(NaturalHealth365) Antidepressants are supposed to help regulate mood and improve quality of life. However, a relatively new study by a team of researchers led by scientists from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada has found that for some people, antidepressants actually raise the risk of early death.
The most common antidepressant drug class is serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. They function by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, which is one of the major feel-good chemicals in the brain.
Serotonin has been called the “happiness” neurotransmitter, and people who aren’t producing enough of it are more prone to depression, anxiety and mood disorders.
WARNING: Out of 375,000 study participants on antidepressants, one-third died prematurely
In theory, antidepressants such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors keep serotonin in the brain longer for those suffering from depression. However, the Canadian researchers found that these antidepressants disrupt the regulation of multiple processes in the brain, including the ideal functioning of serotonin.
The team conducted a meta-analysis of existing research from a total of 16 medical studies and databases. They wanted to see if they could discern a link between antidepressant use and mortality. In all, 375,000 participants were studied.
The researchers looked at the risk of a number of conditions in relation to antidepressants, including cardiovascular disease. They used a mixed-effects model to control for preexisting conditions and severity of depression for more accurate results.
Different antidepressant types were studied, including SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants.
Bottom line: the analysis found that taking antidepressants raised the risk of dying prematurely by 33 percent over those not taking antidepressants. Antidepressant users were also 14 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other adverse cardiovascular event.
Serotonin assists in numerous bodily processes – not just mood
Both tricyclic antidepressants and serotonin reuptake inhibitors resulted in the same increased risk of early death. These types are considered the first generation of antidepressants.
Serotonin isn’t just a brain chemical; this neurotransmitter is actually present throughout the body. It helps to regulate cell growth, digestion, reproduction, the immune system and many other processes.
And, to be perfectly clear, this valuable substance is present in just about every organ of the body.
While keeping more serotonin in the brains of depressed people seems like a good idea, these drugs are clearly affecting brain and body chemistry in unanticipated ways. Even those who prescribe the drugs are not sure what their long-term effects might be.
Manipulating serotonin functioning can lead to a range of different unforeseen effects – which in turn seem to be leading to early death for one-third of all antidepressant users.
Natural antidepressants can boost serotonin without harmful side effects
No doubt, synthetic antidepressant usage has soared in recent years. In the U.S., around one in 10 people are on SSRIs or other antidepressants. Even more shocking: an estimated one in 4 women between age 40 and 60 take antidepressants.
While severe clinical depression obviously requires a medical intervention, Americans need to stop relying on the ‘pill for every ill’ treatment approach and tap into the many natural solutions available.
A healthy diet rich in organic (antioxidant-rich) vegetables and fruit as well as regular physical exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Of course, many other things would prove to be helpful, such as improving personal relationships, consuming a healthy amount of non-toxic fats like organic avocados and coconut oil plus an adequate amount of B vitamins.
Simply put, there is so much that can be done to improve your emotional well-being – without the need for toxic medications. Do your own research, work with a qualified healthcare provider and discover what works best for you.
Sources for this article include:
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