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The Link Between Anxiety Pills and Alzheimer’s


Brain A study finds benzodiazepines, a common class of drugs used to treat anxiety and insomnia, are linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The revelation appears to come as no surprise to prominent physician and author Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, who tells Live in the Now it illustrates “one of medicine’s dirty little secrets.”

3-Month Use of Anxiety Pills Linked to Up to 50 Percent Higher Risk

The study published in the British Medical Journal found the risk is particularly high for long-term users of these medications, so researchers are suggesting people avoid taking the drugs longer than three months. Because of the strong association discovered in the research, the authors are saying the unnecessary use of the medications is a public health concern.

French and Canadian scientists tabulated the onset of Alzheimer’s in older Quebec residents who took the drugs. They also compared data from people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to that of healthy people of the same gender and age over a period of six years.

The findings revealed the longer people took the medications, the more likely they were to develop Alzheimer’s. Startlingly, they had up to a 50 percent greater risk of the disease after only taking the drugs for three months, especially if they were taking long-acting benzodiazepines. Moreover, among people who took the drugs more than six months, the risk rose almost two-fold.

Earlier studies have linked the drugs to cognitive and memory problems mostly in people taking them on a short-term basis. However, the connection to Alzheimer’s appeared convincing in the current long-term study.

The Dirty Secret of Anxiety Pills

Statistics show 11 percent of middle-aged women take anti-anxiety medications and millions of Americans depend on sedatives to sleep at night. The study’s findings indicate that these people have a substantially elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Yet according to Teitelbaum, the problem isn’t so much that the drugs increase the risk but that their side effects cause those who take them to be misdiagnosed with the disease. “Medication side effects are a common cause of what is often diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. Research shows that 30 to 50 percent of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s actually don’t have any signs of the disease in their brain at autopsy. Rather, post-mortem examinations indicate the dementia is caused by another problem, such as hidden medication side effects,” he explains.

“In addition to cognitive dysfunction, benzodiazepines can lead to addiction and dependence. Natural agents for anxiety and sleep, such as lavender and other remedies, are safer and more effective,” adds Teitelbaum. He and his colleagues are recruiting people with dementia for a study that includes weaning them off any unneeded medications. Anyone interested is invited to call 410-573-5389 for information.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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