Antidepressants Found to Raise Risk of Early Death by 33%
Antidepressants have a terrible dark side. Earlier research has shown that they come with a host of side effects. In fact, it was found that antidepressants actually induce chronic depression, doing the exact opposite of what they claim to fight. And now scientists have found just how serious their side effect reactions are — they increase the risk of early death by one third.
Why do they present such a problem? These drugs affect the brain chemical serotonin, which influences mood. The medical community knows that most common antidepressant drugs prevent the absorption of serotonin by neurons, cells that transmit nerve impulses. However, doctors aren’t widely aware that all the major organs of the body, including the heart, kidneys, lungs and liver, also use serotonin. This lack of knowledge is of critically important because the medications block serotonin absorption in these organs as well as the brain. Since the altered serotonin levels can prevent multiple organs from functioning normally, researchers are warning that antidepressants can lead to early death.
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In the review of 17 studies published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, researchers examined data on hundreds of thousands of people. They found those who used antidepressants had a 33-percent higher likelihood of death, along with a 14-percent higher risk of stroke and heart attack.
“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,” said lead author Paul Andrews, an associate professor at McMaster University.
Assumption That Antidepressants Are Safe Is a Myth
Antidepressants are taken by one in eight Americans, which makes them one of the most common drugs. Family doctors assume the drugs are safe, so they are often prescribed without a formal diagnosis of a mood disorder. Because depression can lead to suicide and other serious health problems, the medical community believes they save lives by alleviating symptoms.
This belief appears to be a myth. “Our findings are important because they undermine this assumption,” said coauthor Marta Maslej. “I think people would be much less willing to take these drugs if they were aware how little is known about their impact outside of the brain, and that what we do know points to an increased risk of death.”
According to Benoit Mulsant, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto who took part in the study, the findings emphasize the need for further research into the effects of antidepressants.
“I prescribe antidepressants even though I do not know if they are more harmful than helpful in the long-term. I am worried that in some patients they could be, and psychiatrists in 50 years will wonder why we did not do more to find out,” he said.
The study found antidepressants aren’t detrimental to people with cardiovascular disease, which could stem from their blood thinning effect. Yet this same effect could raise the risk of bleeding, as well as the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Therefore, Andrews concludes they are doing more harm than good, reports the National Post.
Holistic Psychiatrist Recommends Lifestyle Overhaul for Depression
The study’s findings are controversial, as some prominent psychiatrists not involved in it argued that antidepressants save lives. Kelly Brogan, M.D., a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist, begs to differ. She asserts the drug approval process is influenced by profits, politics and incentives. Therefore, drugs are approved too quickly and the short- and long-term side effects and risks are ignored.
“A lot of what we need to know about these medications is locked in a drug company’s file drawer cabinet. What’s been unearthed by those file-drawer studies is that psychiatric meds result in worse long-term outcomes than no treatment at all,” Brogan said on her website.
“It makes no sense to take powerful psychiatric drugs as a first line treatment. In fact, I’d go further and say that it’s irresponsible. There’s peer-reviewed research that implicates lifestyle choices in depression and upholds medical meditation and other powerful mind-body techniques as more effective than drugs,” she adds. Brogan recommends a lifestyle overhaul with an emphasis on diet to deal with the problem
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.