It's Time to Stop Demonizing Medication

It's Time to Stop Demonizing Medication

Taking prescription medication has saved my life. Stop demonizing me for my choice.
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I began taking antidepressants in February of 2015 and they saved my life.

Freshman year of college was a rough time. I wasn't happy with the friends I was making, I felt lonely, and my great-uncle passed away the week of finals. The grief of it all piled on top of me and I felt a misery I hadn't felt in a long time. I had gained more than the Freshman 15 and felt uncomfortable in my body. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted anymore. January brought terrible habits and I began to punish myself. I felt weak, exhausted, miserable. When I came back to school, I had no idea how to feel about anything. I began to isolate myself and the future I saw ahead for myself was very bleak.

Choosing to go to therapy was the first step in saving my life. I had researched antidepressants in the weeks since I had gone to therapy but there was a part of me that thought I was weak for choosing that route. I read the experiences of people online who said that antidepressants made them feel even worse; out-of-touch with reality, nauseated, and in a deeper hole than when they began. Some even said that the medication had no effect on them at all. I panicked. I felt myself teetering so close to the edge and I needed something to save me.

When I met with my psychiatrist, he said I needed to go on medication right away. I refused only because I was thinking about what other people had said about antidepressants. What was the point in trying something that didn't work?

Both my therapist and psychiatrist spoke to me, calming me down and giving me necessary information. They even called my mother for me and explained everything while I was a sobbing mess in the chair beside them. Days later, I started on medication.

It was hard at first. I felt dizzy and nauseated just as the people online had said. However, I had also been warned for the side effects by my doctor. I was helped through the exhaustion and sickness and a week later, I felt better than I had in months, perhaps years.

With so many young people choosing to take medication, and myself taking medication on-and-off for two years, I have seen the unintelligent criticisms. "This is what is causing the opioid crisis" or "This is the problem with doctors in America; they prescribe medication instead of dealing with the actual problem".

Stop demonizing life-saving medication.

Without my medication, I wouldn't be able to function as a human being. I don't want to think about what would have happened to me if I didn't start taking medication. I'm stable thanks to my psychiatrist's intervention and the advice of my therapist. Of course, the first week of medication is the worst but don't discount how your body adjusts to it. And sometimes it may not work for everything and that's fine. But don't demonize me for taking medication that has saved my life.

My life is not yours. Other people's lives are not your own. You never know why someone is on medication and it is not your place to judge unless there is reason for concern. Medication is not an evil; it can be a necessity for recovery. There may be a day where I will not need medication. Until that day comes, respect my choice for taking it.

Cover Image Credit: CNBC

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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An Addiction To Opioids Forced My Mother To Lose Almost Everything She Cared About

What you don't know can hurt you, and those around you

MeganO
MeganO
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All of us have heard for generations now, that Cannabis (AKA Marijuana, Weed, Mary Jane, etc..) is a gateway drug. But It only started to be called a "gateway drug" around the time when opioids started to arise in our medical systems. Opioids seemed like a perfect fix for everything, and no one seemed to really be paying attention to what kind of side effects it has on a person.

With opioids, a person can become pain-free fairly quickly, which is a big help after surgeries. But if usage isn't monitored, or if doctors over prescribe, people can become seriously addicted, and very dependent on these types of medications. People who have become hooked on these opioid painkillers are more likely to look for more and move on to worse drugs like Heroin and Fentanyl.

A good deal of Heroin/Fentanyl users today started out by being prescribed or by misusing someone's prescription opioids. Now, to be clear, just because someone is prescribed an opioid it doesn't mean they will be automatically addicted and dependent. When the drug is used responsibly, it can be a big lifesaver.

I have personally seen how opioids can make someone turn into something they're not. My mother went through a knee surgery when I was younger and she ended up having to take painkillers afterward, and low and behold, she got hooked. It changed who she was almost entirely. She and I got into a lot of fights, she acted off at times, stayed in bed a lot, and her substance use ultimately destroyed her marriage with my father in the end.

The opioids brought out a side in my mother that was more than likely already there but intensified it to the point where she almost lost everything she cared about. She would even take alcohol with the medications, and that made things much worse. She and I would get into very bad "fights" and it caused me to feel very trapped. She eventually kicked me out of the house around the time my parents started to get divorced, and I (being only 14 at the time) of course moved in with my dad.

I love my mother, and I know that what I went through growing up happened mostly because of the opioids she was taking. After I left the house things got worse, and I sadly don't keep in touch with her as much anymore, but I worry a lot about her.

Regardless, with scientists looking for better alternatives by studying cannabis, the opioid crisis could be on its way to extinction. Scientsist have already made strides with a medication called 'Epidiolex', it has been recently the approved by the FDA. It is a medication with cannabidiol (CBD) that is used to help treat seizures and other side effects of Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. However research on target pain therapy by CBD is still underway. Which means that until the treatment it is approved, not much will change for the millions upon millions affected by today's opioid misuse.

Cover Image Credit:

Pixabay

MeganO
MeganO

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