BY ANDREA SONNENBERG: Complete Post through this link…
Five years ago, my 21-year-old son Bradley died of psychiatric drug interactions, after years of battling anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. In most respects, Bradley was very much like many kids you know. He was funny, smart, and talented, constantly making people laugh with goofy impersonations, and starring in school plays and musicals. We—me, my husband, and Bradley’s siblings—deeply supported him in his challenges with mental health. He had access to the best healthcare available. But despite his privilege, we couldn’t save him.
At the time of his death, Bradley was taking a cocktail of medications prescribed by respected doctors. Bradley died unexpectedly in his sleep because of a practice called polypharmacy—the layering of multiple medications on top of one another, often without regard to what other doctors have already prescribed or the potential interactions between the drugs.
It is not uncommon for patients to receive psychiatric medication without being evaluated by a mental-health professional. Often, a primary-care physician will prescribe an antidepressant without considering various other evidence-based treatments that may be more effective and without possible side effects. There are also the financial incentives, whereby insurance companies are more inclined to pay for medications than therapy, and at a higher reimbursement rate. That’s not to say that medications can’t be helpful; often they are critical to treatment and produce miraculous results. But many medications come with serious side effects. When many medications are taken together, they can cause harmful drug interactions. Plus, there is the risk of taking the wrong dosage, either too high or too low, which can lead to potential withdrawal symptoms or accidental overdose.