Depression and anxiety disorders are among the leading causes of the global health-related burden. These two are the most disabling mental disorders among the rest.
The COVID19 pandemic accelerated the impact of depression and anxiety disorders by distorting the environment in which the main determinants of mental health were compromised through:
Closure of economic establishments
Loss of livelihood
During stress, a person’s lack of compliance with the environmental conditions leads to psychological and biological changes and the person is at risk of becoming ill.
Depressive disorder and anxiety disorders increase the risk of other diseases and suicide, with suicide being one of the top 5 causes of death in men.
Depression is a common psychiatric disorder in the world affecting more than 300 million people worldwide.
The previous post about Anxiety and depression, defined and described Anxiety disorders and depression. You can read the blog post here ( Anxiety & depression I)
The mechanism of action of anti-depressants is to attempt correcting chemical imbalances misfired by neurotransmitters. These drugs also treat some chronic pain conditions, and they also help to manage some addictions.
Neurotransmitters are often referred to as the body’s chemical messengers. They are the molecules used by the nervous system to transmit messages between neurons, or from neurons to muscles.
Neurotransmitters influence three specific response in the neurons.
Neurotransmitters excite neurons.
Neurotransmitters inhibit neurons.
Neurotransmitters modulate neurons.
The four most important neurotransmitters that influence the moods of a person are:
Antidepressants are deadly and ineffective
It is becoming evident that antidepressants are deadly and hook patients into an endless loop of fatal side effects and even push them to suicide.
Observational studies reveal that 67% of patients on antidepressants were prescribed more than 10 drugs.
In this book ‘Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime - how the big pharma has corrupted healthcare,’ Peter Gotzsche writes that instead of psychiatrists trying to understand the patients, psychiatry has developed into a checklist exercise. Diagnosis is often made after a brief consultation, after which many patients are told that they need a drug for the rest of their life to fix a “chemical imbalance in the brain”
Classification of anti-depressants
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) e.g., Prozac
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) eg Cymbalta
Tricyclic antidepressants e.g., Imipramine and amitriptyline
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) e.g., tranylcypromine
Selective Serotonin Re-uptake inhibitors
These antidepressants block the reuptake of serotonin. When serotonin is blocked from being re-absorbed by receptors, it roams freely to travel further to more distant receptors.
Selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
These antidepressants block the re-uptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine. They alter changes in the brain’s chemical activities and communication between nerve cells. This alteration is thought to have a positive effect to regulate mood and therefore help relieve depression.
Mono Amine oxidase inhibitors
These are among the first antidepressants to be introduced in the medical system. They block the activity of an enzyme known as monoamine oxidase. This enzyme normally breaks down different types of neurotransmitters from the brain.
By blocking these transmitters, they roam freely in the body in an attempt to correct the 'chemical imbalance' in the brain.
These are drugs that are not categorized in any specific mechanism of action.
They generally alter the activities of all neurotransmitters.
Side effects of anti-depressants
All these antidepressants come with unpleasant and intolerable side effects. These side effects are:
This is a collection of symptoms associated with high levels of serotonin in the body.
Antidepressants block the re-uptake of serotonin leading to the excessive circulation of serotonin. This syndrome is also known as serotonin toxicity.
Signs of serotonin toxicity are;
Dry mouth and dry lips
Confusion and restlessness
Loss of sleep
High blood pressure
Twitching of muscles
Most patients on antidepressants report an increase in their weight.
This is primarily due to the destruction of dopamine receptors by antidepressants. This destruction leads to an emotional binge on sugar and processed carbs as a compensatory mechanism to feel better from nausea and anxiety associated with the long term use of these drugs.
Insomnia or loss of sleep is another side effect of these drugs. Antidepressants dysregulate the mechanism of melatonin. This melatonin is commonly known as the sleep hormone and it acts as a switch that prepares a person to sleep.
Melatonin is metabolized from serotonin. Antidepressants interfere with the metabolism of serotonin, leading to poor secretion and reception of melatonin leading to sleeplessness
Constipation is another side effect of antidepressants. These drugs disrupt the genetic makeup of bacteria in the gut. This genetic make-up is known as the microbiome.
Once the gut microbiome is disrupted, it will not support the proper digestion of food in the gut leading to gut-related failures like constipation.
Antidepressants are associated with erectile failure and premature ejaculation. This is because they interfere with neural circuits in the brain associated with sexual pleasure.
The pleasure center of the brain is known as the ‘nucleus acumbens’ where neurotransmitters like dopamine flow freely into this area. Antidepressants alter this flow of dopamine into this area causing sexual failure.
Addiction and dependency
People on antidepressants may not have cravings for the drug because they don’t experience euphoria when they take antidepressants.
However, they develop a physical dependence on the drug.
If these persons were to suddenly stop taking antidepressant, they would suffer intolerable withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, hallucinations, headaches and nausea. These withdrawal symptoms will drive them into a new wave of anxiety and eventually a relapse of depression. This intolerability of unwanted effects make them get hooked on these drugs for life.
Analysis of medical and court reports reveals that treatment of healthy adults with antidepressants doubled their risk of harms related to suicidality and violence, including psychotic events and mood disturbances. In children and adolescents, there is a bigger risk of increased suicidal ideations and attempts.
It is clear that these anti depressants cause substantial harm in the long term. The pharmaceutical industry avoid addressing these harmful events that include violence and suicides.
Arnold Relman, MD wrote that the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine but also in teaching and research.
There are two books that I will recommend for your further reading:
Deadly Medicines and Organized crime by Peter Gotzsche
Butchered by "Healthcare" by Robert Yoho
These books reveal the treachery, corruption and the lies perpetuated by the pharmaceutical industries. The books uncover how the industry has infiltrated the medical system to push for profits at the expense of human health.
Thank you for reading.