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Antidepressants Could Cause Harm to Heart, Brain, and Bones

Patrick Gallagher
April 15th, 2012
Updated 11/02/2012 at 11:35 pm
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depressedboy 220x137 Antidepressants Could Cause Harm to Heart, Brain, and Bones

Did you know that roughly 10% of the American population suffers from depression? It isn’t exactly a coincidence, with the FDA approving a wide variety of damaging foods and drugs that many millions of Americans consume each day. The FDA isn’t helping the population with their approval of the dozens of antidepressant medications on the market – it in fact is doing the exact opposite.

The beneficial results of antidepressants have been under the spotlight for quite some time in the health world, and the validity of giving them out like candy to patients in need of a quick and easy solution is under question as well; just how useful is medication for depression? At best, the tangible results felt by patients are comparable to sugar pills. That is to say, the medication itself does virtually nothing to improve the mood of the patient directly. At worst, antidepressants cause decreased mental stability. Wanting to kill yourself or others around you are feelings which antidepressants have been shown to ignite.

There is even the possibility that while on these terrible drugs you can become even more vulnerable to more serious mental illnesses – all whilst other legitimate non-medication methods for treating depression are being tread underfoot by the FDA.

In more recent studies, there has been surfacing evidence that antidepressants cause arteries to thicken at a faster rate. One some cases, research specifically points to an increased thickness of the lining of the carotid artery by up to 5% in men, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease substantially by putting more pressure on the heart. This occurs when on both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, the primary form of antidepressants) and antidepressants that affect other chemicals in the brain. The evidence isn’t completely concrete, but it points towards the change of serotonin in the body caused by the medications.

Another study in women who have gone through menopause unveiled that women who take either variation of antidepressants were up to 45% more likely to suffer from life threatening brain damage from a stroke. This same study also found that women’s death rates rose 32% more whilst on the drugs.

Other side effects that are documented in both normal people and scientists are much more prominent, but certainly no less detrimental to your health. These include those suicidal/homicidal thoughts mentioned earlier, as well as an increased risk of diabetes, an increased possibility of stillbirth, lowered immune system support and reduced bone density -  resulting in a higher risk of fractures, primarily in the spinal column.

There are also a few long term risks with using these detrimental drugs: a conversion from unipolar depression to bipolar depression, and an overall cognitive decline in most users. If becoming bipolar unnecessarily does not steer you away from these, then the overall loss of your mental capacity should be enough to raise a warning flag.

From around the web:

  • Once sad now happy

    I wanted to abandon my family until i started taking an SNRI (similar to SSRI, less addictive, but still has withdrawal syndrome if ceased rapidly). I never wanted to harm myself or my family, but without it I wouldn't have them right now. I'd still be sleeping in bed all day. I also see a counsellor to deal with the underpinning issues that caused my anxiety and depression. I also moderately exercise now, to encourage my own body to produce natural relief. But there is no way I could have done it without being on the drug in the first place. It's an ongoing battle but I know that I can come of the drug (at this point I don't want to, because I am only scratching the surface of my psychological damage from when i was a child), gradually with the help of my doctor. There is no way a sugar pill/ placebo could of got me to do that. Just my two cents.

  • At the end of the day, even if SSRI and anti depressants have long term health risks, it has no doubt saved millions of lives from suicide and murder/suicide. The health risks is worth it.

  • sharon smyth

    hi i had been taking these drugs for twelve years. i came off them two years ago and i felt as if i was mad. my hands were shaking i was a nervous wreck i was confused, i went into sheer panic was so frightened could not focus on anything. two years on i suffer from anxiety and skin conditions. i feel some days i have only half a brain. i would not advise this medication long term its bad news

  • Staci B.

    Since I have family members including at one time myself who have dealt with depression I know about this subject..This is what I know some of these medications actually make U feel worse..In my mom’s case She has actually been addicted to them..She missed one dose and she would feel bad..She was tripping all the time..With some of them she was having bad thoughts..She has taken many different ones and they basically never made her feel better.I myself couldn’t stand how I felt on them.I stopped taking them and now my mom has to.With these medications most of the time long term studies have not been done on the long term effects..Sure they do what a 2 year study maybe..Most of the time side effects do not show up for a longer period of time..Think about the medications that they say now cause harm Actos is one..Which my grandmother just got off of..You can never be 100% postive what the long term effects are..Believing that the dr.’s are going to tell U everything is just being naive..I have learned to do my research and to question..

