Volume 2, Issue 30
July 23, 2009

Why high blood pressure,
depression, and anxiety can cause memory problems

If you have high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, or any other illness, it could easily lead to memory loss. However, it's not the disease itself that will affect your memory. It's the drugs you take to treat your illness.

Many of the drugs that people over 65 use on a regular basis can impair your memory. The drugs most heavily studied in this category are the benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, which treat depression. Clonidine, another memory inhibitor, is a drug doctors prescribe to treat hypertension.

But that's not all. Drugs such as dilanton, which treats seizure disorders, often impair memory.ÿ Many of the medications used to treat depression, such as Paxil, also decrease memory.

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And many patients suffer from a condition called "polypharmacy," which refers to the combined side effects of several drugs. You might be taking several different drugs for various reasons. This can be a major cause of memory loss — one that your doctor may not identify.

If your memory became impaired shortly after you were placed on a new medication or had a dosage increase, the odds are good that the drug is affecting your brain function. If that's the case, talk to your doctor and see if there's a better option.

Or better yet, talk to an integrative physician and find out how to get off of all your drugs. There are usually good alternatives you can take instead — and they won't have the nasty side effects. Remember, except for antibiotics, drugs don't cure anything. And I want you to find a cure.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

Copyright 2009 Soundview Publishing, LLC

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