Last week we had yet another ‘mental health’ discussion on Irish TV which portrayed antidepressants as a cure-all for depression. The programme’s presenters stated that ‘it’s not a shameful thing anymore, to take antidepressants’. In fact it’s not actually a big deal to admit being on antidepressants because so many people of the ‘enlightened’ western world have a chemical defect, which only happy pills can fix; ah bless. In attempting to seem enlightened, one would be forgiven for believing that these Irish presenters were talking about the harmless Smartie. Not a mention of silly side effects for the dimwitted public either – much too complicated. Sure what’s informed consent between friends? My silly Tweet ‘for balance don’t you know’ went unanswered.
Coincidentally, last week I had the pleasure of reading ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life’ by Marian Keyes. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a weekend with your face stuck into the latest Marian Keyes. I was a tad surprised though to read a somewhat flippant thread of prescription drugs running through the book, with the two main characters taking Xanax and antidepressants. I should point out that they had a great sex life, which in reality is highly unlikely when taking antidepressants. Ah well, sure it’s only fiction and they are only Smarties after all. No mention of the factual antidepressant induced PSSD (persistent post-SSRI sexual dysfunction) to dampen the spirits (or sexual desires) of Marian’s readers; and indeed who could blame her?
Knock yourself out –
While many will say ‘these drugs saved my life’, there are many others who sadly can no longer speak. For every one person these drugs have helped, how many have they killed? The dangers of these drugs are widely known. The effects of taking antidepressants can include: suicide ideation, homicide ideation, violence, mania, worsening depression, akathisia, abnormal bleeding, discontinuation syndrome (withdrawal), anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness and impulsivity. Hyponatremia – signs include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncompe, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death. Despite the large scale use in pregnancy, antidepressants can be harmful to unborn babies. The teratogenic effect is believed by some experts to double the rate of autism in children and increase the risk of lung, heart and bowel diseases. Tragically the latter is not an exhaustive list! Dr Urato of Tufts University, stated “Doctors are putting thousands of pregnant women and their unborn children at serious risk of harm by prescribing them anti-depressants.. amounting to a large scale human experiment”.
I’ve been banging this well-worn drum for over 5 years, ever since my son Shane died from an antidepressant induced death. So please, by all means, feel free to take as many prescription drugs as you please. Genuflect reverently to your friendly GP who’s ready to pen that prescription quicker than you can say ‘quick draw McGraw’ if the mood takes you. ‘Knock yourself out’ in the numerous pharmacies if you feel the need, but let me say one thing – Don’t ever say that I didn’t warn you. I’m not at all adverse to saying ‘I told you so’!