A few years ago, a good friend of mine, Mar, went to see her doctor about her lack of energy, motivation and generally feeling down. After a few standard tests, she was pronounced “well” and given some “mood support”. The mood support was a common anti depressant (an SSRI, that works with serotonin in the body).
Mar friend stayed on antidepressants for three years. The type of antidepressant was changed once and the dose was increased twice. She only experienced a couple of the many possible adverse reactions. She never got happier and her fatigue worsened.
I used to just shake my head at her and she would give me the Hawaiian happy sign.
One day she arrived on my doorstep saying that she had had enough. She wasn’t feeling any happier, her energy and motivation were shot, but was too scared to come off the drugs, out of fear of what might happen.
We started with an education program:
- Depression is the leading cause of disability.
- After six decades of testing, the use of SSRIs has not been explained or validated.
- The urgency with putting patients on a SSRI for their safety is flawed, because it takes about 6 weeks to have an effect in the body. Think about that, if the SSRI is blocking serotonin from being conserved, then surely it should work immediately.
- If low serotonin is the cause of depression, then why is it that when serotonin is artificially depleted in the brain, it does not lead to depression in normal people? But wait, it does precisely this in people who have taken SSRIs.
- There is more evidence that high serotonin levels lead to depression than low levels.
- Several studies have looked at the effects of SSRIs compared to placebo (sugar pills). Between 75% and 80% of the positive results were attributable to the placebo effect (believing that something will happen) or the impact of time on the condition.
After the education, came the hard work.
The tests showed that Mar’s neurotransmitters were out of balance. She had high levels of inflammation; high levels of homocysteine (a key measurement of something called methylation), low blood sugar and her cortisol readings were out of whack (this is a hormone produced by the adrenals and a key to how the body handles stress and inflammation). Mar also had a less than desirable lifestyle and diet.
We implemented some major changes in her diet and lifestyle and introduced key supplements.