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8 Comments

  1. I’ve just discovered Brogan, and have really appreciated her (and your) perspective. Thanks for tackling such a tough issue.. I know not everyone may agree with you, but I do think it is important to look at multiple (differing) viewpoints when it comes to these complicated issues.

    I was prescribed anti-depressants in college, for no other reason than I was feeling down. It absolutely washed me out of any feelings.. it was a very surreal place to be. I didn’t stick with the prescription for long because I could sense that such a drastic change wasn’t right (for me). That was a long time ago now… but that experience encouraged me to explore other (more natural) options.

  2. I completely agree that antidepressants are way over-prescribed these days without doctors taking into consideration other possible causes of depression, anxiety and mood swings (nutritional/hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, etc.). I’m one of those people who should never have been prescribed one. They actually gave me depression…something I didn’t have prior to taking them (they were prescribed for anxiety). Serious side effects have forced me to come off them, but I have been suffering with discontinuation syndrome for a very long time. That’s not including the awful and sometimes scary withdrawal symptoms I had experienced earlier on in my taper. I had been taking these meds on and off for almost 10 yrs. I wonder if my brain will ever get back to “normal”.

    That said, I don’t think these meds should be written off as useless, as, I know many people whose lives have been greatly improved by taking them; people who were barely functioning before. I even know some whose lives were saved by taking them. So, I do believe they have their place. I just wish that doctors would reserve them strictly for those who would benefit the most from them, offer guidance for those who would not and be able to tell the difference between the two.

  3. I have given countless hours of thought, research and personal experience (and still learning) to anxiety and depression because I have struggled with an anxiety disorder and associated mild depression going back as far as age 7 and was on and off Prozac for 9 years. I have explored tons of supplements, supplement combos, ways of eating, lifestyle changes, and so on. I am a “health nut,” (I also have my own health blog), I believe in listening to my intuition, and always prefer the natural way first. So I completely agree with most of the points you are making in your article and I truly am glad you are bringing light to another way of healing depression. However, it indeed is a very complex issue because there are different causes and many aspects to it.
    I think it is wrong to dismiss antidepressants entirely, despite all their downsides (and oh boy do I know about them) and say they purely don’t work because in some cases, they are a very useful tool.

    I personally was born with a seizure disorder and my brain has always had a tendency towards anxiety and obsessive thoughts, and these obsessive thoughts are very difficult to control (you can think of it something like true OCD), and they are what ultimately end up causing anxiety (based off of a trigger). There are medical journals I have read that have shown the connection between seizure disorders and anxiety disorders. Those with seizures are more likely to have mental issues such as anxiety or depression, and all the seizure meds I had to take were also effective as mood stabilizers. The reason being is that there IS often a physiological/biochemical basis to mental issues, especially with those like me who experience it from a very young age, and I had no environmental or circumstantial factors that created it (such as child abuse, parents divorcing, etc etc).

    It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s due to low serotonin specifically, and it could be that pharma industry is playing up the idea of low serotonin being a cause in order to make sales. However, there is at times a real chemical basis. You have to take into account how much chemicals or abnormal brain activity come into play with how we feel – why consistent exercise is such a good depression fighter (endorphins), why social media is addicting (dopamine), why cuddling makes you feel safe and secure and can reduce anxiety dramatically (oxytocin), etc. These are simple examples, but it just shows how much chemicals are intertwined with our experience of life. And there IS such a thing as consistent abnormal activity in the brain that can create chronic conditions, whether it be anxiety, depression, seizures, etc. It is just that they are in the minority as compared to lifestyle/cultural/nutrition/other environmental factors.

    Another really important point is that I have had a hard time explaining my anxiety disorder to others because many people don’t want to believe it’s a real disorder. That too is also bothersome, and it happens because people understand what anxiety is, but they don’t understand that there is a difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder. Or they think that I’ve just grown up to believe it’s a disorder but that nothing is really “wrong” with me. I don’t think anything is really wrong with me either, but my anxiety disorder is a reality I’ve had to live with for 30+ years and it is very difficult for others to understand it unless they have a true one themselves. They think I should be able to more easily control it. I’ve had people that definitely do not have a true anxiety disorder tell me that I have anxiety due to a lack of spirituality in my life (I don’t), or a vitamin deficiency (I keep on top of this), etc etc.
    Well, there is a long list of things I have tried and continue to try. But I also listen to my intuition and can see that no matter my life situation, my brain has a tendency towards very obsessive thoughts or patterns that end up creating anxiety. I personally would love more light to be shed on the fact that those of us with true anxiety disorders do have a legitimate issue that we must learn to manage the best we can.

    Chemicals like serotonin aside, how Prozac helped me was it made my brain far less obsessive, and therefore it made it much easier for me to control my own anxiety in addition to meditation, exercise, and so on, which in turn kept me from getting depression. In this way it was very useful and it allowed me to function during a time when I couldn’t even sit still, eat, or sleep. Sometimes the experience on the drugs is a better experience than a long-lasting bout of anxiety or depression which is also terrible for your system. Sometimes anti-depressants just help you get through a really tough time so you can focus enough to find a better solution.

    Anti-depressants ARE over-prescribed, there are a ton of factors that can play into why people get depressed or anxious, and I have been fortunate enough to have money, time, curiosity, and strength to really thoroughly try to understand my own brain, to keep an open mind, and to experiment. I am actually someone who I think has a real reason to go on an anti-depressant and I still try to avoid it at all costs.

    Like you said, the placebo effect is also very real, which also ends up creating a dependency on anti-depressants which is also not good because we end up wanting to not trust ourselves but rely on the drug. Therefore, for those of us who actually have truly benefitted from occasional antidepressant use, we must be careful to understand that the drug is one of many possible tools and practice believing in ourselves.

    There is just so much to it, and I think your article is very good, but it definitely leaves out a side of the story.

  4. LOVE this article , Lauren! It’s funny…I just wrote a similar one on my blog, also citing Dr. Brogan’s work (how great is she…?). Thanks for speaking the truth. Everyone needs to hear this information and realize that they can heal.

  5. This might be a foolish question, but could Dr. Brogan’s book also apply to men? My fiancé decided to come off his pain medication earlier this year (he suffers from nerve damage as a result of having surgery to treat his ulcerative colitis) and the wave of emotion that crashed over him led to depression. He was prescribed an anti-depressant but also decided to stop taking them since he experienced all the things you mentioned – low libido, feeling like a stranger in his own body etc.
    He is in therapy but both his therapist and psychatrist are pushing him and saying that he is not welcome at therapy if he doesn’t take his meds. The reason I’m telling you this is that we live in Sweden, and in the last decade or so the use of anti-depressants have increased drastically here as well.

  6. Love Kelly Brogan. nnemf’s and blue light is a real problem that is going to get worse and is behind poor mitichondria function. Check out Dr. Jack Kruse if you want cutting edge quantum health information and can handle reality. It isn’t enough to eat right.

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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