Are antibiotics good for your mental health?

Can Antibiotics Cause Depression and Anxiety?

Antibiotics are very commonly used in this day and age, with much of modern medicine revolving around them and their usages.

There is no doubt that the invention of the antibiotics was a crucial one.
There is no doubt that antibiotics have saved many lives throughout the years.

Yet doctors tend to remain cautious, and perhaps not without a good reason.
You see, antibiotics may cure you of your illnesses, but they are not actually healthy.
Not only do they kill good bacteria as well, they also have multiple negative side effects to them, ones that you should be wary of.

One of the less commonly discussed issues with antibiotics regards the way that they affect our minds.
As it turns out, antibiotics have a substantial effect on your mental health.

Not a good one, either.

Antibiotics are controversial in nature

I will admit to you this much – Antibiotics aren’t the most liked form of treatment in our household.
When I was young my mom really didn’t want me to take antibiotics, even when I was sick, she viewed them as a last resort

Instead, she preferred more natural forms of treatment to my sicknesses whenever possible.
I didn’t really get it at the time. I had a lot of trust in doctors (even if they are not perfect) and figured that they wouldn’t let me have anything that would damage my health.

As it turns out, I was wrong.

I only discovered how wrong I was after I was already kneedeep in depression, yet desperately searching for a way to overcome it.

One day I got sick, and after visiting the doctor I got a prescription for certain antibiotics.
During that time, my mood started to decline, making my condition all the more obvious.

Yet at the time I did not make the connection until I visited my doctor once more, this time with these concerns in mind.

He was the one who shattered my false beliefs regarding the magic of antibiotics.

Antibiotics are great when consumed correctly

Now don’t get me wrong, although antibiotics can be harmful, most of the time they are the lesser of two evils.
Keyword being ‘most’.

Here’s the thing, data shows that roughly 1 in 3 prescriptions of antibiotics were unnecessary.
To put it simply, it means that about one-third of all prescriptions were useless at the very least, and flat-out damaging at the absolute worst.

An in-depth look at the nature of bacteria was heavily encouraged by these discoveries and statistics.
These recent reviews of known, and newly discovered, data led to very important conclusions in the mental health department as well.

Antibiotics kill all bacteria, both good and bad.

Antibiotics are not a magical cure by any means.
Not only is their usage limited at best, they also boast a variety of rather nasty side effects such as nausea or fever

But these side effects don’t have much to do with mental health, right? Think again.
Evidence suggests that different bacteria plays a major role in the way that our brain functions.
Taking antibiotics kills said bacteria, hindering neural development and limiting neural function.

The fact is that there’s a very delicate balance between good and bad bacteria.
Disturbing said balance and lowering bacterial diversity will lead to indefinite, probably negative, changes to your mental health.

The question is not whether or not can antibiotics cause depression and anxiety, but rather, why do they?

Antibiotics Depression Anxiety


Antibiotics are a major cause of anxiety and depression

Data on the subject seems to have been awfully limited until very recently, but there are a few long-term studies regarding the effects of antibiotics on depression and anxiety, and they depict a rather grim picture.

In 2016 a study from The Universty of Tel-Aviv, Israel, it was determined that “bacterial imbalance” is a real problem that affects our mental health.

In this study, Israeli researchers reviewed over a million health records between the years 1995 and 2013 and found out that antibiotics increase the risk of depression by about 25%, reaching similar results regarding anxiety.

Not only that, but they also concluded that even a single usage of antibiotics increased said risks, meaning that the danger was immediate.

Even a single usage was enough to help bad bacteria thrive.
The truth is that there is a connection between your gut and your brain, making some of the effects of it quite prominent.

For example, some good bacteria consume oxygen, by killing it you are basically leaving more “breathing space”  for the antibiotic-resistant bad bacteria.

Antibiotics can be dangerous

Different types of medication and procedures may have varying side effects.
Some of them even affect your mental health, with antibiotics being a good example.

Fluoroquinolone is a type of antibiotic that is known to cause psychiatric reactions along the lines of anxiety, depression, insomnia and panic attacks.
The scary part is that this type of antibiotics is fairly common, being prescribed around 20 million times a year.

