More Reasons to Think Twice About Antidepressants

prozacSometimes antidepressants make me sad. 🙁

Before we get to the links, here’s my usual disclaimer: I am not flatly opposed to antidepressant medication. Sometimes it is useful, yadda, yadda, yadda. It is also grossly overprescribed and misused. Here are a couple new and compelling reasons to explore non-pharmaceutical treatment for depression.

SSRIs and Autism Risk: This CNN article reports preliminary findings that children whose mothers take Zoloft, Celexa, and other SSRIs during pregnancy are at four times the risk for autism. The article rightly states that poor maternal mental health is a serious problem, but it fails to point out the obvious: Medication is not the only option! There are other treatments for depression, and they even work on pregnant women.

Tardive Dysphoria: Robert Whitaker is revisiting an old concern that SSRIs may actually transform an episode of mild depression into chronic depression. New research on this old question suggests that the brain resists and compensates for the effects of SSRIs. This type of medication may permanently change the brain in a way that disposes it toward depression. Dr. Whitaker also has a new book that takes a critical look at SSRIs and their improper use. (Have I mentioned that there are other treatments for depression?)

Despondex: Finally, The Onion reports on a new depressant drug used to cure excessive perkiness. As part of the report, The Onion reminds us that there are natural remedies for cheerfulness, such as “a diet of corn syrup and white bread, and a total lack of exercise.” (For the uninitiated, The Onion is a satire news outlet.)