OUTSIDE HELP: ‘TRADITIONAL’ HEALING THERAPIES
Drug Therapies – Sebostatics
Sebostatics are medicines that prevent overproduction of sebum.
Isotretinoin [Accutane®] is a deritive of Vitamin A developed in the 1970’s and it works to reduce the amount of sebum produced. The treatment usually lasts for three to five months. If you are a female you must have a reliable method of birth control and take a pregnancy test before you can use it because it can cause birth defects. Other side effects include decreased night vision, liver abnormality, dry skin, chapped lips, nosebleeds, and cholesterol abnormalities.
At first the press touted this as the wonder drug for acne sufferers, but studies have found that acne returned in 25 percent of patients receiving this drug.
Although reasonable Vitamin A supplementation is a positive thing to do for your general well being, trying to create your own Isotretinoin type treatment by taking lots of over-the-counter Vitamin A could be poisonous. Don’t do it.
Drug Therapies – Oral Antibiotics
Antibiotics or bactericides are substances that kill bacteria. They are usually prescribed for more severe cases of skin breakouts. When they are taken internally they have a better chance of effecting your bloodstream and decreasing the bacteria in your hair follicles than topical antibiotics. When the bacteria is reduced, there is less chance of developing inflammation.
Tetracycline is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic to treat acne. It is one of the least expensive and it works by reducing the bacteria that produces free fatty acids which irritate plugged pores. This results in inflammation. It also works by reducing the amount of lipase in the sebaceous secretions – in other words by thinning the oil and wax which cause the pore to plug in the first place. Antacids and dairy products can interfere with its absorption and it cannot be taken by pregnant women or young children due to certain side effects.
Other antibiotics also commonly prescribed include Erythromycin, Doxycycline, Minocycline [Myocin], and Trimethoprim-Sulfa and Sulfones [Bactrim DS, Cotrim DS, Spetra DS].
One more IMPORTANT thing about antibiotics. When you use an antibiotic it effects all the bacteria in your entire body. This includes the ‘friendly flora’ in your intestinal tract such as Bifidus, Acidophilus, and other Bacilli which help you digest and eliminate your food. Not to mention, if you are a women, all of the friendly bacteria that keep your vagina balanced and in good working order.
If you take antibiotics for any kind of infection, it is important to replace the ‘friendly flora’ with supplemental bacteria which any good doctor will recommend for you. Without taking them you are in for a nasty imbalance in your bowels, Gastrointestinal Distress, and Vaginal Candidiasis (yeast infections). Eating yogurt with active cultures also helps.
Drug Therapies – Hormones, etc.
Hormonal therapy may be used in some cases when acne is specifically diagnosed as a hormonal imbalance. Birth control pills which contain estrogen are used to regulate and offset over abundant androgens or male hormones in women. These hormones may cause acne depending on the individual patient. Generally estrogen will decrease sebaceous gland activity. In fact, female hormones can play such a large part in skin health that women often find their acne disappears when they become pregnant only to have it reappear after the pregnancy.
Anti-inflammatory medications or Glucocorticosteroids, [Prednisone] may also be prescribed for patients with extremely irritated conditions. Less commonly used hormones include: Prednisone and Spironolactone.
“Conventional physicians generally have no answers to such questions. We are slipshod allopaths, dumping unnatural chemicals into or onto the body, but ignoring, or subverting, Nature’s healings powers. We treat symptoms, but are too lazy to get down to Root Causes, calling it a ‘just a skin problem,’ when it must be a systemic condition.” *4
One thing we have not talked about thus far is depression. It is a common thread through many of the ‘medical’ conditions associated with habitual picking, from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to Trichotillomania, from Prader Willis Syndrome to Nail Biting. Any state of mind that would insight you to an act of self mutilation has not got to feel good.
As doctors become more informed of the causes of depression, they have found a correlation with the seratonin levels in the brain. Seratonin is a nuerotransmitter or a chemical substance in your body which functions to send ‘electrical’ mood signals to your brain. It keeps you emotionally stable, helps you tolerate pain, and maintains your self-confidence. People who suffer depression are often deficient or depleted in seratonin, and doctors are finding these same depleted levels in patients who suffer other compulsive disorders.
Deficiency in seratonin results in depression, obsession thoughts and worries, compromised self esteem, sleep disorders, general irritability and sweet craving. Many of the food/chemical we ingest directly effect seratonin, such as sugar, marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, and ecstasy-type drugs.
Traditional medicine usually treats depression with mood stabilizing drugs or anti-depressants, the older ones being ‘tricyclic-type’ such as Doxepin. The newest antidepressants are in the Prozac family and are called SSRIs or Selective Seratonin Uptake Inhibitors. Some common names are SSRIs such as sertraline work on both the amounts of seratonin and their receptors in the brain and have been found to be effective in treating some of the different types of Obsessive Compulsive disorders. The side effects include diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders, headache, and sexual dysfunction. Which if you ask me could lead one to even more depression.
Many pickers who get prescribed anti-depressants say that they still pick, but that they just feel less attached and more relaxed about the picking. They get relief for a short time while they first get on the drugs, then take up the old habit as naturally as ever, but without as much ‘care.’