    • tma

      they don't even do a two year study. they do six week studies and then play around with the data by removing negative reports. these drugs are very dangerous. the FDA does not do any testing at all on the drugs they approve, and the public needs to know that. it's the drug companies themselves that "test" the drugs and submit their reports to the FDA.

  • stonehillady

    Imagine, how did people cope before these drugs come on the market ?

    There must of been a LOT of drunks or bigger families & neighbor networks, where you actually spoke to someone face to face, not today with phones & internet.

    Or get this, more people relied on God & the Bible to get them through tough times. Then there is the diet, we used to eat real food, all natural, maybe depression is lack of certian nutrients ? B12 is #1 inprotecting our neurons. Sorry but, if I had prolong depression, anxiety or what ever I would want a blood profile first to make sure I wasn't dificenct in nutrients.

  • Honest Joe

    I agree that this was a badly worded article. I believe balance is needed. Some people need medicine to counter severe depression. If you're going to knock the legal drugs/medicines that are currently doing so, then name something that can effectively take their places. I've heard St. John's Wort is used a lot in Germany. What else is out there?

  • jocko

    I was put on them at 14 after a bit of a mental breakdown and still take the paxil i have once in awhile at 27, mostly because I tried to drop them completely a couple years ago and felt like i was going through heroin withdrawal; I had to buy a bottle of vodka just to calm my nerves, they felt like they were on fire.I would've killed myself if it kept up. Akathesia is the medical term i believe & there really is no adequate way to describe this agony.

    No doubt they help sometimes but its treating the symptoms, not the cause of our depression which is more related to our schizo way of life on this planet that causes so much misery. No questioning of what we are doing to ourselves, to nature (cause they are really one and the same after all), just take your soma and get back to work slaves…?

    I also find it hilarious that we lock up so much of their population away for taking drugs then go home and pop pills all day. We drug children with this stuff then ask why oh why when some of them come to school with automatics….HELLO!?

  • JoeDonner

    I was on zoloft, and it worked for all of about a week, if that. even though I kept taking it for a short while after, I felt nothing. like I was just mindlessly shoving pills in my body, so I just jumped off it.

    Probably had only used it for 2-3 weeks or so, if that. I've always questioned since then what it may have done to my body, I will never go near chemicals like that you have to get a prescription for again…

  • Jimmy

    I've been taking Prozac (Fluoxetine) for 10 years. It has helped me immensely with my condition (OCD with depression). Without it I'd probably have committed suicide or been sectioned.

    So when I read rubbish like, "At best, the tangible results felt by patients are comparable to sugar pills" I KNOW you are utterly, utterly wrong. Seroxat didn't work for me but Prozac did. I am living proof.

    Cognitive decline? I'm a computer programmer who has won 4 company-wide awards of excellence in the past 5 years at my work. I don't think so, somehow.

    Scaremongering articles like this might be stopping ill people from receiving treatment that might help them.

    Also, regarding the arterial side effects – well, I'd rather die at 70 having lived a happy life then at 80 being utterly miserable.

    And no, I don't work for any medical companies or am related to a medical company in any way whatsoever. In Scotland where I live, prescription drugs are free anyhow.

    • Jesse James

      "Scaremongering articles like this might be stopping ill people from receiving treatment that might help them."

      I agree.

    • Marilyn

      I totally agree with you Jimmy. I am on Prozac also. Before taking it, I was so depressed that I felt like I just wanted to die, I was so miserable. Prozac has helped me tremendously. I think that articles like this that try to scare people so they don't take them are what's really harming people. The person that wrote it doesn't know what they are talking about. And they say that 10 percent of people are depressed??? It is WAY higher than that. So people, get your facts straight before printing this garbage.

    • mopy

      Enjoy your fluoride :) you are the exception.

      • tma


    • Cindy

      Prozac is fluoride and no way is it going to help your brain in the long run. You're going to have dementia.

