Researchers at the Emory School of Medicine have found real correlating data discovering that taking antidepressants, namely SSRIs, thicken the lining of your carotid arteries by 400 times normal. The carotid arteries are the arteries coming from your heart to your brain, bringing your brain freshly oxygenated blood to keep it functioning at optimum levels. People with carotid artery disease from thickening of the walls to plague build up have a decreased blood flow and this causes several unwanted conditions including stroke and death.
It’s known in the medical circles that people with depression have an increased chance of developing heart disease. Negative lifestyle habits associated with depression – such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, poor diet and lack of social support – interfere with the treatment for heart disease. It seems that now, with the current finding from Emory, that being treated with the common SSRIs for depression decrease life expectancy by speeding up the artery thickening that is associated usually with aging. As the study at Emory points out, we can expect some artery thickening with age, but if SSRIs are affecting the serotonin that resides in our arterial walls, intestines and even our platelets, who knows what other damage is being done that will have long term effects on the health of 118 millions antidepressant users, according to the CDC. It’s the most prescribed for diagnosis in the US.
David Spiegel of Stanford University School of Medicine says he’s glad to see more people getting treatment for depression, which causes more disability than any other medical condition.
Well, unfortunately, Mr. Spiegel is incorrect in that there is no medical evidence to date that says depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, thus a medical condition. No study at all. No brain examination by X-ray, MRI or PET Scan has definitively found evidence of depression. No study to date has shown SSRIs to be any more effective in lifting depression than a placebo. Yet, there are studies that confirm over 60% of depressed persons taking up exercise show lessening or alleviation of symptoms of depression. That’s a fact.
For as much money as is being made from pharmaceutical companies for this one mental health issue, and for the tremendous amount of agreement that it’s debilitating and incurable, we still find no evidence of offending brain chemicals causing this condition. We treat it with a chemical that alters our chemistry negatively, such as what Emory University has found. We already know the horror of suicidal and homicidal tendencies while on or just coming off these chemicals. Evidence continues to mount that these drugs cause more damage than good for the person, considering placebos work just as well in 50% of all depressed cases. I believe that the evidence will show that antidepressants perpetuate the condition as the person gets more ill from the side effects of these drugs, and that this epidemic of depression will continue to grow at alarming rates as long as psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry perpetuate the false notion that brain chemicals cause depression or any other mental illness. Solutions will not be found in the laboratory of chemicals. The problem doesn’t start with chemicals or the condition would have already been fixed. And hypothesizing the causes and then acting as if they are real are causing real human misery and shortened life spans from the irresponsibility of someone trying to make a buck.
By Kenneth W. Thomas, RN, BS