Yeah, that got your attention.
Anymore, there’s pretty much a drug for everything. No matter what your bodily concern, you can usually find a pill designed to address it. From energy and weight loss pills to allergy pills to pain pills to mood pills, there’s a drug out there to help.
And usually, they do help.
The only problem? A list of side effects a mile long.
It never ceases to amaze me just how many other problems a person is willing to contract in order to get rid of the one they have.
For example, allergies. I suffer from mild allergies, and my husband’s are worse, so I totally sympathize with those whose allergies are so bad they can barely function. But, in exchange for relief from allergy symptoms, they risk conditions that need immediate doctor intervention:
- fast or uneven heart rate;
- feeling like you might pass out;
- jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes); or
- seizures (convulsions).
Or less serious side effects such as:
- feeling tired or drowsy;
- stomach pain, diarrhea;
- dry mouth, sore throat hoarseness;
- eye redness, blurred vision;
- nosebleed; or
- skin rash.
Just how much of this is worth the allergy relief? I can’t help but wonder.
Then there are energy pills. Yes, life is stressful. Yes, I am among the millions who don’t get enough sleep. And, yes, I have been known to down several cups of coffee in a day. I cannot judge those who feel they need energy pills just to make it through the day. Yet here are only some of the side effects that may result:
- increased or irregular heart rate
- energy crashes
- mood swings
Don’t even get me started on diet pills (another category I can’t claim immunity to temptation regarding), the side effects of which can include headache, back pain, abdominal pain, hypertension, palpitation, anorexia, constipation, nausea, thirst, joint disorder, insomnia, dizziness, anxiety, depression, rash, acne, infectious diarrhea, rectal pain, pulmonary hypertension, regurgitant cardiac valvular disease, palpitation, elevated blood pressure, overstimulation, restlessness, dizziness, insomnia, headaches, dryness of the mouth, diarrhea, constipation, urticaria, impotence, and more depending on what types are taken.
And then there are the mood stabilizing pills. Let me start by saying I absolutely believe sometimes medication for a chemical imbalance or neurological issue is necessary and totally appropriate. One of my very best friends is depressed, and I truly wish he would consent to medication because his depression is so severe it’s debilitating and some days he can barely function. However, at what point is the cure worse than the issue itself? This is a list of the most common side effects for a commonly advertised mood stabilizing drug:
- Headaches– in up to 27 percent of people
- A sedated feeling — up to 23 percent
- Agitation — up to 19 percent
- Insomnia– up to 18 percent
- Fatigue — up to 17 percent
- Anxiety — up to 17 percent
- Drowsiness — up to 16 percent
- Nausea — up to 15 percent
- Vomiting — up to 14 percent
- Restlessness — up to 12 percent
- Constipation — up to 11 percent.
Some other common side effects (occurring in 2 percent to 10 percent of people) included:
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Shakiness (tremors)
- Weight gain
- Dry mouth
- Joint pain
- Throat pain
- Blurred vision
- Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
- Nasal congestion
- Increased salivation
- Swelling or water retention in the arms, legs, or feet.
- Signs of diabetes
- Large or rapid weight gain
- Suicidal thoughts
- High blood pressure
- Dizziness or fainting when going from a sitting or lying-down position to standing
- Feelings of internal restlessness or jitteriness
- Any abnormal muscle movements (these movements can become permanent if the drug is not stopped quickly)
- A painful erection of the penis that does not go away (priapism)
- Signs or symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome
- Signs of an allergic reaction
- Vertigo (a spinning sensation)
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Low thyroid or high thyroid
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Canker sores
- Yeast infections
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Kidney stones
- An increased or decreased sex drive
- Hair loss
- Varicose veins
I’m not saying all drugs are bad, and I’m not trying to suggest we’d be better off without them, but I can’t help thinking we as a society are so dependent on drugs for every complaint that we have lost some sight of the big picture and what we’re actually getting ourselves in for when we expect a pill to solve every problem.