As the entire country grieves over one too many gun-related accidents in the past five years, news stories flash across the screen with maddening excuses for the shooters: mental illness, personality disorder. In the eyes of many health professionals, all roads lead to overuse of medication.

One of the most common side-effects of psychiatric drugs is violent outbursts and thoughts of suicide, according to Mike Adams, of Natural News. Adams statement is supported by many others with similar concerns:The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has raised concerns about severe acts of violence as side-effects of anti-psychotic and antidepressant drugs not only on individuals but on society, as well,” says Barbara Shoff, of Policy Mic.

over medicated

Overuse of medication is a hot topic in the health world, even outside of these very tragic events. Think ADD or ADHD medication, diabetes medication, and the list of too many pills goes on. These discussions and shootings bring a more important point to light: are you, or your loved ones, over-medicated?

Regardless of how you answer that question, it’s time to take control of your medications so you can control yourself and your health. Here’s how…

Ask the Right Doctor

With new diseases come newly specialized doctors who may only be well versed in medication specific to health issues, such as arthritis, for example. Because of this, not every doctor knows how the meds they prescribe will react with other drugs that you take.

“A woman who went to a pulmonologist, a lung doctor, and was on other medications from her cardiologist,  her rheumatologist for her arthritis and heart disease. So she has a list of medications, and the lung doctor wanted to put her on certain medications, as well. And she goes, ‘Are those going to have any problems with the other medications?’ And he says, ‘I don’t know, I’m a lung doctor,’” recalls Dr. Saunders.

Ask the Right Questions

As Dr. Saunders suggests, it’s never smart to blindly do as your doctor says. While their knowledge and experience is valuable, it’s important that you play a part in your health as well. “Don’t be afraid to question if your doctor wants to put you on a medication and you don’t think that’s a good idea. Ask if there are any alternatives to this,” says Joe Barton, CEO of Barton Publishing.

Not sure what questions to ask? Dr. Saunders recommends that you research all options before your appointment —

  • Look for possible medical issues based on your symptoms.
  • Consider current medications and seek alternative treatment options.
  • Bring the findings with you and discuss them with your doctor.

use as directedIf you’re worried about getting bad information, don’t be. Whether good or bad, what you find online is information that you can dissect with your doctor. “If you bring it in and say, ‘Okay, what about this? Why is that bad? What’s wrong with it?’ then that’s what the doctor’s there for; to advise you and be able to explain that,” says Dr. Saunders.

Whether the information you found is right or wrong, be sure that you understand all the whys. “… Understand why your doctor is prescribing a medication and write it down … the positive effects should be obvious in your day-to-day life,” says Dennis Bourdette, M.D.

Whether over-medication has lead to the gun violence or not, there’s one important take away: you, your kids, or the people you love, may be be over-medicated which can be dangerous for everyone involved.

Take control of your health with three simple steps—see the right doctor, do research before your appointment, and ask questions and gain and understanding of the decision your doctor has made. When you’re an active player in your health, you may just see a decrease in your monthly prescription pick-up.


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