Apparently millions of people each year suffer from various forms of clinical depression, although that number is hard to pin down when you consider how many of those people are not diagnosed by a clinical psychologist, but instead casually assigned the title of being “depressed” by their primary care physician (most of whom are rarely trained in mental health) — who in turn quickly dispenses an anti-depression prescription. Once a person is “diagnosed” by a doctor (of anything other than mental health), the patient almost always carries out filling the prescription, even though the very serious side effects are listed on the black box warning. Watch the commercial above to Abilify and pause the video as many times as needed in order to truly take in all of the side effects that are listed (fortunately for us, it is a requirement that drug companies do this).
If the commercial for Abilify moved along too quickly for you (and it’s understandable if this happened), the black box warnings for Prozac are listed to the left – leading off with increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior.
Most people (including those with a form of depression) know that life has its ups and downs, and that feeling down is a part of the life experience. Still, millions and millions of people each year sign up for an anti-depressant (or two), even when the side-effects include everything that you just watched in the commercial and read in the black box warning above. So my question today is how can being depressed be worse than all of these side effects that are likely to occur while using the anti-depressant — including a greater likelihood of taking your own life??
Most evenings while watching television I will inevitably be bombarded by commercial after commercial telling me about all the pills available for my every ache and woe. What I try to do – and have yet to have done it successfully – is actually listen to all the side effects that are verbalized faster than the speed of light, as well as read the warnings at the bottom of the screen that fly across my television faster than Usain Bolt running the 100. As you might imagine, this is actually impossible to do short of using DVR and pausing the video every couple seconds. (By the way, another column for another day might be how drug companies are even allowed to present these very important side effects in a manner that is impossible for human beings to comprehend).
If you’re feeling depressed, try this…
If you are a person who sometimes feels depressed, STOP, have a conversation with a mental health expert, and spend the time necessary evaluating whether your depressed mood state warrants using a prescription drug that in all likelihood may make your life circumstances worse, not better. Become a critical consumer and ask important questions, and take these side effects seriously! Keep in mind that side effects are required to be listed when the side effects happen “beyond chance,” meaning they have a greater chance of occurring while on the drug than when not on the drug.
In most cases, when people take the time to evaluate their depressed mood state versus dangerous anti-depressants, they then realize that the better, safer, and more beneficial way to beat depression is to work with a mental health clinician in combination with making a few important life changes. Depression is a serious condition that warrants serious attention, but adding toxic drugs like anti-depressants may (and likely will) exacerbate your depressed condition.
* Side note: Be sure to check to see if your primary care physician is being paid by the pharmaceutical industry – this relationship is not only a potential conflict of interest, but might also play into the decision-making used when your doctor decides to recommend dangerous anti-depressants to you.