Chicago-area event aimed at stopping the medication merry-go-round

Jessica Young

Gwen Olsen’s 20-year-old niece, Meg, lit herself on fire with lantern oil, committing suicide. And Olsen, who was in pharmaceutical sales for 15 years, had no doubt in her mind that antidepressants caused the suicidal tendency in the young woman’s life.

Olsen began to reassess society’s communal medicine cabinet and, awakened to dangers lurking there, decided to pen the bestseller “Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher — God’s Call to Loving Arms.”

Several local chiropractors, moved by her story and mission after meeting her at a health conference, asked Olsen to participate in “Maxed Out: A Life-Saving Evening,” as the keynote speaker. The program, set for Jan. 19 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, will focus on the adverse effects of psychotropic drugs.

“(Attendees) will benefit through learning the facts about the dangers of the typical treatment approaches and how to implement the natural, safe alternatives that exist to help many people,” said Dr. Paul Stoetzel, an event coordinator and chiropractor with Planet Chiropractic in Lemont.

Having worked at Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Abbott Laboratories, Olsen offers much insight into the drug industry, which has taken hold of Americans.

“America has more depressed, unhappy and unfulfilled people than any other advanced nation. And what is it that most people turn to for help? Typically, it’s prescription medication,” Stoetzel said.

It rarely even occurs to people that there may be other solutions — just as effective — for depression, anxiety, stress and health problems, he added.

According to Dr. Ashly Ochsner, contributing author of “Maximized Living Manual” and chiropractor at Health From Within in Orland Park, the goal is not to deny there are problems but to encourage people to reconsider their options before automatically filling their prescriptions, which often have perilous side effects.

“In my opinion, as a society, we’re overly medicated,” said Ochsner, who also will speak during the conference. “We’re often throwing pills at people rather than finding the root causes of the problem. We treat the symptoms rather than the source.”

There is a pharmaceutical backlash movement gaining momentum, and many physicians are pulling back on the reins, he added.

And Maximized Living, a national network of chiropractors concentrating on wellness with a ministry foundation, is in the forefront. Nearly 20 local physicians will attend, including Dr. Charles Majors, featured speaker and co-author of “Wake Up! Live The Life You Love,” of Romeoville; Dr. Matthew Milonas of Naperville; Dr. Richard Hyde and Dr. Mark Myers, both of Wheaton; Dr. Tim Weselak of Lombard; Dr. James Judge of St. Charles; and Dr. Nathan Conroy of Geneva.

“We all share the same philosophy,” Ochsner said. “Drugs have become so ingrained in our culture and we’re programmed to resort to them any time anything comes up, so the number one thing we hope to achieve is to encourage people to wake up and think harder.

“The body has an amazing power to heal itself. Cut your leg, and it stops. Have a cough, and it goes away,” he added. “What we need to do is not interfere with that power, but we’re interfering all over the place. Less intervention is the key.”

“Maxed Out” will cover methods of eliminating physical nerve stress, 10-minute workouts, ways to decrease stress and increase peace, cellular detoxification and customized nutrition. At the close of the event, physicians will be available for one-on-one question and answer sessions.

Organizers are expecting to draw a crowd of about 1,000 from all over northern Illinois. Proceeds will benefit the Maximized Living Foundation. Chicagoland Maximized Living doctors have partnered with Trinity Christian College, Chicago Christian Counseling Center, Sunrise Health Foods, First Church of Nazarene Chicago, Orland Park Cavalry Church and XSport Fitness to host “Maxed Out.”

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If you go

What: Maxed Out: A Life-Saving Evening, a program about society and overmedication

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19

Where: The chapel at Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College Drive, Palos Heights

Tickets: $10; call (708) 349-0040 or e-mail to purchase