Are Anti-Depressants Good Or Evil?

Iím sitting in the green room, about to appear on Daytime TV, and the television is blaring in the background. Now mind you, I donít have television in my home so Iím a bit out of the loop. But since Iíve been sitting here, Iíve seen one anti-depressant ad after another (mixed in with ads for lawyers who want to help you sue your doctor if you had complications from your anti-depressant). WTF?

When did anti-depressants get marketed to TV viewers? And why do they all promise peace, joy, tranquility, and the end to all of lifeís suffering? I mean seriously people.

Now donít get me wrong. Iím no Tom Cruise, and I swear I wonít be judging Brooke Shields if she takes anti-depressants for her postpartum depression. Anti-depressants can be a Godsend, and I have witnessed lives being saved. Sometimes, these drugs are a necessary step to get someone out of bed and back into life. Sometimes, they literally talk someone off the ledge. God bless Zoloft.

Holistic approach to depression

ButÖ(and this is a huge but for me)Ö anti-depressants are just one of many tools to help people deal with mood disorders. These ads instill in me the fear that too many misinformed patients and busy doctors will run zero to sixty towards drugs, when treatment for depression should be much more holistic.

Even in integrative medicine practices, it seems to me that the approach is still way too allopathic. You come in depressed, and instead of giving you Prozac, they give you 5-HTP or St. Johnís Wort. They might also delve into your diet and advise you about your exercise program, but I really care about why youíre depressed. Are you happy in your relationships? Are you doing work you love? Are you sexually satisfied? Are you nurturing your spiritual life? Have you discovered your calling and figured out what youíre here on Earth to do? Are you caring for the temple that is your body?

Another important question I explore is ďIs your depression natural?Ē One of my friends just lost her best friend, who died in childbirth, leaving two children and a husband behind. At the funeral, they were passing out Zoloft like candy, and now, everyone in her family is taking anti-depressants. But isnít it healthy and normal to grieve when something tragic happens? Sure, tragedies can lead to clinical depression, but technically, you canít have a DSM-4 diagnosis of Major Depression in the midst of a crisis. We docs call it Adjustment Disorder, which seems so much more appropriate. Youíre adjusting to a loss — and yes, that can make you cry and grieve. Do you really want to wash those feelings away with mind-numbing drugs?

Sure, anti-depressants may be the answer — in some cases.

And when you need them- oh baby, do you need them. But those people arenít the ones these TV ads are aimed at. Theyíre targeting those who have lost their mojo — which is totally different than being depressed. It seems to me that disillusionment, dissatisfaction, and disappointment plague many people these days. Itís the epidemic of the developed world.

But drugs are not the answer. Instead, I encourage my patients to delve deep to discover who they really are at their authentic core. I ask them whatís missing from their lives. I invite them to explore what their body, mind and spirit need in order to heal. And then, after weíve balanced thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones, talked about diet and exercise, sorted through the emotional junk that weighs us down, and discussed lifestyle modifications that might help, we talk about supplements and pharmaceuticals.

I understand that Iím lucky. I get an hour with my patients at the Owning Pink Center, which gives me the time to go deep. When your doctor only has 7 Ĺ minutes to care for you, itís easier to just write a prescription and send you on your merry way.

But you deserve to get your needs met.

You deserve to be treated like a whole, vital human being with a heart and a brilliant mind. You deserve to have a choice. Itís okay to question the TV ads and your doctorís advice. You can be an empowered patient. Itís your birthright.

So do me a favor. Switch off the TV when those anti-depressant ads come on. You donít need to fill your brain with those kinds of messages. If you need anti-depressants to feel joyful, more power to you. But donít let marketing influence you, and donít let your doctor push pills.

Mostly, listen to your intuition. It will tell you how to reclaim your joy.

Related Links:
Depression-Fighting Foods
Natural Cures for Depression
A Better Way to Improve Mood?


Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

It's advisable for us to rely on tuning our thoughts rather than taking pills

Kenneth L.
Kenneth L5 years ago

"No single reproducible abnormality in any transmitter or any of it's enzymes or receptors has been shown to cause any psychiatric disorder" Dr. Stephen M. Stahl, Psychiatrist

"I think the commercials on TV really create this illusion that there's a set chemical (imbalance) thing going on when someone has a mental disorder....we certainly have theories...but truly they remain theories" Dr. Mary Braud, Psychiatrist

"There is no rational science behind what they (psychiatrists) think is the cause of these ('mental disorder') symptoms. The medications that are being given to people are, without exception, introducing chemicals that are altering the brain in ways that can be very damaging" Dr. Grace Jackson, Psychiatrist

"We really see these (psychotropic) medications as having very significant side effects..." Mike Fitzpatrick, executive director National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)

"We know for a fact the (psychiatric) drugs don't work very well" Dr. Colin Ross, Psychiatrist

"The antidepressants are really causing this massive epidemic in diagnosis of bipolar disorder, because a certain percentage of people given antidepressants, and stimulants for that matter (eg. Ritalin), have a manic reaction. There have been studies that show this"
Jim Gottstein, attorney

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

It depends, id the individual has a need for such because the synapse are not connecting within the brain properly then yes, they are extremely productive and outweigh many of the reported risks that accompany the package insert. The blessing in this for those in need is that there are so many on the market so should a person have an uncomfortable reaction, they can be switched to something else. Of course there is a little poison in every pill (Medication) but one must ask themselves... if the medication serves the problem and many side affects are far rarer than purported, then isn't it worth one's quality of life. The down side is that more people are hooked on pain killers than anti depressants and this can do extreme damage to the kidneys, liver, as well as the heart.

Aranza Diaz
Aranza Diaz5 years ago

exercise its much better

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen5 years ago

Thank you :)

Kenneth L.
Kenneth L5 years ago

Considering almost all psychiatric drug trial 'studies' are slanted, that is, any negative results are hidden, so the FDA will approve them, skewers the 'good or evil' question at square one. Considering most psychiatric drugs are only slightly better than placebos in the short-term (except with many and great side-effects possible) and no better or worse than placebos in the long-term again makes the 'good or evil' question moot.

Brian M.
Past Member 5 years ago

Anti-depressants, given the sheer level of addictiveness, general lack of efficacy, side-effects, and toxicity, would, if given a value judgement, be assessed as "evil." Nature has provided us a simple plant to treat depression and many of our other ills, cannabis.

peggy p.
peggy p6 years ago

i've been on both sides

Judy B.
Judy B.6 years ago

Thank You very much. As one who has taken antid. for 15 years I wish I knew all this and would of have listened to the small voice inside of me. but now I am listening. This is my story and I realize antid. can be wonderful while you are learning new ways to cope.
But when the apathy controls your life it is time to look for alternatives and now I am trying to do that.

Bernadette P.
Berny p6 years ago

In this very stressful world with rejection for many people it is not surprising that people need help....

NOT everyone has a steady job,a wife and a happy family life!!!!