Traditionally, women have reported suffering from depression more than men have. But in this economic situation, that’s changing. An article in PsychCentral warns therapists to prepare to treat more men for depression.
NOTE: Before you decide that I am going to tell you all anti-depressants are bad, and that no one should take them, please keep reading. This is an entirely new take on an old argument.
Ever since the introduction of Prozac more than 20 years ago, we have been told by the drug companies that depression is a “chemical imbalance”. For them it’s simple: your neurotransmitters are out of balance. All you need to do is take their drug and you are back in balance—as if you forgot to add the yeast to your bread recipe.
Close to one in every ten American (28 million Americans) have taken Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil or a similar antidepressant. Many of them are starting to say, “Wait, it’s not that simple. I’m not a loaf of bread. My body and my mind don’t just have a simple, linear chemical reaction. There must be more to this.”
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the class of drugs that include Prozac, have established themselves as the default treatment for depression and all its related conditions. Yet books like Talking Back to Prozac, by Peter Berggin, MD, explain how these drugs were never designed or tested for long-term use. The growing evidence of their dangers is getting more people to questions their use.
What is behind depression
I am not a physician or a therapist, but for 30 years I have had physicians, therapists and other clients send me “depressed” clients. From my training, my clinical experience, and my own personal experience, I started to see unique relationships with depression and other phenomena, and I also started to get results that other treatments weren’t getting.
It became simple for me: Depression is exhaustion. From myself to the hundreds of depressed, chronically fatigued, and fibromylalgia clients I was fortunate to help, I realized we all were first exhausted. How that exhaustion manifests is unique to each person. Some people develop body pains, as with fibromylalgia. Some people are so exhausted that fourteen hours in bed is not restful, and others are depressed–sad and despondent. Most will share a few symptoms of this spectrum with a predominance of one form of exhaustion showing.
How could you get so exhausted that you are disabled by one of these conditions? It’s more than just a simple chemical imbalance. Your neurotransmitter imbalance is one of many effects of the exhaustion, but it’s not the cause.
Over years of experiencing life as survival, your body eventually starts to wear out. In other words, you are in some stage of chronic PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Just like one of our soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, you have been in a constant state of alert or stress. Hopefully it was nothing like combat. But it doesn’t have to be. A combat soldier might develop PTSD in the course of a few days. It might have taken you years – same process, just a longer timeline. (PTSD can, of course, also come from one traumatic incident. I am talking here about living in a state of elevated stress for years.)
You can treat depression with drugs that act like a time-released amphetamine, or you can heal the cause. In my next post I will discuss ways of healing the matrix of depression symptoms.
Other resources on the effects of anti depressants:
Harvard Medical School published article on the dangers of Prozac.
National Health Federation website
An excellent video the origin of these drugs and their effects
Media, medicine and patients are taking a new look at antidepressants. This New York Times Magazine article writes:
Fast forward to 2012 and the same antidepressants that inspired such enthusiasm have become the new villains of modern psychopharmacology — overhyped, overprescribed chemicals, symptomatic of a pill-happy culture searching for quick fixes for complex mental problems. In “The Emperor’s New Drugs,” the psychologist Irving Kirsch asserted that antidepressants work no better than sugar pills and that the clinical effectiveness of the drugs is, largely, a myth. If the lodestone book of the 1990s was Peter Kramer’s near-ecstatic testimonial, “Listening to Prozac,” then the book of the 2000s is David Healy’s “Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression.”
….Marcia Angell, a former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, wrote: “After decades of trying to prove [the chemical-imbalance theory], researchers have still come up empty-handed.”