The Magic Pill in Healing from Depression

Don’t you wish there was a magic pill?  Something that we can take to make us happy and forget all of the difficulties in life? Sounds great, right!

Do antidepressants fit this definition?

Well, let’s talk about antidepressant medication. There are three generations of antidepressants as follows:

Category                                  Drug Class Generic Names
First-generation Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’S) Amitriptyline, Clomipramine, Desipramine, Doxepin, Imipramine, Nortriptyline, Amoxapine, Protriptyline, Trimipramine
First-generation Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s) Tranylcypromine, Phenelzine, Selegiline, Isocarboxazid
Second-generation Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) Fluoxetine, Fluvoxamine, Paroxetine, Sertraline, Citalopram, Escitalopram
Second-generation 5-HT2 receptor antagonists Nefazodone
Second-generation Dopamine re-uptake inhibitors Bupropion
Third-generation Selective norepinephrine re-uptake Inhibitors (SNRI’S) Venlafaxine, Mirtazapine, Duloxetine

 

Did you know that antidepressants are the most prescribed medication in the United States even over high-blood pressure medication?  Now I understand that many people do need to take antidepressants if they have an endogenous (having an internal cause or origin).  However, when depression is situational (loss, molestation, violation, death, etc), antidepressants carry many side effects that may be worse than feeling the feelings of the loss or trauma or what caused the depression.

Two of the antidepressant drug classes, the TCA’s and SSRI’s, causes metabolic disruption with long-term use (approximately, 2 years or more).  Metabolic disruption includes weight issues, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes leads to depression.  This cyclical response is interesting that health care practitioners would prescribe a medication for something that it actually causes!!  There are many other side effects of antidepressants that include nausea, low sex drive, tiredness, difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, and oh I love this one – anxiety.

So, is this the magic pill after all?

When I was in my doctorate program for Lifestyle medicine at Loma Linda University in California, I learned and specifically researched healthy ways to overcome anxiety and depression. What consistently surfaced in the literature was healthy eating, good sleep, and exercise as the treatment for depression.  Even when untreated depression has a remission aspect.  Depression will naturally resolve with time even when not medicated.  Many researchers found that high-intensity (running, cycling, fast walk) exercise in the treatment of depression was as effective as any antidepressant.   I found this interesting because of the high use of antidepressants.  The difficulty with treating depression with exercise is that exercise is the very last thing a person wants to do, especially when depressed.

The problem with treating depression with antidepressants (including the previous mention) is the reason for the depression is masked and mood and emotion are “flat-lined,” which allows minimal access to emotions even with therapy.  In addition, at some point the antidepressant becomes less effective.  I call this “break-though” depression. When this happens, many clinicians change the medication rather than deal with the pain that drives the depression.

I know when you feel depression that you just want to feel better.  Feeling better comes with feeling what is causing the depression.  Trauma recovery can happen in a safe and private place – Kinder in the Keys can help!

 

Dr. Laura

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Thanks Doc for your infinite wisdom.

  2. What’s the best way to stop taking cymbalta when I’ve used it for ten years? I’m 76 years old and have been prescribed antidepressants for 50 years. I’d like to get where I’m me again. I do not like the flat line nonemotional life. I’m a vibrant personality somewhere inside.
    Please respond.

    1. Hello Janet,

      Sorry for my delay in my response, but your post was in my spam folder.

      With the help of a medical professional and mental health professional would be the best way. You cannot go off any antidepressant medication cold-turkey. You must gradually go off of them. Depending on the reason you started on the medication may also need to be addressed. If you have a situational depression or if you have an endogenous depression will need to be looked at. If you really want to be off of them, find a practitioner that will guide you safely through the process and also work with a mental health practitioner to deal with any issue that may come up for you during the process.

      Dr. Laura

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