Antidepressants are drugs administered to individuals who suffer from depression. It is believed that depression suppresses the production of serotonin, which is the feel good chemical in the human body. Ideally, an antidepressant should slow down the rate at which one’s brain breaks down serotonin, so that the feel good mood can last longer.
There is a rising argument from experts that these medications are not actually helping patients deal or recover from depression. Instead, some of them say that they can even cause adverse effects on our lives, which compromise the quality of life while a person is on that medication, and long after he/she has stopped taking it.
Furthermore, so far, there hasn’t been any concrete evidence to show that psychiatric illnesses cause brain damage. But, there are a lot of studies, indicating that the medication administered to deal with psychiatric problems could cause brain damage. This is according to Professor Gotzche, a clinical researcher from the University of Copenhagen.
Effects of Antidepressants
1. They are highly addictive. Most patients become reliant on them, not necessarily because they are exhibiting symptoms of depression or psychosis, but because they cannot function without taking the drug. Those who go cold turkey, end up suffering from extreme withdrawal symptoms, which sometimes manifest as psychosis.
2. Some anti-psychotic drugs put both, children and adults, at a higher risk of committing suicide. These are usually heavyweight tranquilisers and SSRI’s.
3. Antidepressants are also known to affect libido. In men, they can lead to a muscular condition, referred to as tardive dyskinesia.
4. When research of certain antidepressants has been conducted on animals, the results indicated that the medicines caused the connections between the brain cells to shrink. And, these connections failed to regenerate even after the use of the drugs was discontinued.
Evidence Of Possible Dangers When Taking Antidepressants
Professor Gotzsche raises questions about the randomized controlled trials, conducted before antidepressant medications are released into the market. Like Prozac. Ideally, during testing, both, the patients and doctors involved, should not know which group of patients is on the drug and which is on the placebo. Apparently, during the random testing of Prozac, researchers ignored this cardinal rule and switched the patients in the group. The result of this gave favorable results. The professor further claims that the risk of suicide linked to Prozac was masked by giving the trial patients tranquillisers secretly.
In 2002, a report by BBC’s Panorama indicated that during the trial of the antidepressant drug Seroxat, results revealed that it increased suicide risk in children. Yet, this information was not published in the trial findings. Instead, was tucked away up until BBC made a report on it.
Professor Gotzsche, like many other experts, believes that one of the reasons that many manufacturers and the FDA sometimes put a blind eye to some of the concerns is because of the millions made from the sale of antidepressants.
Dr. Gotzche, among other experts, holds varying opinions on the impact of antidepressants to the brain. The truth is, antidepressants are designed to alter certain chemicals and processes in the brain, with the objective of helping those suffering from depression recover and live their lives as normally as possible. Whether they indeed cause brain damage or not, more research would have to be conducted to ascertain that for sure.