Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Getting Rid of the "Happy" Pill


If based on personal experience alone, I wouldn't recommend anyone going on any kind of prescription antidepressants.  More than a decade ago, I had symptoms of depression that just didn't seem to go away.  A physician assistant I worked with prescribed some antidepressants for me to try and I ended up feeling "weirded out" - like my body and brain were completely separate from one another.  I could not stop rocking myself back and forth.  It was scary.  Of course, I discontinued taking the pills after that bout.  I was given another brand to try later and experienced just as bad of a reaction.  I decided "no more".  I'd just deal with it.

Many years later, in what could probably have been classified as a postpartum depression, I was prescribed another antidepressant, a newer one that I'd never tried before.  That experience was even scarier that before.  I literally felt like I was going to jump out of my body.  I had to dial 911 to get paramedics over to help me and reverse this reaction.


Now all this happened before the Internet became a vast resource of alternative health information.  I didn't know much about alternative health care or natural health and wellness sources at the time and was still stuck in the mindset that if something's not how we want it, we go to the doctor and get a pill.  Now I know that there are many other ways to "teach" your body to work the way nature intended.  Such is the case with depression.

Perhaps my case was not so severe that I didn't really need a pill to cure it.  And I certainly can't speak for everyone who has been diagnosed with it. But the question is, do we really need a pill to treat it?  How bad is bad?  I mean, the doctors that prescribed them for me (and for many others I know) didn't even order bloodwork before prescibing the "happy" pill.  Based on symptoms I described, they just decided I fit into the profile of clinically depressed people.


As I look back at my earliest bout with depression, I realize that there were outside causes for those feelings.  For one, I was struggling financially.  I had moved to a new state and could not find full-time work for a long time.  I was also living in an environment I was not used to.  From living in a sunny Honolulu city apartment with an active nightlife, I was now living in Florida, in a trailer, surrounded by mostly retirees, and far from young adult activity that I was used to.  That was enough to damper my spirits, especially not knowing how long my life was going to be that way.


How many other cases of depression are there out there that could've been dealt with by recognizing the "outside" causes and working around them instead of automatically prescribing a "happy" pill which so seriously alters the brain activity (as I experienced right away in my cases) that coming off the prescriptions causes severe withdrawal symptoms?  Worse than that, how about all the serious side effects you hear about in their commercials?  Sometimes the side effects seem more dangerous than the "cure" itself!

Before deciding to seek a prescription "happy" pill, I would recommend trying a few things first. 

For one, eliminate junk food from your diet.  They contain so many unhealthy chemicals and ingredients that can really throw your body's natural balance out of whack.  Next, modify your diet to include more of the natural fruits, vegetables, or legumes that help increase serotonin in the brain. 



And finally, do the things that make you happy, including getting more exercise and smiling.  Good luck to you!


***Hannah Daniels***

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