The Long-Term Effects of Antidepressants on the Brain

Are you one of the many people who take antidepressants to feel better?

A recent article showed that 1 in 6 Americans take psychiatric drugs and that 12% of US population take antidepressants.

Antidepressants can help people feel better but there are long term side effects that are troublesome.

The most common type of antidepressant in use these days is a SSRI which inhibits the reuptake of serotonin. This increases the amount of serotonin in your nervous system so it can work to make your body feel content. 

Man walking from a dull floating stone to a vibrant floating stone via a rope bridge.

However, research conducted by Dr. Horowitz shows that the brain adapts to the presence of the drug, making it less sensitive to serotonin.

This process of the brain returning to normal can take up to nine months on average, and even years for some depending on how long they’ve been on the medication. This can result in physical side effects like dizziness, fatigue, and headaches, or mental symptoms like anxiety, depressed mood, or irritability.

My Client’s Journey:
Overcoming Depression Without Antidepressants

I had a client who had suffered from lifelong depression and tried different therapies like antidepressants, 5 HTP (a precursor of serotonin), light therapy, TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation), and hormone replacement therapy with only temporary relief. Upon treating her, I realized that the depression had affected her entire body. In addition, she was sensitive to the environment, the energy flow through her muscles had been changed for the worse, and the depression was stuck in her body. We co-treated these issues over the years, and 2.5 years after she began treatment, she started decreasing her antidepressants as she felt the depression had finally lifted. Her health issues weren’t related to the need for medication but rather needed to be addressed through a methodical approach to improve her mind and body. Going off antidepressants is a slow process as the body gets used to it. It’s not recommended to stop medication quickly, probably not within several weeks as is commonly recommended. The longer a person is on the medication, the more the brain has adapted to the medication. As the dosage decreases over time, the brain responds to the lower doses very sensitively so when the medication gets to these lower doses is when the antidepressant weaning process gets trickier.

The Power of Talk Therpay:
A Vital Component in Treating Depression

Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, can be a powerful addition to treating depression and should be considered as an adjunct to the other methods discussed. It is a powerful tool that addresses the root causes of depression. In addition, talk therapy allows individuals to process their emotions, explore their thoughts, and gain insight into their behavior, which can lead to long-term healing. Talk therapy can also helps individuals develop coping strategies, improve communication skills, and strengthen their support system. By combining these techniques with the holistic approaches described above, individuals can achieve a comprehensive, well-rounded treatment plan that addresses all aspects of their mental and physical health.

Addressing the Root Causes of Depression Holistically

If you’re interested in natural therapies for depression or want to stop using antidepressants with medical assistance, it’s crucial to address the underlying issues affecting your mind and body first. At my practice, we use a methodical approach to address the root causes of depression and provide natural therapies to help our patients. For new patients, you can book a 15-minute intro visit using the button below to discuss how we can help you address your depression and find a path to wellness.

If you’re an existing patient, you can contact me via the Charm portal.

Dr. Richard Chen

To your health!

Dr. Richard Chen
Focused Wellness Author,
A New Way to Health: Wheel of Health
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