  • hereward

    I've been on antidepressants three times (not for very long on any of the occasions), and I will never touch them again. One (Sinequan)was back in the '80s, before they had SSRIs, and it did nothing except give me constipation. In the early '90s I was on a small (off-label use, not for depression) dose of Paxil. That was truly horrible; I wonder how people on the bigger doses can even handle it. It destroyed my sex drive for a time, and gave me weird unpredictable emotions. Finally, I used Zyban in an attempt to quit smoking—Zyban is what they call Wellbutrin when they use it for smoking cessation. I took it for two weeks, and I could tell that it was still in my system three years later. For all I know it still is in my system, and I was taking it thirteen years ago. I'd have to smoke a cigarette to find out, and I'm not going to do that…

    At any rate, I can't tell anyone else what to do, but I will never take any drug of this type ever again.

  • Bob

    From what I've read all except 1 ssri contains flouride. They are flouride based drugs. Flouride is considered a neurotoxin with epa saying 4 parts per million as acceptable. IMO there's no acceptable level. Too much Flouride causes flourosis of not just the teeth but ALL bones. Also makes you stupid and passive.

  • s

    clearly these drugs are as addictive as any street drug out there……after a while even the thouhghts of getting off such a drug causes panic as the recipient fears trying to face life any other way..i know my wife has been on many such drugs as this since her daughter died in 1996..she will never be capable of functioning w/o such drugs at this point since she has been on them so long..yet as she continues on these type drugs her senior yrs fast approaching..she ishaving many side effect related health problems ,,weight gain, bone loss , liver damage, memory impairment……i fear her golden yrss will be torturous

  • Shaylyn

    I would personally like to see the original peer reviewed studies cited in this article. Arguments like this aren't convincing if they aren't truly backed up.

    • ps

      Amen to that!!

    • tma

      Read _Anatomy of an Epidemic_ by medical journalist Robert Whitaker.

  • Jesse James

    "At best, the tangible results felt by patients are comparable to sugar pills. That is to say, the medication itself does virtually nothing to improve the mood of the patient directly."

    Clearly you're retarded.

    I take an anti-depressant med (Remeron) for an anxiety disorder. Without it, I have difficulty functioning properly in my day-to-day activities. It isn't a cure-all, but it does work.

    Obviously if there is a naturopathic way for depression/anxiety sufferers to alieviate their symptoms, use it. But lying to the readers of NaturalSociety, saying SSRI's et al don't work, is idiocy at it worst.

    ps. I don't work for any pharmaceutical company in any way.

    • Thomas Jefferson

      Calling this 'retarded' shows your lack of intellectual honesty and integrity.

      The article points out potential downsides to SSRI's which doctors have put millions & millions of Americans on –

      Do they 'help' some people? Probably yes, although most probably is placebo effect. as trials prove.

      So stop attacking. The FDA is a JOKE, a criminal cabal that has approved drugs in the last 40 years that have KILLED lots & lots of people. Natural health supplements, alternatively, are 99.999% safe.

      It is sick what the FDA has done – being in bed with drug companies – using their "science" as "the" definitive science.

      • Jesse James

        I called the author retarded. Yes, some people experience negative affects from prescription drugs such as SSRI's. However, I know they help a lot of people (I know several people who use SSRI's.) The author is who's attacking read the article. I'm just merely countering the idiocy of his quoted statement. I use natural health supplements, I eat as much organic non-GMO's as possible, and I don't like the FDA (Aspartame, no GMO labelling, anyone?) Just because a person writes a blog-like article, who you might agree with in several respects, doesn't mean you shouldn't point out their fallacies. In this case, as I pointed out, the idiocy of the quoted comment because it's simply not true.

        • Anonymous

          For all you that disparage the content of the above article because you feel these drugs are benificial and the article has no scientific merit,

          DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!

          There are hundreds if not more published scientific studies on the

          very real dangers of these drugs. Take the time and do it!!

          The info is not hard to find. Harvard journal has published some that I have

          read. All reputable studies. I know if you take these drugs it might make for

          some scary reading but don't call the author retarded when you have clearly not

          researched this subject