*Trauma Trigger Warning* If you or someone you love suffers from depression, lost their battle with depression, attempted to take their life, etc.- this blog may cause immense emotion.
In the U.S., depression is the leading cause of disability for people over 5 years of age. Did you know, suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death in youth 10-24 years of age in the United States?!
Now, this blog is going to be real, raw, and vulnerable.
I’m going to start with a story…
*Edit, I was given permission by the mother of this story to spread awareness of mental health and that is what I am going to do.
“No parent should have to worry about this...”
I ask each one of you to please be respectful to the family in reference.
I come from a small town of about 2,000 people, two stoplights, and the world’s largest talking cow- Chatty Belle. A beautiful, intelligent, teenager recently tried to take her own life- she was on an antidepressant at the young age of 14. This truly shook me to my core. I read the statistics, I read the science, I see the mental health crisis every day, I treat mental health every day, but when something so heart wrenching happens so close to home, it’s a different feeling. And it’s something that needs to be spoken about.
Why is this happening?
Is depression a serotonin deficiency?
Are anti-depressants safe short term/long-term?
Based on the 2017 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 7.4% of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months. As a mother, this is terrifying. As a doctor, this is horrifying. As a person, this breaks my heart.
Antidepressant use has increased almost 400% from 1998 through 2008. It’s now the third most common prescription of all age groups. About 60% of Americans have taken antidepressants for more than two years, 14% of them for more than 10 years. If depression is due to a serotonin imbalance that can be “fixed” by SSRIs antidepressants- why are the numbers still increasing?
Depression is a serotonin imbalance that Zoloft® can fix.
This psychiatric hypothesis says that depression results from an imbalance, a deficiency of serotonin at the synaptic level. But this hypothesis is applied to much more than depression. SSRI antidepressants are used to treat a grocery list of problems, like anxiety . (Separate blog on that)
SSRI antidepressants work in a way of blocking the re-uptake of serotonin.
Well as it turns out, after unfortunately six decades of research since this claim, there hasn’t been any validation. THERE HASN’T BEEN ANY!
Please look at the complied research box I’ve included below.
“There is no direct evidence of serotonin or norepinephrine deficiency despite thousands of studies that have attempted to validate this notion.” (Nat Rev Neuroscience. 2005 Mar;6(3):241-6)
Antidepressants are safe short-term and/or long-term.
When we are led to believe that antidepressants are effective in the short term, it’s very common for patients to remain on these prescriptions for long periods of time sometimes decades.
“In short, psychiatric drugs induce a pathology. Princeton neuroscientist Barry Jacobs has explicitly made this point about SSRIs .
‘These drugs, he said, alter the level of synaptic transmission beyond the physiologic range achieved under (normal) environmental/biological conditions. Thus, any behavioral or physiologic change produced under these conditions might more appropriately be considered pathologic, rather than reflective of the normal biological role of serotonin.’ (Jacobs, 1991, p. 22)”
SSRIs disrupt the brain chemistry. E. Fuller Torrey explains, “conditions that disrupt brain chemistry may cause delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking, and mood swings-the symptoms of insanity" (The Invisible Plague. Torrey, 2001, p. 315)
"Antidepressant-induced mania is not simply a temporary and reversible phenomenon, but a complex biochemical mechanism of illness deterioration" (Fava, 2003, p . 126)
“Exposure to Fluoxetine during gestation and lactation affect the DNA methylation of brain and the nociceptive response of rats.” (Behav Brain Res. 2014 May 15;265:142-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.02.031. Epub 2014 Feb 28.)
What does this all mean? Psychiatric drugs disturb normal neurotransmitter function!
While that distress may potentially limit symptoms over short-term, in the long-term it increases the chances that a person will become chronically ill and/or have new or worsening symptoms.
“A review of the scientific literature shows quite clearly that it is our drug-based paradigm of care that is fueling this modem-day plague.” Robert Whitaker
More and more literature continues to come to light with the association of inflammation, chronic stress, elevated cortisol, cytokines, etc. and depression.
“Recovery from depression was associated with reduction to normal levels of the majority of the measured cytokines. These results strongly support the notion that a complex network of cytokines is involved in the pathophysiology of Major Depressive Disorder.” (Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Jul;45:77-86. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.03.019. Epub 2014 Apr 6.)
“Long-term exposure to stress and high levels of cortisol induce atrophy and loss of cells that contain corticosteroid receptors in the hippocampus, which are responsible for cortisol-induced suppression of CRH-secreting neurons in the paraventricular nucleus.” (Martinac et al. Acta Clin Croat, 2014)
“Whether increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines in depression are explained by the proinflammatory actions of glucocorticoids or by a reduction in glucocorticoid signaling secondary to receptor resistance has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis and treatment of depression.” (PMID 25943397)
What does this mean?! IT MEANS YOU HAVE OPTIONS! Medication is NOT the only option for depression relief. Our children deserve better, we as a society deserve better. I am here to tell you- there is hope. Those of you who are suffering with depression have some great natural, nutritional, and supplemental options.
Depression is a complex symptom. Depression relief must have guidance, please, contact us today to see how we can help!
Please share this - Please spread awareness - Please help save a life.
I am here to tell you that you are loved, you are enough, and you are needed,
Dr. Taryn Stittleburg, DC, CFMP, PSc.D