your hands after handling it. You don’t want that stuff in your eyes or up your nose. Trust me on this one.

And yes, there are people with which ginger does nothing at all for their stress levels. We’re all different. Things to help you relax when under stress are still out there. Think of me when I accidentally blew my nose after mincing fresh ginger. I was hopping up and down shrieking like my nose was on fire — because that’s what it felt like. Perhaps that mental image can help you to laugh and relax.

Perhaps you’ve been prescribed Zoloft (sertraline) for depression, anxiety disorders, OCD or for off-label uses such as for migraines, fibromyalgia or to combat sleep disorders.  What are the side effects you need to watch out for?  What are the other brand names for Zoloft?  I discuss these things and more in an article I did for Yahoo Contributor Network.

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