You know, I never was one for drugs.
Not only due to their damaging effects on my health, but also because of their addictive nature. I didn’t like having whatever little control I had over my life being taken away from me, and having more uncontrollable, subconscious, desire for something would do nothing to make me feel better, and that’s the truth.
Also, I was always a bit of a skeptic, so when looking over antidepressants I was doubtful. I mean, look at the concept itself for a moment there.
“Take this pill every day for a few weeks and then your life will become all happy and fluffy and stuff”. To me, it really sounded too good to be true, so I didn’t believe in it. There must be a catch there, it could have been my pessimistic nature of course, but I doubted it.
So one question really was up on my mind at the time “Will these antidepressants help me?”.
The answer iIs yes! And no!
Allow me to elaborate:
Drugs affect your brain
In practice, the idea of changing your brain is the only way to go when you are trying to achieve anything worthwhile in your life. Unless your brain is 100% working with you (conscious and subconscious alike) then you aren’t going to accomplish anything – you will be fighting with yourself instead of alongside yourself – it would be an uphill battle to say the least.
So anything that can change your brain to work with you should be more than helpful. Seems fair, right?
Professionals and the rest of the population alike seem to know this fact. According to the national health and nutrition examination survey between the years 1988-1994 and 2005-2008, there was registered an increase of 400% in people that take antidepressants, and it is the third most common drug people took in those years (2005-2008)
But if so many doctors recommend it must work, right? This isn’t some pseudo science or anything, antidepressants are approved as a form of treatment to certain anxiety and depression disorders by multiple medical associations.
antidepressants are particularly helpful when it comes to severe cases of depression, since the change they cause is at a much larger scale due to the brain being more problematic. Kind of like paying a bill of 100$ for something that costs 100$ instead of gathering up a bunch of 5’s until you have enough on you.
In that sense, antidepressants were declared to be “clinically meaningful” by more than one expert. The thing is that you need to be willing to stick to this treatment for a long time, and to try more than one drug, otherwise you are wasting your time.
Antidepressants only do so much, however, and you need some added benefit in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy, meaning that you change the way you feel to change the world around you. This is the type of treatment I believe in.
In essence, antidepressants can jump-start your mood and give you the boost you need. Often times this allows them to enjoy things and start doing things they enjoy, the contributes to their overall mood. Doctor Eric Endlich would agree with me since it’s him that I am quoting.
By changing your brain antidepressants reduce the symptoms of anxiety, allowing yourself to be treated better. Which is why using antidepressants alongside cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective way to go when it comes to severe cases of depression and anxiety.
Alright, so what’s the problem here?
Well, when it comes down to it antidepressants only really help in certain, extreme occasions.
Don’t get me wrong, they change how your brain functions, but you should keep in mind that scientists don’t know all that much about the human brain in the first place, which is why by definition antidepressants are lacking.
Besides, there’s really no research to suggest that antidepressants work best when faced with a mild case of depression, yet a lot of doctors still prescribe them.
In an article published by HealthDay, they discuss this very topic. according to their sources, prescriptions of antidepressants for actual depression only stood at a little more than half out of all overall prescriptions for antidepressants in Quebec (55%).
That means that about half of prescriptions (45%) were for issues that had nothing to do with depression! And so it was, doctors prescribed incorrect and unapproved medication for people wouldn’t benefit from it. An “off label” prescription, as it is called.
It’s because doctors individually believe that the effects of such drugs would be beneficial to more than one condition, and as such, they feel it’s “right” for them to prescribe this time of medicine for more than one type of condition.
After all, this drug affects the brain in a certain way that ends up treating the symptoms of depression enough for patients to overcome them, so what’s the problem with giving medication to treat similar symptoms in different disorders.
Well, it isn’t quite as simple as that.
You see, certain medication is given based on certain conditions for some very obvious reasons – people don’t know enough about the brain to make such deductions. Yet they do, feeling “professional” based on their status as doctors.
Like any other type of treatment, there are always some unavoidable side effects that may or may not surface. The relevant medical summary may be found here.
The placebo effect is the type of effect caused when people are given ineffective medicine to treat their problems, yet they still end up feeling better anyway, simply because they believed that the stuff that they were getting was actually helping them.
The brain is a powerful thing, and your own thoughts can shape your entire condition. Which is why people who suffer from mental disorders end up being sicker than those who don’t (on average, in the form of physical symptoms).
