You’ve heard a lot about opioids both in the mainstream media and right here in eAlert… but sadly, there’s another addiction crisis going on in America that no one’s talking about.
An untold number of people were prescribed antidepressants months, years, or even decades ago… and no matter how hard they try, those patients just can’t get off of them… because the side effects can be as bad as the withdrawal from any opioid or illicit drug.
There’s even an “official” diagnosis for it: discontinuation syndrome.
Of course, giving it a fancy name doesn’t lessen the agony of those suffering through daily bouts of dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, and acute anxiety when they attempt to cut back or stop.
That’s how addictive antidepressants can be. I’m sure that most patients who casually started up on one of these drugs had no idea that they would get hooked and need a daily fix just to be able to function.
And as some just-out research has uncovered, it appears that Big Pharma knew all along, but it kept the drugs’ addictive potential under wraps – along with other important information that was hidden from patients and even their doctors.
Big Pharma’s greed has put millions of Americans between a rock and a hard place. And this new information reminds us how important it is to never, ever start up on one of these drugs.
But in case you already have, there are some things you need to know before attempting to “kick the habit” by tossing that bottle of pills in the trash can.
The elephant in the room
For Victoria Toline, getting off Zoloft, a med she had been on for over two years, was next to impossible. It took her nine full months of lowering the dose… drop by drop (quite literally using a dropper)… to finally be able to call it quits.
During that time, extreme side effects (like confusion and dizziness) pretty much floored her. “Only now am I feeling well enough to try to re-enter society and go back to work,” she recently told a reporter.
The problem is that Victoria is just one of over 15 million Americans who have been popping antidepressants for years – regardless of whether they’re depressed.
In fact, many people have innocently stepped into the antidepressant trap for a host of problems other than depression!
Having insomnia or headaches? Maybe some aches and pains or temporary anxiety? Well, there’s a drug for that!
And way too often, that drug is Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac.
Now, an investigation by reporters at The New York Times has discovered that antidepressants were never intended to be lifetime solutions for depression (or anything else)… but rather for short-term use only.
In fact, most of the studies presented to the FDA for approval lasted no more than a couple of months!
It wasn’t until much later that trials were done to support using them for “maintenance therapy”… but even that research didn’t go beyond two years.
So, despite the fact that millions are on them with no end in sight, we still don’t know the risks involved.
But considering what many go through to wean themselves off these meds, continuing to refill that Rx for years on end becomes pretty much the lesser of two evils. Actually, Victoria is one of the success stories, as many others have given up any hope of ever being free of them.
Several decades ago, Big Pharma was approached by a group of well-respected psychiatrists who dared to suggest that antidepressants were causing some patients to suffer horrible withdrawal symptoms. They’d even presented a long report at an Eli Lilly-sponsored get-together.
Well, you can guess how far that went!
And at this point, the ease with which you can become addicted to antidepressants has become the elephant in the room that Big Pharma, doctors, and the FDA are refusing to acknowledge.
So, how do you quit?
Even though your doctor may not have a specific plan for doing so, he’s still a valuable resource who knows more than you do about the workings of such drugs. So, make an appointment to see him as soon as you possibly can.
One thing I can tell you for sure is that stopping cold turkey or even too fast can be devastating.
You can read what others have found useful in ditching their antidepressants at a website called The Withdrawal Project, which you can find at withdrawal.theinnercompass.org. Just remember that quitting any Rx drug should always be done under the supervision of your doctor.
And as for actual depression, HSI advisory panel member Dr. Mark Stengler believes that it can often be the result of a nutritional or hormonal imbalance. There are also many supplements — such as vitamin D, ashwagandha and probiotics — that can help to boost your mood.
In addition, a lot of research has found that reaching out to others and just talking about what’s bothering you can be more beneficial than any pharmaceutical!
“Many people taking antidepressants discover they cannot quit” Benedict Carey, Robert Gebeloff, April 7, 2018, The New York Times, nytimes.com