The Scary Truth about Anti-Depressants
For centuries America has been known as a country with unstoppable optimism, the ability to squash obstacles, and stoic determination. That's in stark contrast to some European countries, notably Russia, which has been described as a dark and desolate nation filled brooding citizens. True or not, because of this, one would think Russians would have a higher rate of depression than Americans. However, research shows this isn't the case.
While its true Russians reflect and focus more on the negative aspects of life, it is actually Americans who experience more depression. Why is this? The answer largely lies in cultural influences.
Russians have the ability to distance themselves from their negative thoughts. On the other hand Americans tend to fully embrace and internalize negative feelings to the point that depression takes over.
One study discussed the results of tests between Russian and American students. When asked to remember a sad or hurtful experience in their lives, both Russians and Americans were equally able to talk about and remember the negative consequences. But the Russian students were able to simultaneously distance themselves from the problem. Apparently, Americans, or more precisely American culture, is quite different in this regard.
Over 20 million Americans are currently suffering from depression. That's rather alarming when you consider that major depression is the fourth leading cause of disease and actually causes more catastrophic results than heart attacks or strokes.
The mind-body connection.
Fortunately, conventional medicine is recognizing that there is a strong correlation between mood and exercise. The mind-body connection is very real. Lifestyle changes and maintaining good physical health will significantly lower the risk of developing depression in the first place, thus significantly lowering the risk of serious disease.
But the fact remains that antidepressants are still being prescribed to treat depression. The problem with this is that they're two serious side effects.
One of them is that antidepressants increase the risk of converting from unipolar depression to bipolar depression. There is an extraordinary boom in bipolar diagnoses and studies indicate that this is linked to the widespread use of antidepressants. The alarming fact is that 25 to 50% of children prescribed an antidepressant - and stay on the drug for five years - will convert to bipolar illness. Twenty-five percent of adults on long-time antidepressants will eventually convert to bipolar.
The upsurge of bipolar disease.
It wasn't long ago that bipolar disease was fairly rare. Now, the sudden rise is raising a few questions. This unnecessary development is a tragedy because once you're diagnosed as bipolar, then you're treated with a cocktail of often anti-psychotic medication.
Additionally, remaining on antidepressants for 15 years or more indicates that cognitive decline will result.
A chemical imbalance in your brain - or not?
It's a common misconception that depression is caused from a “chemical imbalance in your brain” and that antidepressants are the best balancing agent. However, this is not a scientific statement but a strategic marketing ploy. The idea that low serotonin causes depression came about when scientists understood the reaction of drugs on them.
But actually, this is just a hypothesis. In 1983, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) concluded that depressed patients did not have anything wrong with their serotonin levels. Interestingly enough this was before Prozac ever reach the market.
One expert commented that the “serotonin deficiency causes depression” theory is comparable to the masturbatory theory of insanity. There is no scientific data to support either statement, and as in the case of the later, it borders on silliness.
To make matters worse, if you start taking an SSRI drug you eventually end up with the same problem the drug was designed to take care of - low serotonin levels. The irony here is obvious. Low serotonin levels are what supposedly brings on depression in the first place.
The worse part? Eventually, the brain will rely on these drugs. Over time, it acts in a way that is very different from normal. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why these drugs can provoke a manic episode - and why they're linked to sexual problems, violence, and a whole other host of problems. SSRI drugs are in fact making the brain behave abnormally.
A far better solution.
Depression is a very serious condition but it's not a disease. What it is, is a sure indicator that your body and what's going on in your life is not in sync. This is so important to realize because once you start thinking depression is an illness, you immediately think you need to take a pill to fix it. Actually, what you may need to do is to restore balance by addressing stress and emotional issues. This can be done without popping a pill.
Eating a healthy diet is important, too. Not only does food impact your mood and your ability to cope with life stressors, a nutritious diet supports mental health. Staying away from sugar helps normalize your insulin levels and this is another powerful tool for addressing depression.
You can support brain functioning with essential fats such as animal-based Omega-3 fatty krill oil. Some experts believe this could be the single most important nutrient when it comes to battling depression.
In the final analysis, Americans may be more prone to depression than some other nationalities, but there are steps to take to make sure it doesn't happen to you. That’s the American spirit!