Life can be stressful. The pressures of the day to day can leave many people feeling isolated, depressed and struggling to cope. Antidepressant medications like Zoloft and Prozac are the most commonly prescribed treatment for people with depression. Unfortunately, the patients are not always fully informed about the serious side-effects and potential for long term harm.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps relay messages from one part of the brain to another. It influences various psychological functions such as mood, sexual activity, appetite, as well as other bodily functions like temperature. Most antidepressants are designed to alter mechanisms regulating serotonin. They improve your mood, help you sleep better and increase your appetite and concentration.
The widespread use of antidepressants is a serious cause for concern because many people think it is a cure-all. However, a new study published in the journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics suggests that antidepressants are in fact associated with “significantly elevated risk of death”. The meta-analysis was conducted by researchers from McMaster University. They analysed the results of 17 earlier studies to determine the overall long term effects of antidepressants on life span.
At first glance, the findings suggested a 9% increase in risk of death, which was not clinically significant and thus not alarming to the researchers. However, upon closer inspection and after the removal of results containing participants with a heart condition, the findings were more disturbing. They found that long-term use of antidepressants elevated the risk of death by 33%.
Lead researcher, Paul Andrews said “we are very concerned by these results. They suggest that we shouldn’t be taking antidepressant drugs without understanding precisely how they interact with the body. I do think these drugs for most people are doing more harm than good and that physicians ought not to generally prescribe them.”
It’s widely known that brain serotonin affects mood, and that most commonly used antidepressant treatment for depression blocks the absorption of serotonin by neurons. It is less widely known, though, that all the major organs of the body — the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver — use serotonin from the bloodstream. Antidepressants block the absorption of serotonin in these organs as well, and the researchers warn that antidepressants could increase the risk of death by preventing multiple organs from functioning properly – Science Daily
Unfortunately, the latest findings are among the many published studies which link antidepressants to negative effects. For example, an earlier study which was published in the Lancet, found that of the 14 most commonly prescribed depressants, only one (Prozac) worked better than a placebo. There is also evidence to suggest that antidepressants have been found to cause neuronal damage and death in rodents and involuntary, repetitive movements in humans. Furthermore, another study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society indicated that prolonged antidepressant use is associated with a 70% increase in the risk of mild cognitive impairment and an increase in the risk of probable dementia.
When you look at the plethora of scientific literature conducted on the adverse health effects of antidepressants, it suggests that the medications are less effective and more toxic than widely believed. The fact that antidepressants are the front line treatment for depression is a cause for concern in standards of care. In light of the recent findings, practitioners and professional medical organisations should make every effort to inform patients about the dangers of taking such medications.
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I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here