How to get off the medication merry-go-round
Updated: Feb 13
Two of the things I see most often in my practice are insomnia and depression. This is why I ask everyone who comes to me, whatever their initial complaint, how they sleep and how they feel.
People who have come to me with chronic pain they have been managing for years will invariably also be taking antidepressants to help their mood and something to help them sleep at night.
Unfortunately one of the side effects of antidepressants is insomnia and for sedatives used to treat insomnia is depression. Both can also cause diarrhoea and constipation so for the lovely people I see with IBS as a holistic medical practitioner it is important to establish in which of these three corners of the triangle the problem started, in order to help the body’s own immune system put itself back together.
IBS is a painful condition and its treatment can be a right tangle; Constant bloating and abdominal pain is treated with opiates and anti-inflammatories which respectively slow down the gut and irritate the stomach. This can upset the acid balance so reflux is often a side-effect. This is treated with heartburn medication, which comes with its own side effects, including diarrhoea, nausea and headaches - each treatment coming with a side-effect which requires another chemical to suppress it - and so the cycle goes on…
To compound matters with IBS, it is usually accompanied by off-the scale agony from flare-ups after a trigger-food is eaten. Often this food is hidden in “safe” food and going out for dinner becomes a minefield.
This, along with never-ending tiredness - because you are constantly living with pain and fighting side-effects, impacts your social life and when you stop going out, you stop seeing friends. Before too long the condition takes over your whole life, because food is a three-times-a-day part of life and the lowness sinks in.
Life is a dance of up and down and off to the loo. No sleep, no respite and little joy.
It would be unethical to take people off medication prescribed by a doctor and I would never do this but when the chronic pain is addressed people find they are not reaching so often for their opiate and anti-inflammatory medication. Furthermore, the energy they lost in the battle to fight the side-effects seems to return, along with some much-needed sleep helping people to make better food and lifestyle choices. With the support of their doctor they are able to reduce their antidepressants and steroids and the tangle of medication caused by medication starts to unravel.
There are homeopathic support remedies I use to help re-install the pattern of sleep, others have been used for centuries to help reduce depression and others which trigger the healing response in the gut to patch up the inflammation and reduce sensitivity. Sometimes the hormones are involved, seen in a monthly aggravation around the period and sometimes a long-held grief is where it all started. In each case a simple hour’s consultation is usually enough time to get to the root of the problem and find the remedy and any support remedies that could trigger the healing response.
Sleep and energy are my greatest assistants and once the healing starts to happen I have found relief to be astonishingly quick. I have seen people from 16 - 93 with these symptoms and age was no boundary. On top of feeling better within themselves, people often report feeling relief from being free of their restrictive schedule of pill-taking and able to get on with their lives without constant sick-days and time off for trips to the doctor and various specialists for tests.