Antidepressants: Risks and Benefits

Over 42 million Americans take antidepressants for depression, panic attacks, ADHD, sleep disorders and smoking cessation.

Some of the common antidepressants are:

  • Celexa
  • Lexapro
  • Paxil
  • Prozac
  • Zoloft
  • Cymbalta
  • Effexor
  • Wellbutrin
  • Zyban

All of these drugs have adverse side effects.

The boxed warning for Lexapro states…

The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality. [1]

One of the above symptoms, akathisia is described as emotional agitation and mental restlessness.

Symptoms can include anxiety, panic attacks, dark thoughts, aggressive impulses, insomnia, homicidality and suicidality.

Physical symptoms can include rocking back and forth, pacing, marching in place, inability to be still, shifting weight, unusual or violent behavior

Click here for an example of akathisia.

Akathisia is experienced by up to 20% of those prescribed an antidepressant. [2]

Do you find it interesting that these are some of the symptoms that the medications are supposed to suppress or prevent?

In addition to the side effects of these medications, there is a question about how good these drugs actually work.

The STAR D study found a lack of effectiveness in patients who participated in the program.

Only 2.7% had an initial remission that lasted or could be followed up for up to 12 months. [3]

What’s more, many of these meds undergo drug trials that are only 6 weeks in duration.

The Myth

Antidepressants are prescribed based on the theory of a chemical imbalance of the brain.

This is a theory that has never been proven.

For more information about this important topic go to The Myth of The Chemical Imbalance of the Brain Theory.

Alternatives to Drugs

There are various non-drug treatments for depression that are minus the side effects and proven to be effective, such as..,

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Therapies that focus on empathy
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Mindful Meditation

Each of these approaches can complement each other.

Drug Withdrawal

Getting off antidepressants can be as harmful or worse than taking the drug.


A resource for drug withdrawal can be found here.

Depression is not a chemical imbalance of the brain and does not have to be a life sentence.

Hopefully you can see that there is drug-free hope to help you overcome obstacles that prevent you from living life on your own terms.







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