So, when stacked up against a placebo (sugar pill, really), antidepressants are shown to do not much better when it comes to reducing symptoms.
The real problem, however, starts when the brain “gets used” to his current condition, making people think that they need more of the drug since the don’t feel any changes, although changes may be observed only after a few weeks at a time.
“Alright, so what are some nasty side effects of antidepressants?”
Alright, so lets actually list them:
- Antidepressants may increase the risk of breast cancer
- Antidepressants make you dumber, or at the very least less intelligent. They harm your memory and limit your learning ability by extension
- They cause sexual dysfunction, lowering the quality of your sperm and your libido alongside it
- Like any other drug, you become dependent on it, and withdrawal is terrible – you can’t just “stop” taking them after a while.
- They are flat-out dangerous for elderly people, damaging their bones and can possibly cause hypothermia in the long run.
- They aren’t any better with children, hindering their development and can be a major cause for autism and pulmonary hypertension (10% mortality rate)
The scary part is that it does a lot more damages to you.
I think you may agree with me that shoving down artificial chemicals down your throat is never a good thing, yet most people aren’t fully aware of all the possible risks that they take upon themselves when they take these pills.
The fact is, there are many registered nasty side effects to a lot of medicine you take in your life, yet there’s no avoiding it really.
In medical ethics the term “Primum non-nocere” was coined as a guideline to all practitioners of any medical field, it’s a term in Latin that is translated is “First, do not harm.”
It makes sense really, a practitioner is not allowed to cause harm to his patients, and should actively avoid it before looking for any solution to the problem the person before him is having. Every person that went through medical school knows this line.
Yet 45% of all prescribed antidepressants aren’t for depression in the first place, implying more risk despite the doctors knowing that the medicine that they are giving only “might” help their patients and can (and possibly will) harm them.
They ignore all manner of ethics when doing this, but why? Do they stand to gain anything from that?
I can’t seem to wrap my head around this one, because as far as I know psychiatrists don’t get paid extra cash for giving people antidepressants. Maybe it’s simply because it’s their practiced field? A cardiologist will find a way to relate your problem to his field of knowledge, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with it. Maybe psychiatrists are the same?
It doesn’t end with just that, though, bad side effects are one thing, but ultimately antidepressants are meant to prevent the “bad ending” of all depression cases – suicide.
So how come they can actually make it more likely?
According to research that can be found in the Harvard mental health letter, all antidepressants, seem to double the risk of suicidal thinking, from 1%–2% to 2%–4%, in both children and adults. That’s actually kind of scary.
Doctors know this, though, and they still give you antidepressants alongside some therapy, with the idea that the therapy will stop any negative side effects, since they are following your progress. And in most cases this does work, yet no solution is perfect, and as such the facts remain the same – The give you drugs that have some nasty side effects and might not be specifically helpful to your condition (basically guess-work) and “work on it with you” in case your condition might become actually worse, in which case they will just give you a bunch of other drugs to take, essentially making you into a guinea pig for your own problems.
That’s messed up, and very unethical. And they are doing this knowing that the full risk of whatever happens to you is their fault, there are entire articles meant to review this issue in depth, yet this doesn’t seem to bother them much.
Maybe they really are just that confident, after all…
Alright, so let’s wrap this up!
I may have made this sound one-sided to you, but when it comes down to it, it is really is that one-sided.
antidepressants might do a lot of good for you, and in some highly severe cases they might even become a necessity, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that you actually need them – the fact that you sat down and went through this entire article means that your case of anxiety and depression isn’t severe enough for you to have to take antidepressants.
There are many bad side effects, the way they are being issued is questionable at best and flat-out criminal at worst and really, there are other ways to deal with your depression that are just good, so why settle for drugs?
Do yourself a favor and avoid antidepressants, and if you already take them try to go through the withdrawal process. Make your life fuller without having to rely on pills to keep you floating.
Some experts might not take you seriously if you avoid antidepressants, and I’m saying this from personal experience, but you know better than that, don’t you? Besides, they are obliged to provide you with service even without prescribing you drugs, that’s why they are being paid after all!
Meanwhile, here’s an interesting question: have you ever taken any pills that were meant to help you but they didn’t?
Leave your answers in the comments below.
I read every single one of them!!
If you have any problems or questions, feel free to email me at Email: [email protected]