There is a fine line between "sad" and "depressed". When pushed too far, it becomes a mental illness where patients start losing interest, feeling tired all the time, have disturbance in sleep patterns, loss of appetite and changes in weight.
Unfortunately, psychotropic medications are now the patient’s number one choice. These mood altering medicines change hormone levels in the brain and interfere in homeostasis (maintaining internal environment of the body). According to Dr. Emily Hayes(2011), the sale rates of antidepressants in the U.S. alone exceeded $11 billion in 2010. According to Zito et al.(2002) the use of antidepressants increased tremendously among youth between 1988 and 1994. Moreover, Hayes said that “The data show antidepressants were prescribed in 9.3% of visits to primary care doctors and 3.6% of visits to other nonpsychiatrists.” However, the sad part is that anti-depressants harm patients biologically, psychologically and socially rather than help them get cured.
Antidepressants impair brain structure, function and cause more often depressive relapses. According to The National Alliance of Professional Psychology Provider (NAPPP), some animal studies tend to show that antidepressants modulate the expression of genes, providing a basis for suspecting that permanent effects the long-term administration of antidepressant medications can have a negative effect on the glial cells of the brain or the brain in general (2012). A research conducted by The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1990 also show that patients treated with antidepressants relapse rapidly within a short period of discontinuing the drug. Moreover, they also impair psycho motor abilities such as driving rather than correcting chemicalimbalances. Dr. Mercola(2012), mentioned that the results of a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology show that the consumption of antidepressants significantly increases risk of car accidents. She said “The higher the dose, the higher the risk became.”
Many researchers prove that psycho tropic medications cause over stimulation of the brain and mind ranging from insomnia and mild agitation to psychotic levels of mania. One of the majorly known type of irritability induced by antidepressants is Akathisia which a drug induced neurological disorder that makes patients unable to sit still. Researchers say that it could possibly be because antidepressants interfere with neurotransmitters (homeostasis) and thus alter the normal body atmosphere. Peter Breggin(2008), narrates a depressive case he dealt with under a patients called Harry beginning to show manic like symptoms, increased irritability and mood swings.
Drug treatment may trigger processes that oppose the initial acute effect of a drug or its receptor. Casey Schwartz(2011), said that Dr. Irving Krisch says “It may be producing a change in the brain that then leaves the person more vulnerable to becoming depressed.” He also said that Giovanni Fava explains this by a hypothesis called “oppositional model of tolerance” which states that taking an antidepressant makes one’s brain and body restitute in the reverse direction and encourages the growth of the problems it were targeted to solve. This hypothesis was proved by an experiment that show that patients relapse into a depressive episode even while taking the medicine. Symptoms like insomnia, agitation, loss of interest and feeling guilty or worthless increase rather than decrease within 3 months of the medicine consumption. Thus, taking the medicine makes the condition chronic since it builds up less and less ability to function without it.
At a point, Antidepressants persistently trigger suicidal behavior. Morris et al.(2011) discuss a research entitled “Death by medicine” that was run in 2004 by Dr. Null, Dr. Dean, Dr. Feldman, Dr. Rasio and Dr. Smith. Its results show that in 2001 alone, the deaths caused by consumption of antidepressants were 783,936, where almost 40% of them were because of successful suicidal attempts while the number of deaths from heart disease were 699,697 and by cancer were 553,251. Morris et al.(2011) also argued that if antidepressants were actually effective then there is not supposed to be a significant increase in number of people labeled chronically ill out of which 80% are on psycho tropic medication.
Tranquillizers are equally addictive as alcohol. For example regarding Breggin’s case with the patient called Harry, he crashed sleeping two days when he did not consume his antidepressant (Praxil) the day before. This shows that Harry’s body could not function without Praxil. Schwartz mentioned that Dr. Fava concluded that clinical trials proved that after a few months of therapy the drugs do not really work as well as they did before. If one compares these results to alcohol, we will find that the amount of alcohol one drinks will no longer be effective at a point and the consumer will need to drink even more in order to achieve the same effect as before. Dr. Mercola(2012) confirmed this by saying that antidepressants and alcohol both boost the glutamate and GABA chemicals which control how essential messages are sent between nerve cells in the brain which in return activates the ‘reward pathways’ in the brain which gives a feeling of gratification. Moreover, Accidentaloverdoses can happen easily with psycho tropic drugs without the patient realizing so. Mercola said “Over time, these drugs can accumulate in your body, which will increase your risk of an accidental overdose.”
In addition, one of the major disadvantages of antidepressants is that they have late side effects such as headaches, dizziness, dysphoria (An emotional state of intense anxiety or agitation) that does not go away even after stopping the medicine with most of the patients.
