spotlight on tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder

Rx padHere at Planet Thrive, we are big proponents of using natural, non-invasive approaches like dietary change and lifestyle modifications to shift the ill body toward a healthier equilibrium. Although we are not against using pharmaceuticals in any given situation, we certainly believe that they should not be the first recourse to managing a health condition. One reason is that they can cause a lifelong addiction or dependence on the drug without addressing the root cause of the illness – merely offering a bandaid solution that ultimately drains the bank account of the sufferer while padding the pockets of Big Pharma.

Another reason we are cautious of prescription medications is that pharmaceuticals can be very hard on the liver, which must process all “xenobiotics,” and can cause many secondary conditions and side effects that are even worse than what you turned to the medication for in the first place. Sometimes these new conditions are permanent, as in the case of tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder that can cause involuntary movements such as facial grimacing, jaw swinging, repetitive chewing, and tongue thrusting, as a result of taking certain medications including neuroleptics.

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) website

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) Center website

From the Tardive Dyskinesia Center:

“Tardive dyskinesia is a result of damage to the bodily systems that process dopamine, and is typically caused by exposure to certain prescription medications – including Reglan. Tardive dyskinesia causes victims to suffer from involuntary, repetitive movements which often continue after the drug is no longer used.

Tardive dyskinesia symptoms which are irreversible and incurable, mimic those of Parkinson’s disease. The best treatment for tardive dyskinesia appears to be prevention although there are some natural ways to manage your symptoms.

In one study spanning two decades, 60,000 patients under the care of 80 psychiatrists who were treating their patients with typical anti-psychotic medications while concurrently administering high doses of vitamin supplements. These supplements included Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E. Significantly, only 34 out of the 60,000 patients developed symptoms of tardive dyskinesia.

Another tardive dyskinesia treatment relies on dopamine agonists – medications that activate receptors where dopamine is not present. These are used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Amine-depleting medications actually reduce the levels of dopamine in the brain as well as serotonin. The most effective of these appears to be tetrabenazine, which was approved for use in the U.S. in August of 2008 for the treatment of Huntington’s disease.”

Bottom line, we all need to consciously eschew the pill-popping messages we get bombarded with in our culture and start taking full responsibility for our own health. No looking to Big Pharma to make all our symptoms go away quick, then sticking our heads back down in the sand because everything is okay now. Time to start growing, cooking and/or preparing our own organic food, eliminating chemicals from our homes and lifestyles, and pursuing the careers, people, and lives that make us happy.

I know – I make it sound easy when in reality it is quite difficult to achieve, especially if you are in the middle of the rat race with a family to feed and a mortgage to pay, or suffering from an extremely challenging and chronic pain disorder. But change has to start somewhere, why not with you? Why not do the hard work now, starting with one small simple step and building up, before you are the next victim of a prescription drug “side effect”?

All I know is I heard today about a young man who had turned to Zoloft several years ago to treat depression and now suffers from Parkinson-like tremors. Permanent? I don’t know. But it makes me very sad to hear about this, knowing that there are a lot of other natural options for treating depression that he could have tried first, had he known about them.

Sure, there are situations that are best treated with medication. But my point is that we, as a society, turn to drugs more often – and sooner – than we should without exploring the alternatives. Much of this is not our fault; we’ve been well trained and conditioned from a young age by TV and products advertisements, our physicians, as well as our friends and family. But we are the ones who will suffer if we don’t start taking responsibility for our health, starting today.

For more information on tardive dyskinesia, please visit the website of the Tardive Dyskinesia Center.

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