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Still depressed on antidepressants?
And what Picasso has to say
Well, hello, everyone. I took a little break to get my life rearranged. I downsized and reorganized. With a smaller footprint on the world, will I feel better about my impact on it? Or just better about saving money? Or better because I created a project for myself? Ha! Ask me another time. I am still enjoying the excitement of newness. 😉
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As someone playing in the mental health field, I lean heavily on science. I don’t prescribe medications, but I often worry that others do it too easily. Case in point - antidepressants. Millions of people all over the world rely on them. Here’s a list of the OECD countries (38 nations), of which Iceland, Australia, Portugal, The United Kingdom, and Canada hold the top five spots. In the US, about 17 million people depend on them, and about 17% of the college population uses them. (As per the CDC, 2018).
If you are on one of these medications, you are taking an SSRI medication to treat depression (or an anxiety disorder).
Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) treat depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters that carry signals between brain nerve cells (neurons).
SSRIs block the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin into neurons. This makes more of it available to improve transmission of messages between neurons. SSRIs are called “selective” because they mainly affect serotonin, not other neurotransmitters.
Here’s a whole thing on SSRIs from the Mayo Clinic, side effects and all…
Your doctor probably told you that you would get better and about 60% of people who do get the medications do report feeling better. How much better? I don’t know. There’s the placebo effect so things can get tricky.
But now, scientists tell us that it was all bad science.
After decades of research, there remains no clear evidence that serotonin levels or serotonin activity are responsible for depression, according to a comprehensive review of prior research led by University College London (UCL) scientists.
The researchers further say,
These studies also looked at the effects of stressful life events and found that these exerted a strong effect on people’s risk of becoming depressed – the more stressful life events a person had experienced, the more likely they were to be depressed.
Read the whole story HERE
I suppose no one needs science to know that when your life sucks, you won’t feel good. But it’s nice to know that the data supports it.
The question that comes to mind is, how will anyone feel better, with or without a pill, if their life continues to suck? But before I indulge in further sarcasm, I better make another point.
It looks like science failed us. But it also looks like science saved us.
In other words, this is how science works. First, it makes a discovery and runs with it. Later it finds better evidence and revises itself. People get mad when they should be happy. What other institution on Earth do you know that willingly corrects itself in the name of betterment? I mean “willingly and by its own volition.”
So, now we know,
One interesting aspect in the studies we examined was how strong an effect adverse life events played in depression, suggesting low mood is a response to people’s lives and cannot be boiled down to a simple chemical equation.
Perhaps, we need to give people tools, not just pills. We need tools for functioning in a complex social environment, for solving problems, navigating different life stages, relationship challenges, economic uncertainty, and building emotional resilience.
It turns out that nothing can replace robust personal development.
At the same time, I’d like to caution that just because the link between serotonin and depression has failed, it does not automatically mean that there are zero neurological explanations for clinical depression or other mental illnesses and mood disorders.
If one is to accept brain plasticity as a real thing, then traumatic and stressful events would shape the brain for various dysfunctions, which become neurologically supported. That’s in addition to genetics.
Basically, when it comes to the human CPU, things get very complicated. We need to be thoughtful and compassionate, not critical and dismissive of people’s experiences and the various afflictions they struggle with. It’s tempting to say, “Suck it up, Buttercup,” but how about we step back and remember that we don’t know everything just yet.
Plenty of psychiatric interventions do work. If you ever had the misfortune of knowing someone on and off their meds, people who are psychotic, suffering from severe PTSD, OCD, or schizophrenia, you’d be very appreciative of the science behind the meds.
So, onward and forward with a better scientific understanding!
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And a short video about the future of young generations…
My favorite quotes by Pablo Picasso
Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
Thanks for reading. Stay connected. Comment and share!