In March 2004 the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) issued a Public Health Advisory about the use of anti depressants by children, adolescents and adults. The FDA required drug makers to add a warning label to the anti depressant drugs. The label recommends adults, pediatric and specifically young adults ages 18 to 24, taking these medications for depression, are observed closely for worsening depressions or signs of suicide.
Drugs at the focal point of this warning are: Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Serzone, Remeron and their generics. Other serious side effects have been associated with these drugs, such as; anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, mania and impulsivity.
These behaviors are identical to the behavior of a person under the influence of PCP or methamphetamine; which are drugs known to cause aggression and violence. These drugs cause similar side effects because of how they impact serotonin levels which are neurotransmitters in the brain.
There have been several young adults who have committed heinous and gruesome crimes while they were taking prescription anti-depressant medications. The teenage shooter Eric Harris was taking the antidepressant Luvox, at the time of the mass murder that he and Dylan Klebold committed at the Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
Although Dylan Klebold files are sealed there are reports that he was also taking Paxil and Zoloft, when the two teenagers opened fire, killing 12 students, 1 teacher and wounding 25 others before they killed themselves. Luvox and Paxil have been listed on the Top 10 list of the most violence-inducing prescription drugs that was in a report from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
The report was based on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System. Most of the drugs on the list are antidepressants, but others included are an insomnia medication, an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug, a malaria drug and an anti-smoking medication. A 12 year old boy named Christopher Pittman fatally shot both of his grandparents before setting their house on fire while he was under the influence of antidepressant drugs.
In an institutional facility for troubled children Pittman was prescribed Paxil for mild depression. He was taken to his grandparent’s house after his family removed him from the facility and his new doctor immediately prescribed him Zoloft and took him off Paxil without a weaning process. Pittman complained of side effects such as; burning under his skin and difficulty sleeping.
The doctor doubled his dose of Zoloft instead of removing him from the medication and five days later he committed the murder of his grandparents. It is difficult to determine the rate that the antidepressants can cause uncommon tragedies, like suicide and/or murder. But we do know that they cause stimulant effects like irritability and agitation in a large number of patients. There are also risks to stopping antidepressants without weaning off of them first. They can cause withdrawal symptoms that can last for weeks or more, causing the patient to be depressed, violent, irritable and suicidal. Fortunately there are natural alternatives to antidepressants that are effective and safe and they do not cause terrible side effects.
Natural Alternatives To Antidepressants
One of the most important factors to consider when a person is depressed is a healthy diet that is high in healthy fats; such as coconut oil, fatty oily fish, olive oil, avocados, almonds, walnuts, eggs, and flaxseeds. These healthy fats can help raise serotonin levels naturally.
Wild salmon, sardines and herring are all rich in fatty oils that contain essential fats like EPA and DHA. These fats have been shown to level mood swings of those suffering from bipolar disorder and to ease the symptoms of depression. It is important to eat a diet that contains all of the necessary amounts of dietary protein in order to maintain a positive mental attitude.
If you do not have enough tryptophan, an essential amino acid, your brain serotonin levels will decrease. When you consume foods with a protein source containing tryptophan and a small amount of carbohydrates, the amino acids except for the tryptophan are cleared from the blood stream leaving the tryptophan free to cross the blood brain barrier and then form serotonin.
We begin to produce melatonin which is a crucial hormone for sleep, when darkness hits our eyes at night. This hormone tells your adrenal glands to produce DHEA, one of the master hormones of the body. Drinking chamomile tea can help relax your mind and body so that you can fall asleep easier, since depression can also cause sleeping disorders. Melotonin is also important to help you sleep at night and getting a good night sleep is important for your body to function properly.
Instead of drinking coffee in the morning, drinking green tea can help improve your moods because of the L-theanine. It works synergistically with the caffeine to help boost your mood and you will not have the crash-effect like you would with coffee or energy drinks. It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to reduce stress and improve dopamine levels. There are a wide variety of supplements that can help improve the symptoms of depression.
A popular supplement used for depression is St. Johns Wart which is an herbaceous plant/shrub. It has yellow flowers and is considered to be a weed in most of the United States. But it has been used medicinally in other parts of the world for thousands of years.
There are quite a few components of St. Johns Wart that may contribute to the antidepressant effects. Hypercin is the most well-known because it affects various neurotransmitters and helps raise serotonin levels. St. Johns Wart can interact with other medications and cause negative side effects, it is important to discuss all supplements with your physician.
Serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine levels are boosted by vitamin B and the chemicals it produces in the brain. Fish, especially mackerel are very high in vitamin B. Magnesium is a very important mineral that our bodies need to obtain through our diet. Magnesium works with over 300 enzyme systems that help regulate a high amount of biomechanical tasks in the body.
Without magnesium the chemicals in our brain are unstable, our heart beat can be irregular and we are unable to produce energy. The bodies’ major minerals like calcium, potassium and sodium depend on magnesium being present in order to function properly. If you have a slight magnesium deficiency you will notice a lack of well-being and a slight depression. If you have an extreme magnesium deficiency you can get headaches, back pain, stiffness and tight muscles. You can start feeling nervous or anxious and have trouble sleeping. Taking a magnesium supplement or eating a diet rich in magnesium can help improve depression and anxiety. Dealing with depression doesn’t have to come in a prescription bottle, it takes a lot of work but you can cure your depression naturally without the terrible side effects.
Sometimes the side effects of medications prescribed to help treat depression can be worse than the symptoms of the depression itself. Some side effects of antidepressants are constipation, difficulty urinating, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss,weight gain insomnia, headaches, sexual problems and high blood pressure.
Medical cannabis can be used to treat depression without the side effects. People have been using medical cannabis for centuries to treat depression. There are several inconsistent scientific studies about using cannabis for depression. Just like the benefits of prescription medications vary from person to person, some may work for one but not for others. Medical cannabis may not work for everyone.
Low to moderate doses of medical cannabis are to be used to help combat depression. Using medical cannabis along with other treatments, such as; therapy or counseling, exercise and a healthy diet can help improve results. The active ingredient in the cannabis plant, THC, increases serotonin levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that regulates our moods, when it is smoked at low doses. This is similar to the effects achieved by taking antidepressants like Prozac but without the unwanted side effects.
There are several ways to consume medical cannabis and they may have a different effect on the body and brain. The intoxicating effects of the plant are what are believed to reduce the symptoms of depression because of the chemical similarity of cannabis and the natural chemicals in the brain, which are called endo-cannabinoids.
The body releases these substances when it experiences stressful situations or pain. Structures in the brain known as cannabinoid CB1 receptors utilize endo-cannabinoids and are able to interact with the brain. Medical cannabis has the potential to be an effective treatment for depression but the dose needs to be monitored closely and combined with other natural treatments to be successful.
It is important to consult your physician when you are planning to take any kind of supplements to help combat depression. If you research and write out a plan to follow that fits your lifestyle, all natural supplements can help you overcome symptoms of depression and enhance your quality of life.