“TJ, you have a disease. What’s so wrong about having to take medication for the rest of your life?”
Disclaimer: Psychiatrists do help many people. Many of them are highly trained professionals that make a difference in others’ lives. I was studying Psychology for a long time in hopes of becoming a psychologist/psychiatrist. I’ve worked with places such as NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness), holding support groups, teaching classes, and giving speeches every now and then.
I’ve also interacted with many people personally who I’ve seen struggle with depression. I kept noticing, however, that many of these people who would try drugs would feel better would eventually have to up their dose or take a new drug to counteract the side effects of the first drug. Many of them would eventually stop altogether.
It wasn’t until my own journey to do whatever it takes to figure out that there was something else going on inside me that was causing me to want to end my life. Psychiatrists are good people, but if these approaches still aren’t working, could it be the approach that is flawed? What if the basis of their practice is flawed? Can people really be cured by a pill? Are we born deficient in a drug engineered by humans? Even if we do take an antidepressant, will the treatment be more effective while using other methods also? Lets explore some background info on what’s really going on behind the scenes.
Pharmaceutical Companies Make Lots of $$$
Pharmaceutical companies are some of the most profitable businesses today. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer had combined revenues of $111,906,000,000. They had combined profits of over 20 billion dollars.
That’s a pretty massive number. To put that into perspective, Coca-Cola had profits just under 6 billion for 2008. Johnson & Johnson doubled that number in 2008.
They make money, so what? Lots of credible businesses do. But then again, if they could create a cure for depression that wouldn’t require further prescriptions, would they? Or would it make more sense to keep you coming back for more drugs and putting more money in their pocket? Would it make more sense to pay thousands of dollars for lobbyists to keep them in business?
The Truth About the Effectiveness of SSRIs
Why is that over 60% of people who try an SSRI discontinue their medication in under a year?
According to The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, the most common side effects of SSRIs are:
- No Orgasm
- Disturbed Sleep
- Feeling Emotionally Flat
- Gaining Weight
- Less Interested in Sex
- Negative, even Suicidal Thoughts
What causes these side effects? Side effects are caused by the fact that these are foreign substances that your body doesn’t recognize! Your body tries to eliminate the foreign substance and in turn this causes side effects to occur.
My personal example is with Citalopram (Celexa). It worked amazingly for a few months, then they would have to up the dosage. This went on and on until I became aggressive and angry. I started to become manic and had bipolar episodes, eventually putting me on Lithium. I took lithium for one day and had the worst road rage incident of my life.
Most people, including myself, are led to believe that these drugs are tested by the FDA to ensure their safety. The FDA requires drug companies to provide only six weeks of testing to prove a drug’s safety and effectiveness. According to a writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, “51% of approved drugs have serious side effects not detected prior to approval.”
In fact, according to Talking Back to Prozac by Dr. Peter Breggin, Prozac conducted fourteen studies. Four of which were used to compare Prozac to a placebo, of which only three were used. Of the remaining studies, only two studies were positive about Prozac. In fact, the other eight showed that an older antidepressant, imipramine, was more effective. The FDA only selected the positive studies and excluded the majority of which were negative!
The scariest of all is that there is a possibility that SSRIs such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil can cause irreversible damage. When the human body has an overload of a substance, it automatically starts to down regulate its receptors to balance itself.
For example, if you take large amounts of cortisone, a synthetic adrenal hormone, your own production of this chemical will stop and your adrenals will gradually atrophy.
What could possibly happen if you took an SSRI for 20 years? 40 years? No one knows, because there won’t ever be any studies for that length of time.
Are You Born Prozac Deficient?
Is the cause of your depression (or other mental problems) really from not taking these drugs? What about these other common causes of depression, as listed in Depression-Free, Naturally by Joan Larson:
- Essential fatty acid deficiencies in the brain
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies or dependencies
- Brain allergy reactions to foods (food allergies)
- Buildup of fungal molds or yeast
- Histadelia (elevated histamine levels within the body)
- Buildup of heavy metals in the brain
- Brain damage from alcohol or drugs, prescribed or otherwise
Let’s say you are depressed and begin to take Zoloft when it turns out that you actually have a vitamin deficiency in your brain. You may feel better for a few months, then have to up the dose. Again, you feel better for a few months, but then have to switch medication. You would literally be changing your dose, trying different medications, and ultimately be making your situation worse when all you really need is some Vitamin B6!
My favorite quote from Depression-Free, Naturally is “if there is a drug that is found to heal, there is also a natural substitute that can heal.”
SSRIs work by causing your existing serotonin to be trapped in your synapse, causing your brain to reuse the same serotonin over and over. Did you know that tryptophan, a naturally occurring amino acid, is the only chemical that has the ability to actually produce serotonin in your brain? Better yet, if you aren’t getting enough from your diet, it can be purchased for a decent price?
Your depression isn’t telling you that you need Paxil. It’s telling you that either something is wrong in your life or that you have a biochemical problem. The brain is over 60% fat. Could the fact that you never eat fat or fish possibly be the reason why it isn’t functioning correctly?
Putting It All Together
I don’t want this post to sound as if I am attacking pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists. I’m simply an unbiased person who’s tried all the approaches to solve my own suicidal depression and have found, like many others, that drugs such as antidepressants have fallen short.
Don’t get me wrong, an antidepressant may be necessary to get you out of the slumps. It was life-saving for me as it allowed me to pick myself up and get to where I am today. However, I believe their real strength is in short-term benefits, and typically should be avoided, if possible, in the long-run. Just my six months of being on Celexa produced severe withdrawal symptoms.
You may be in a situation where natural remedies don’t seem to work, and it’s either take antidepressants or kill yourself. In that case I would encourage you to continue your antidepressant while on the journey to finding the real cause of your blues.