The state of Washington has passed a bill (SHB 2876) that could limit access to treatment for your pain and set dosage limits on opioid pain medications. This is a serious issue for all of those who live with chronic pain and their families/caregivers, as well as for society as a whole. Inadequate pain control results in more frequent doctor visits, increased work absences, lower productivity, higher rates of disability and an increased need for social programs such as food stamps. It can also cause depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment (difficulty thinking, reasoning, or remembering,) a compromised immune system, chronic stress, an impaired ability to perform everyday tasks such as dressing or housework, limited mobility, disturbed sleep and more. Continue reading Do You Live With Chronic Pain? Your Right to Adequate Treatment is Under Attack! »
Do you suffer from bipolar disorder or depression? Are you pregnant, or planning to get pregnant?
If so, and you’re taking an SSRI (Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, Sarafem, Lexapro, Luvox) or SNRI (Cymbalta, Effexor, Pristiq) type antidepressant medication, or a combination of two different types of antidepressants, you may want to talk to your doctor about other options during your pregnancy. A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reports that taking these medications during pregnancy increases the chances of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) by MORE than two-thirds (68%.)
Withdrawal from these medications is extremely dangerous, and should never be attempted without the supervision of a qualified specialist with experience in handling “Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome.” The symptoms of withdrawal can be more severe than the original symptoms, even when doses are only reduced, rather than stopped entirely.
Canadian Medical Association Journal, abstract: http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/abstract/cmaj.091208v1
Baker, S.L. (2010). “Antidepressants during pregnancy cause alarming 68 percent increased risk of miscarriage” (retrieved June 7, 2010). http://www.naturalnews.com/028943_antidepressants_miscarriage.html
We’ve all been there – many of us deal with it every day . . . the well-meaning friend or family member who comes running every time there’s a new pill or treatment available for our chronic illness. We know they just want to “help” us get better, but it’s crazy-making to constantly be bombarded with new things to try. It’s especially bad when we try the wonderful new treatment, and it DOESN’T WORK! Then we get to deal with their disappointment and questions about, “Are you sure you’re doing it right?” or “Did the doctor give you a strong enough dosage?”
Healthy people mostly only have experience with things like colds, flu, and infections; with maybe a few injuries thrown in. For simple stuff like this, it’s easy — take a few pills for the symptoms of the cold or flu, and in a week or so, it’s gone; take an antibiotic for about 10 days, and the infection is CURED. Injuries involve some down time for healing, and maybe a little physical therapy, and everything is back to normal. Because this is all the experience they have with illness, they assume that ALL illness is like that.
I call it “the antibiotic theory of chronic illness.” Continue reading Are Well-Meaning Friends/Family Driving You Crazy? »
Living with chronic illnesses affects us in so many ways that it’s really impossible to even list them all. Each of us lives within our own little universe of illnesses, symptoms, and needs. The one thing that is the same for every one of us; no matter which diseases, syndromes, or disorders we have; is the need for medical treatment in some form.
Because we frequently have multiple illnesses which affect different parts of our bodies, we may need to see an array of specialists on a regular basis. This quite often causes major complications in our treatment, since many doctors try to treat in a vacuum, ignoring the effect of their medications and recommended procedures on any disorder that is not part of their specialty. Continue reading Managing Your Healthcare Team, Part I »