Dr Oz: Anxiety & Sleep Meds Linked To Alzheimer’s
Dr Oz reported that some common medications you could find in your own medicine cabinet, are now being linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. Prescription pills used to alleviate anxiety and insomnia already put people at risk for dangerous overdoses, but now benzodiazepines are making headlines again over some new potentially dangerous side effects. The pills can cause addiction, dizziness, confusion, and memory loss, and now a new study reports a link between benzodiazepines and Alzheimer’s.
Six years of data found that those with Alzheimer’s Disease were 50% more likely to have taken benzodiazepines. The longer the people took the drugs, the greater their risks. Approximately 50% of older people are currently using benzodiazepines, and Alzheimer’s rates are increasing worldwide.
Dr Oz: Benzodiazepines & Alzheimer’s
Dr Oz reported that more than 100 million benzodiazepines prescriptions are written per year. The prescriptions are growing an estimated 12.5% every year on top of that. Plus, twice as many women as men take the pills.
Dr Oz was born by director of the New York Memory Center and Healthy Aging Services, Dr Gayatri Devi. Dr Devi shared that some of the medicines include Valium and Xanax. She said people in the field are aware that the drugs suppress memory and cause memory dysfunction. This is the largest study to find a vital link between Alzheimer’s and chronic use of benzodiazepines.
Dr Oz: Dangers Of Benzodiazepines
Dr Devi said younger people are more and more likely to use benzodiazepines and the younger you are when you use them, the more likely you are to develop dependence. Dr Devi said the drugs basically suppress the central nervous system, causing your brain to function a little bit slower. They often treat insomnia and anxiety, but they function as a “band-aid,” treating the symptoms rather than treating the actual problem.
Dr Oz then shared images from two different scans, one of which was a normal brain on no medication. There was obviously activity going on in the brain. But in an image of a brain scan from someone on benzodiazepines, there was very little activity.
Dr Oz: Taking Sleep, Anxiety Medications
Dr Devi shared that benzodiazepines are meant to be used short term, a month at the most, and under close medical supervision. If you use it for a long period of time there’s a high risk of becoming dependent on the drug to sleep and to function, which is not okay. Dr Oz said he had always been hesitant about using the medications “because they hinder you from enjoying life.”
Have you ever taken benzodiazepines? Would you consider trying to get off them after hearing about their link to Alzheimer’s?