New research is supporting a connection between long-term depression due to the use of antidepressant medication. That’s right. You read that correctly – the very medication that is treating the problem is leading to very problem it was taken to correct!
If that sounds cyclical, it’s because it is.
In a recent article on the Huffington Post, Dr. Peter Breggin details new findings that support earlier claims he has made on the risks of the use of these antidepressant medications. (He is quoted below)
Antidepressant meds often fall into the broad category of SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and some common brand names are Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, and Celexa. These drugs block or inhibit the uptake of a chemical called serotonin which is thought to help boost the mood of an individual taking the drug.
This may be true if the human body were not a living, dynamic organism.
Shortly after Prozac became the best-selling drug in the world in the early 1990s, I proposed that there was little or no evidence for efficacy, but considerable evidence that the drug would worsen depression and cause severe behavioral abnormalities. I attributed much of the problem to “compensatory changes” in neurotransmitters as the brain resists the drug effect. Since then, in a series of books and articles, I’ve documented antidepressant-induced clinical worsening and some of its underlying physical causes. Now the idea has gained ground in the broader research community and hasrecently been named “tardive dysphoria.” (Dr. Peter Breggin)
Additional research is supporting Dr. Breggin’s observation – unfortunately for the many who are prescribed these drugs.
A recent scientific study by El-Mallakh and his colleagues reviewed the antidepressant literature and concluded that any initial improvements are often followed by treatment resistance and worsening depression.
In a meta-analysis of 46 studies, Andrews et al. (2011) found the relapse rate for antidepressant-treated patients (44.6 percent) was much higher than for placebo-treated patients (24.7 percent). Andrews also found that the more potent antidepressants caused an increased risk of relapse on drug discontinuation. A 2010 Minnesota evaluation of patient care in the state found that only 4.5 percent of more than 20,000 patients were in remission at 12 months, indicating that they had become chronically afflicted with depression during and probably as a result of their treatment.
Even if they tested the level of serotonin before prescribing these drugs and found it to be low, they do not ask the question, why is it low? Simply altering the level of this chemical is addressing a symptom rather than the potential cause. And this drug is being given to a very broad demographic including young children.
Do we really want our children to be taking these mind altering chemicals?
Dr. Breggin further cautions…
Antidepressants are the second most prescribed group of drugs in America. Yet evidence continues to converge on the dangerousness of antidepressant drugs. Given the difficulty showing any effectiveness even in the short-term, the use of these drugs becomes more and more problematic. On top of that, the antidepressants produce serious withdrawal reactions, making itdifficult and at times life-threatening to withdraw from them, even with the recommended clinical supervision and slow taper. Psychiatry has always been slow to respond to scientific evidence that its treatments are harmful. Often, as in this case, psychiatry flouts science. The public will have to develop its own resistance to taking antidepressant drugs.
It’s time to wake up. Don’t believe every issue is a “chemical imbalance” that must be corrected by the latest pill. Read the research and be informed. Then find out what barriers are preventing health from being expressed in the first place.