Relieve Depression Without Big Pharma’s Drugs
“I can’t think! I can’t work! I am feeling anxious, nervous, and jittery 24/7 since stopping the anti-depressants! I can’t even sit still! It’s HORRIBLE!” James was very distraught. He is in his 50s, married with several grown children. He has been very active in sports, and hiking. He works as an engineer so he needs his brain to function, but he can’t sit still and think. He was doing well for many years with no significant problems, but everything changed when he stopped taking anti-depressants that he had been on for over ten years. It changed his life for the worse.
We have know about these withdrawal reactions for almost fifty years, but the medical community doesn’t talk about it.Jordan Peterson, a famous psychologist, called his withdrawal from benzodiazepines, “A year of absolute hell!” Before coming to see me, James tried many different medications to alleviate his symptoms. He even tried vitamins and supplements, but without any change.
While researching solutions, I found this from a review article:
The main areas of serotonin research provide no consistent evidence of there being an association between serotonin and depression, and no support for the hypothesis that depression is caused by lowered serotonin activity or concentrations. Some evidence was consistent with the possibility that long-term antidepressant use reduces serotonin concentration.
The first part was what I was looking for! I wanted to see if there was a relationship between serotonin levels and depression. But the last part was a surprise: antidepressant use causes reduced serotonin! In other words, the treatment is causing the disease – or at least the problems my patient was facing. This may explain why those who take antidepressants long-term are resistant to any other treatment.
Drug companies pushed the serotonin theory of depression because they had a drug for it! Their drug would temporarily increase the availability of serotonin in the nervous system. Since some people felt better, they assumed low serotonin causes depression. The problem is that there were as many people with side effects as were helped by the drugs.
- dry mouth
- sexual disturbances
- bruising or bleeding
- hyperhidrosis (sweating)
- seizures (rarely)
- suicidal ideation and behavior (especially in teenagers)
- weight gain/loss
- decreased orgasm (anorgasmia and ejaculation latency)
- muscle weakness
It wasn’t just the serotonin drugs, the researchers found even less correlation with dopamine, adrenaline, or norepinephrine. While the medications are changing the brain, they are not dealing with the underlying problems.
Why Do Antidepressants Work?
All antidepressants are about the same as placebo. In most studies, the study removes the “early responders” because they are the ones who respond by “the placebo effect.” In other words, antidepressants work about as well as a sugar pill for depression.
However, some definitely feel better on antidepressants. The way they seem to work is not to reduce depression, but to cause indifference. People don’t care as much. This is the same with many kinds of medications.
When I was working in the emergency department during residency, there was a young man who came in with a broken arm in several places. He was obviously in a lot of pain, so before x-rays I gave him some morphine. When I went in to review the x-rays with him, I asked about his pain. He laughed, “It hurts like hell, but I don’t care.” Pain medications do not fix the problem, they only mask the pain.
Antidepressants are to depression like morphine is to pain – “Sure I’m depressed, but I don’t care.” I have had many patients who are in tune with their feelings tell me they don’t like the medications because they can’t feel – no lows, but also no highs. They have blunted emotions. This is the same reason alcohol has been the drug of choice for depression and anxiety since the beginning of time.
The point of the research is not that people shouldn’t take antidepressants at all, but rather that the medications do not address the underlying cause. They don’t fix the problem; they only cover it up. Because of this, they can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Those who use morphine for years end up with more sensitivity to pain, and feel more pain. Likewise, those who take antidepressants long-term tend to have the same issues with anxiety and depression. We have known this for over thirty years, but doctors are not aware of the research.
All antidepressant drugs have the same issues. Now, more epileptic and antipsychotic drugs are being used by primary care physicians for anxiety and depression. Now, there are even more people with chronic depression and anxiety. Moreover, the withdrawal symptoms are much worse with the antipsychotics. One of my patients struggled for several years after stopping an antipsychotic before committing suicide. There is a lot of evidence that antidepressants and antipsychotics contribute to suicidal behavior.
Plan Your DETOX From Antidepressants
James stopped his medications abruptly and immediately began to have symptoms. I have had many others who stop abruptly after years of being on antidepressants without any issues. It depends on the reason for the depression. If you have been on antidepressants, especially over a year, you need to consider