Psychological side effects of antidepressants are more serious than thought

Feb 27 2014 - 9:35am
Drugs can kill
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It is well known that antidepressants and other drugs which are prescribed by psychiatrists are often associated with a myriad of horrible side effects. Yet, these drugs remain the mainstay of treatment by psychiatrists for depression and other mental illnesses, in spite of growing evidence that natural approaches such as good nutrition, exercise, meditation, sunshine, fresh air, spending time with pets, listening to good music, spending time with family members and friends, and supportive counseling are often safe and effective interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental illness.

New research shows that adverse emotional and interpersonal effects from taking antidepressants may be worse than previously thought, reports the journal Psyschiatry Research. In view of the rapidly increasing use of antidepressants internationally, and recent reviews which have raised concerns about their efficacy and adverse effects, researchers decided to survey a large sample of people taking antidepressants.

The researchers sent out an online questionnaire about experiences with, and beliefs about, antidepressants, which was completed by 1829 adults who had been prescribed antidepressants in the past five years. Out of 20 adverse effects which were studied, eight of the adverse effects were reported by over half the participants. What side effects were seen most frequently included:

1: Sexual Difficulties-62 percent

2: Feeling Emotionally Numb-60 percent

3: Feeling Not Like Myself–52 percent

4: Reduction In Positive Feelings-42 percent

5: Caring Less About Others-39 percent

6: Suicidality-39 percent

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7: Withdrawal Effects-55 percent

There was an association found between total adverse effect scores and younger age, lower education and income, and type of antidepressant. It was concluded from the findings of this research that the adverse effects of antidepressants may be more frequent than previously reported, and include both emotional and interpersonal effects.

It has been shown by a University of Liverpool researcher that thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties
and emotional numbness as a result of taking antidepressants may be more widespread than had previously been thought, reported the University of Liverpool on Feb. 26, 2014. In their survey of 1,829 people who had been prescribed anti-depressants, it was observed by the researchers that large numbers of people reported on psychological problems due to their medication. This has led to increasing concerns about how large the problem is of over prescription of these drugs.

Professor John Read, a psychologist and lead researcher from the University of Liverpool's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said: “The medicalization of sadness and distress has reached bizarre levels. One in ten people in some countries are now prescribed antidepressants each year." Read has gone on to point out that while the biological side effects of antidepressants, such as weight gain and nausea, have been well documented, the psychological and interpersonal effects have generally been largely ignored or even denied. Yet, these problems appear to be alarmingly common.

In this study each person completed an online questionnaire which asked them about twenty adverse effects associated with antidepressants. The study was done in New Zealand and all of the participants had been taking antidepressants during the last five years. In the survey levels of depression of the people was factored in and they were asked to report on how they had felt while
they were taking the medication.

The findings were shocking, with over half of people aged 18 to 25 in the study having reported suicidal feelings. As noted, large percentages of people also reported suffering from sexual difficulties and feeling emotionally numb. There were also significant findings of feeling not like myself, reduction in positive feelings, caring less about others, and withdrawal effects. So, even though 82 percent of the people reported that the drugs had helped alleviate their depression, the staggering degree of serious side effects associated with the drugs could not be ignored.

Read has said, “Effects such as feeling emotionally numb and caring less about other people are of major concern. Our study also found that people are not being told about this when prescribed the drugs." He has also noted that the finding that over a third of respondents reported suicidality due to taking the antidepressants has suggested that earlier studies may have underestimated this very serious problem.

Serious side effects from the prescribing of antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs is a large scale problem of catastrophic proportions. And yet I have observed the prescribing of these drugs has been growing by psychiatrists. The problem of dangerous adverse effects associated with these drugs is compounded by the fact that the diagnoses of the psychiatrists are based on the subjective whims of the psychiatrists to begin with.

The continued reliance on antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs by psychiatrists in spite of
compelling findings in this study and others which associates these drugs with hazardous side effects in large numbers of cases, implies the unethical lust of the psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical companies they work with for quick profits at any cost has been driving what is called mental health care by psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry, instead of a true professional quest for improvements in mental health care aimed at nurturing the optimal mental health potential of people in safe and effective manners. A lot of people have been paying a deadly price for this direction in mental health care.

Photo courtesy of renjith krishnan/Freedigitalphotos.net

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Comments

Excellent article with a wealth of valuable information. VERY VERY true!!!