Are We Abusing Anti-Depressants?

There is an ongoing debate among the scientists in the British Medical Journal about whether anti-depressants are over-prescribed or not. This debate crops up every now and then, and scientists are divided between those who believe that most people are just promoting anti-depressant’s manufacturer’s industry, and those who are aware of the increase in the number of depressed people in our stressed society. While dependence on anti-depressants is a serious issue, the needs of people with serious depression disorder come first.

Depression is a very serious disease

According to the CDC, one in 10 Americans is depressed. Most of us feel low, slightly depressed and just plain miserable at times. But, if the feeling of misery lasts for weeks or even months, the problem is much more serious. Clinical depression is so serious that, if not treated, can end up being fatal.

Most scientists believe that depression is caused by certain chemical changes in our brains. At times, the change is due to the genetic abnormalities. Most often, it is triggered by a stressful event.

The worst effect of depression is that it distorts the way people see themselves. The feeling of worthlessness is predominant. Depressed people feel hopeless, irritable, lonely and miserable. Depression is often linked with the inability to sleep, lack of energy and drive, lack of appetite and thoughts of suicide.


Seriously depressed people need urgent help. It is often up to the family members to seek help, since they lack the energy for any action. Depressed children and young adolescents should be carefully monitored for signs of intended suicide.

The therapy usually consists of antidepressants and psychotherapy. The most commonly subscribed antidepressants are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, and Lexapro. Another type of antidepressants are serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, such as Pristiq, Effexor and Cymbalta.

Side effects

The most common side effects of almost all antidepressants are nausea, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, blurred vision, stomach upset, dizziness, insomnia and loss of appetite. In most cases, the symptoms disappear in time. Doctors warn the patients with the serious depression to persist with the pills, since the consequences of no treatment are much worse than any side effects they might feel.

Most people are afraid of the addiction to antidepressants, for a good reason. The symptoms of the withdrawal from the antidepressants are similar to the withdrawal from any drugs.

The bottom line with the antidepressant debate is that it is crucial not to mix occasional light depression we all feel with clinical, serious depression. In both cases, it is up to the medical practitioner to decide the right therapy and medication. Even mild antidepressants that are useful for light depression can be detrimental to your health if used without your doctor”s supervision. So, if you want to try St. John’s Worth or Gingko Biloba for the occasional feeling of misery, talk to your doctor about it. It might clash with some other medications you are using. And you might need something stronger. Depression is a serious disease and has to be treated as such.


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