The patient feels tortured inside out; Peter Breggin(2008), describes patients on antidepressants to be “like a radio turned to all channels”. Breggin also noted that “Patients develop a growing compulsive desire to put a stop to the strange pain inside their head.” In one other patient’s case Breggin described how the patient wanted to kill his wife and children and then himself because he felt guilty of causing them pain. He did not want them to suffer because of him. Thus, aggression and suicidal thoughts increase gradually with the medicine consumption. According to the article Bitter pills, TADS led by John March’s team of Duke University Medical School run a research where the results showed that patients who consume psychotropic medications were more likely to report harming or thinking about harming themselves or others. Breggin describes it as one of the most agonizing and difficult to describe adverse effects of the newer anti-depressants specially. One of his patients called John compared these unbearable sensations to shocks and electricity or impulses localized inside the head.
In addition, medication spell binding occurs a lot when it comes to antidepressants because the patients think they are doing better but they are actually getting worse. The patient experiences an improvement in their illness only in the first month of their chemical treatment till they reach the peak after which they start falling back in line with the illness without realizing that their medication is what is causing them to become even more mentally ill and as Lauren Oliver(2012), said “The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well.” Plus, patients tend to blame any negative feelings on themselves or something else leading to violence against themselves/ others and the patients behave totally out of character that they would do things they usually wouldn’t do.
Most importantly the consumption of antidepressants increases violence especially with men and this is one of the reasons that could lead to the breakdown of friends and family connections. The patient reaches levels of aggression that cannot be further controlled. A husband loses interest in his wife, a brother hates his sister, and a girl hates her parents and much more. The patient literally loses concentration and becomes agitated almost all the time thus loses his/ her occupation, position or dear ones due to lack of performance.
The breakdown of social relations in a depressed person’s life is enough for deteriorating the patient’s condition. Social support by itself can be a major factor contributing to fixing the person’s psychology. Douglas Bloch(2012) said that the survivor research, Julius Siegal, emphasizes on communication among prisoners of war providing a lifeline for their survival. Bloch agrees “And for those who are prisoners of their inner wars, social support is equally crucial.” Investigator Holly C. Wilcox(2010), Ph.D., a psychiatric epidemiologist at Hopkins Children’s said “Lack of social support — described as feeling unappreciated, unloved and uninvolved with family and friends — emerged as one of the most powerful predictors of persistent suicidal thoughts, even in the absence of other risk factors.”
Emotions cannot be diagnosed and treated:
Pharmacologists have succeeded in categorizing human natural emotions and body reactions into mentaldisorders such as depression for feeling sad and social anxiety for being shy. Ray Moynihan and AlanCassels(2005), mention that Amy Doner Schachtel, a former drug company public relations, expert in connecting high-profile celebrities with big-name drug companies state that “Just one segment on a nationaltalk show or one print article in a major newspaper can tremendously impact patients’ decisions to seek treatment.”
Pharmacologists do not represent the information the patients need about their medicine and thus, antidepressants do more harm than expected to their consumers without the patients realizing it. RayMoynihan and Alan Cassels(2005), also mention that Stolley, safety expert inside FDA discovers that more than 50 percent of the FDA’s work checking the safety and effectiveness of drugs is paid for by the companies whose products are being reviewed in order to reject calls for banning a drug.
Doctors might have forgotten that depression has more than one factor to examine before prescribing any medication and that it is widely because of a social event that took place for example death of a dear one, divorce or loss of a job. It is impractical to believe that an antidepressant can change and control these factors because no matter how much antidepressants one consumes, depression will never go away if these sad events are not sorted out inside the person him/herself. However, chemistry is not the only method for curing depression. Andrew M. Novick(2011), said “Antidepressant drugs are a mainstay in the psychiatric treatment and have the ability to influence neural substances related to social bonding and interaction” which is not true because according to NAPPP(2011), this class of medication is not appreciably more helpful in treating depression than a placebo.
If psychotherapy is practiced the right way, patients can recover from depression by skills that would help them to adapt to conditions later in life. Unfortunately, mental health services often fail to provide behavioral therapies for the people who need them which leads to an over reliance on drugs. TheNAPPP(2011), discuss a review of a published research that concludes that psychotherapy works in treating depression. NAPPP(2011), also said that “When a person recovers from depression using skills learned in psychotherapy, neuroplasticity produces changes in the central nervous system from learning, and literally changes ones brain structure and response patterns”. In fact they also mention that “When psychotherapy is compared to antidepressant interventions on long-term, it outperforms antidepressants for both the severely and nonseverly depressed patients.”
Michael Linden and Anja Westram(2011), said that physicians should provide information to the patient about treatment options and needs, clarify with the patient the present state of illness, monitor and assess positive as well as negative treatment effects, give reassurance and support, analyze psychosocialproblems, increase activities, facilitate positive cognitions and help to overcome negative thinking in depression.
To sum up, everyone should be critical about everything, even patients should be critical about what treatment they plan to follow, which doctor to adjust the treatment pattern with, what medications (if any required) to take and what are the long term and short term side effects of the drug.