Editor’s Note: This is adapted and anonymized from a conversation on Facebook. People are speaking from personal experience, and whatever studying they have done, about the risks of anti-depressants, and several non-medical alternatives that help them.
Wellness Wordworks is not opposed to psychiatric medication. We support informed choice with all medical treatments. Anti-depressants help many people in the short-term, but recent studies of long-term users show many disturbing outcomes.
To avoid the risks of anti-depressants, you might wish to withdraw from them. That can be tricky, and occasionally dangerous. We recommend that you find a trained practitioner willing to help you withdraw. They can be hard to find, but they’re out there, especially if you assert yourself and agree to withdraw gradually.
Question, especially for people who dislike psych meds: If one is quite depressed, what are the risks of anti-depressants, just to see if one might help? What if it is not usually associated with very serious side effects like weight gain. I know there might be some minor side effects, but, beyond those, what objections would there be to trying one?
Proven Risks of Anti-Depressants
These answers come from different people who are also anonymized:
- Sexual side effects, diabetes, high blood pressure increased risk of stroke.
- Withdrawal effects: akathesia and risk of violence, chance of making the illness more likely to recur later. It’s no more effective than placebo, some studies say.
- A 9-fold increase of death by heart attack is one of the known risks antidepressants.
- Carefully watch for breathing problems. Anti-depressants might not cause tons of problems daily, but if one catches a cold, be very careful of quick escalation to pneumonia. Some people go to the hospital, and are sent home because they aren’t “bad” enough yet. Before they get back to the doctor, they worsen quickly and may not make it. My friend died. Because of that example, I have had a better life.
- Reduced life expectancy.
- Extreme weight gain leading to diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and chemical depency on many medications.
- Some make it unsafe to operate machinery, like a car, with safety.
- They can be be expensive.
- Many cause pyschiatric symptoms.
- These medications eventually stop working. They only mask symptoms.
A Few Alternatives to the Risks of Psychiatric Medication
There are a multitude of non-medical tools that would take up a lot of space.
- I’d suggest first trying diet, exercise, sex, finding therapy animals, gardening, art, peer support, political activism etc.
- Boxing. I’m serious. Boxing was the best remedy for depression for me. Let me clarify — I never actually punched anyone, just heavy bags and the instructor’s mitts. But it’s a great release for stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Some meds might make a person MORE depressed, or even suicidal. If you are having those effects, I suggest that you discuss with your doctor as soon as possible.
- Sleep too much or too little. Also, it’s probably necessary to think about dealing with whatever thoughts and realities lead to being depressed.
- Examine whether your relationships are nurturing, whether you feel fulfilled in work, whether you are moving towards your goals.
- Anti-depressants have NO therapeutic effect until they build up in your body. By the time that happens, your depression might have gone away on its own. Then you have to wean off the stuff. For alternate suggestions, my favorites might be those suggested by http://thedepressioncurebook.com/
- I have tried many substances to find relief from serious depression. I felt like psych meds made me feel worse, so I took a doc’s advice to use fish oil. It has worked for me for a decade — just a little burping of scales.
- Fish oil raises levels of good and bad cholesterol. My total cholestetol is always very high. I use fish oil to treat my arthritis, and lubricate my brain. I take much more than most people. I still take the amount recommended in the omega zone diet book for schizophrenia, as there was nothing else when I first started using it, long before the fish oil studies at Harvard. They helped make it much much easier to get good fish oil no
Sources And Further ReadingBlaming the Brain: The Truth about Drugs and Mental Health by Elliot ValensteinPseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry: Blaming the Body by Alvin Pam and Colin A. RossThe Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment by Joanna MoncrieffElliot S. Valenstein, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan and former Chairman of the Biopsychology Program.Alvin Pam PhD practices psychology, clinical psychology and psychotherapy in Bronx, New York.Dr. Colin Ross (MD) is an internationally renowned clinician, researcher, author and lecturer in the field of dissociation and trauma-related disorders.Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, www.madinamerica.com“How Distress Language Cured Corinna West’s Psychosis” by Ken Braiterman, WWW.Wellnesswordworks.com