Even if only 1% of all patients experience any of the side effects, then it’s already an issue that we should concern us.

Another study showed that ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin encouraged similar reactions in rats.
Here’s the thing though – some of these symptoms are simply “anxiety-like”, making any and all evaluation attempts about the seriousness of your mental condition somewhat difficult.

For example, fatigue can be a symptom of anxiety and depression, yet it can also be a side effect of taking your antibiotics.
Combine a few of these “symptoms” and diagnosis can become quite difficult.

This is a cause for concern, more so when even professionals struggle with the subject.

Discuss such symptoms with your doctor should the need arise, and mention to them beforehand any and all mental disorders that you might have.

After all, antibiotics will only make any existing symptoms even worse, so you might as well enter that variable into the discussion.

This isn’t a widespread issue

From all of these factors put together, you would figure that antibiotics are a health hazard (ironically) and should be regulated far more carefully. And they should be.

But in this case, there is no need to blow the situation out of proportion.
You see, as your body gradually grows more used to these medications, so do the symptoms and side effects decline.

Because of that reason, it’s possible that your doctor will brush off your immediate concerns regarding the subject.
Furthermore, side effects typically only last for a short while after the medication is taken, so you should eventually be back to normal.

This is the difference between having, say, an anxiety disorder and experiencing anxiety as a symptom of another condition altogether.

That being said, the likelihood of experiencing long-lasting effects from antibiotics changes based on the individual.
As such, if you ever suffered from any mental disorder you might want to reconsider taking antibiotics.

Taking pills Be careful


Consider probiotics

Most people have taken at least some antibiotics in their lives, and those worked great for them, with relatively few exceptions.

Even then, most medical problems that you will face can be easily treated given time.

I’ve already talked about how doctors happen to give far too many prescriptions for antibiotics, yet they are still the professionals around here.

Inform them of your concerns and conditions, tell them about any and all symptoms that you might’ve experienced up until now, and they will do their best to help you.

All of that being said, if you still aren’t sure, feel free to look into probiotics.
Where’s antibiotics kill bacteria, probiotics let them thrive.

If you aren’t sure about your experiences, consider probiotics and consult your doctor.

Much like antibiotics increase the risk of mental disorders, so do probiotics lower it. Considerably so, in fact.
One study from 2005 even went as far as to call them a form of therapy!

It’s funny really, even after all of these years, it turns out that my mom was right about antibiotics.
Even if her wisdom amounted to a pure coincidence in the end.

There are methods to overcome depression and anxiety

Even if you do experience depression and anxiety to varying levels, and even if stopping with the antibiotics does you some good, that doesn’t mean that these problems will go away.

After all, antibiotics can make existing mental conditions worse, they don’t necessarily have to be the cause of them.

I would personally recommend checking out the Panic Away Program for any anxiety and stress-related issues.
In this program, you will find the best way to overcome your anxiety, overall negativity, and even depression.
You should definitely check it out.

Before you do that, here’s a quick question – Have you experienced any of these side effects?

Make sure to write down your answers in the comment section below, I read every single one of them.

If you got any further questions you would like to ask me personally then please send me an email and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Email: [email protected]

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2 thoughts on “Can Antibiotics Cause Depression and Anxiety?”

  1. Hi Vlad.

    I really am intrigued by your research on antibiotics and the connection between them and depression.

    It seems like every time I get sick, I get super sensitive to everything and for sure I reach a “blue” state. But, I’m not sure if that’s because I’m sick or the meds I’m taking to heal. Your article definitely makes me question this.

    I’m American, but I live in the Philippines and I notice many people are mis-educated on the use of antibiotics and take them at the drop of a hat, even for a cold.

    I think you are right, it is a delicate balance and when used properly, Antibiotics are helpful. I avoid medication as much as I can but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

    1. Hi there!

      Yeah, most people aren’t at all well-informed when it comes to antibiotics.

      The connection between them and mental health may seem like a random one, but the data more than backs it up.

      I suppose that the best any of us can do is to spread the word hahaha


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