Let’s start with the basics: Depression is real. It’s not a form of sadness. It doesn’t come and go quickly (by definition, that’s not depression). It’s not something you can “get over.” People who suffer from depression need help, love, and understanding. Some of them also need medication.
Antidepressants have been a hot topic for years. On one hand you have the fact that they have helped millions of people find their way back from depression and anxiety but on the other hand, you have the fact that those same drugs can be incredibly difficult—if not down-right impossible—to be weaned off of.
It’s a dance, to say the least.
The problem is that antidepressants were never meant to be used long term. They were only meant to be used short term, usually for six to nine months. With proper care and supervision, and for a very specific, short amount of time, antidepressants can be a powerful tool to help people get out of a dark fog and come back to a healthy head space. The converse, though, can be an even scarier, darker ordeal than having to go on them in the first place. And, unfortunately, in the US alone, the long-term use of antidepressants has skyrocketed since 2000 with as many as 15.5 million people being on them for five or more years.
It’s important to know how antidepressants do their thing. According to Harvard Health, they work by “altering the levels of neurotransmitters—chemical messengers that attach to receptors on neurons (nerve cells) throughout the body and influence their activity. Neurons eventually adapt to the current level of neurotransmitters, and symptoms that range from mild to distressing may arise if the level changes too much too fast”
Therein lies the problem. When people are on antidepressants for too long their brain becomes dependent on them. The withdrawal symptoms can get pretty severe ranging from worse depression to paranoia to suicidal thoughts.
The simple truth is that antidepressants can do more harm than good when taken for long periods of time. It’s a sobering wake-up call to see how we, as a nation, overmedicate. There is always hope, though. You never have to stay stuck.
There are several natural supplements that can prove incredibly helpful when getting off SSRI’s or help you avoid taking them at all. It’s not that they’re not useful or appropriate, but if there’s a safer, gentler option… Shouldn’t you at least look into it?
If we can help you with this journey, please call and set an appointment with Joyce Gibb. We want to help!
You can read more about it in this telling NY Times article.