Be Careful

There’s a monster in your medicine cabinet. I’m not trying to scare you, but a monster might be roaming around your bathroom, checking your prescriptions, and perhaps helping himself to a few of your pain meds. That monster might be your teen or grandchild.

As our kids grow up, it’s easy to think of them as innocent children. Experiment with drugs or alcohol? Not my kid! The fact is, according to, “Every day in the U.S., 2,500 youth (12 to 17) abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.” Where do they get the drugs? That’s where your medicine cabinet comes in.

What can you do? It’s simple: keep your meds under lock and key.

Another problem involves prescriptions for ADHD, drugs like Ritalin and Adderall. While these drugs are meant to help kids with ADHD focus better, kids without ADHD who take them experience a speedy rush, a feeling I have heard can be quite addicting. So guess where the kids are getting these drugs? From their friends with prescriptions who sell them to make some extra money.

What can you do? If your child is prescribed these drugs for ADHD, keep an eye on his prescription refills.

You may wonder why I’m writing about this topic. It’s partly because I’ve seen how misusing drugs has affected people I know. But mainly it’s because our society seems to be relying on drugs too heavily. I’m blessed to not need any mood-altering drugs (though I will admit to having a fondness for wine, which is a drug of a different kind). But I do feel that, as a society, we need to consider other options before taking strong drugs.

For example, people who are dealing with depression and anxiety might try drug-free therapies. This could involve meeting with a therapist to talk about ways to make your life better. Or you could try exercising on a regular basis: swimming, jogging, cycling, yoga, or even something as simple as taking a walk out in nature. Getting exercise and being outdoors can do wonders to lift your mood and chase away the blues.

Pursuing a hobby is also a fabulous way to reduce stress and anxiety. Many find gardening is the perfect way to unwind. For me, cooking is a great escape from the day-to-day grind. I love the sensory experience of cooking: chopping fresh vegetables, smelling the aromas, and of course tasting the delicious end result.

I also have an interest in herbs—not only their use in the kitchen, but how they are used to ward off health problems and perhaps even resolve them. The Chinese have used herbs medicinally for 5,000 years. Other ancient civilizations—from Egypt to India—have prescribed herbs to help people get well and stay well. Even today, you’ll find herbalism being practiced around the world. Check out your local health food store or talk to an herbalist about remedies that might help you. Of course, let your health care practitioner know if you start taking any supplements.

Of course, prescription drugs are essential for serious conditions. Many people owe their lives to modern medicine. I take meds to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol, and I’m glad to have them. But I also know that a few dietary changes and more exercise would make them less necessary. I’m working on it!

We all have choices. Let’s choose to be careful about the drugs we take and make sure they are not accessible to the young people in our lives. And the next time your doctor prescribes a new pill, ask yourself if it’s alleviating the symptoms or the root cause. Then take steps to get to the root of the problem.

Finally, don’t be afraid to try alternative or complementary medicine. Even something as simple as a massage can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Try one soon and you’ll see what I mean.

Good luck on your wellness journey.

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Peggy Sijswerda

Tidewater Women Magazine, Editor & Co-Publisher.

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