Essay: Antidepressant Drugs and Their Effects Against Depression

Massive advertising campaigns mounted by major pharmaceutical corporations would have you believe that the only way to battle and control your depression is to take one of their drug concoctions. Their drugs are designed to correct an imbalance in serotonin, a naturally occurring chemical in the body. According to the drug companies, it is the out of balance serotonin that leads to depression. However, there are many scientific studies that have been done, and seem to show there is no cause and effect relationship between low serotonin and depression.

The studies conducted, first depleted or lowered serotonin levels in humans in order to physically induce depression. This did not happen in most cases. In other words, just because a human being had low serotonin, did not bring on clinical depression in otherwise healthy people. Another part of the study gave depressed people high levels of a drug in order to increase serotonin. Again there was no change in the person. The person experiencing depression did not dramatically improve with the change in serotonin levels induced by the medication.

The overall conclusion from these studies is that the drugs don’t correct bio chemical imbalances in the body as related to depression. In other words something else is going on and scientists are actively trying to determine if the marketed drugs do more harm than good. So what is the alternative to taking the drugs, in which one of many stated side effects is suicidal thinking or attempts. Other side effects include, violent mood swings, emotional, perceptual and psychological changes in addition to self harm possibilities. These warnings are written on every box, an open secret about these antidepressant drugs.

So the questions becomes, is it necessary to take these drugs in order to get better? Some say no. Some say that many people are being treated for normal everyday ups and downs. These mood swings are simply a part of life, no medication needed. It is estimated that 25% of the population, primarily women experience some form of depression, sometime during the course of their lives. There are many contributing factors to this depressive state. These factors include lifestyle, behavior and relationship problems. Depression usually comes from a life altering events, such as death, serious illness, divorce or bankruptcy. Some symptoms of depression include loss of appetite, weight loss or gain, fatigue, loss of sex drive, and lack of concentration. Depression is usually diagnosed if the situation lasts longer than one month.

Some experts recommend changing diet and nutrition patterns since there does seem to be a correlation between low zinc and iron levels in the body and depressive tendencies. Diets rich in iron, zinc, magnesium and the B-complex vitamins are major factors in alleviating depression. One of the problems with antidepressant drugs is that most of them hinder zinc absorption in the body. Good sources of zinc include, shellfish, mushrooms, soy beans, sesame seeds, cocoa, sunflower seeds, rice and whole wheat bread to name a few. Stay away from convenience and heavily processed foods, caffeine, and soda in large quantities.

One last thing to be aware of are other medications such as high blood pressure medications which also induce depression. Some long term antibiotics can lead to depression as well. It is wise to talk with your doctor if and when medications are prescribed so that you understand all the ramifications of taking a particular drug.