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Isn’t There A Happy Pill That Will Make Everything Better?

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

Depression is something that many people in our society face. Especially now days when people are unhappy with their weight, unhappy with their jobs, unhappy with their relationships and are losing all their savings in the stock market. Many people think that getting a prescription for an anti-depressant will make everything better but I think you should understand how they work before you decide to put a “happy pill band-aid” on your life.

The first thing you need to know is that Neurotransmitters are chemicals that our cells use to communicate with one another. Serotonin is a specific neurotransmitter that is involved in mental states such as aggression, pain, sleep, appetite, anxiety, depression and migraines.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are one class of anti-depressants that include such medications as Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft just to name a few of the most popular.

Understanding how SSRIs work will be easier if you can understand the process by which messages are communicated in the Central Nervous System: (I have put emphasis on “PRE” and “POST” just to make it easier to read)

a. PREsynaptic cells (the cells that SEND messages) release serotonin (their message to be communicated) into a small gap called a synapse that lies between the PREsynaptic and the POSTsynaptic nerve cells (the cells that RECEIVE the message and pass it along).
b. The Serotonin binds with the POSTsynaptic cell which stimulates that cell to relay the message (i.e. to be happy).

If the POSTsynaptic cell does not bind and become stimulated by the serotonin then it will not relay the necessary messages and the serotonin will be reabsorbed by the PREsynaptic nerve cell. SSRIs prevent the reuptake or re-absorption of serotonin into the PREsynaptic cell thereby allowing more serotonin to remain in the synapse for longer. This gives the Seratonin more time to bind with and stimulate the POSTsynaptic cell so that the message to “be happy” is more likely to work.

SSRIs are prescribed to people that have been diagnosed with depression but can have many side effects such as:
Anhedonia, Apathy, Nausea, Drowsiness, Headache, Clenching of teeth, Extremely vivid and strange dreams, Dizziness, Changes in appetite, Weight loss/gain, Higher risk of bone fractures and injuries, Changes in sexual behaviour, Increased feelings of depression and anxiety (which may sometimes provoke panic attacks), Tremors, Autonomic dysfunction, Akathisia, Liver or renal impairment, Thoughts of suicide, Photosensitivity and Sexual Dysfunction.

The other type of Antidepressant is a Monamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI).

Monoamine Oxidase is an enzyme in our brains which helps to break down the serotonin that is not being used. MAOIs work by preventing this enzyme from breaking down the serotonin at the synaptic cleft. They essentially serve the same function as an SSRI but just go about it in a different way.

SSRIs are usually not prescribed alongside MAOIs due to the possibility of ‘Serotonin Sydrome’ which can be described as an overabundance of serotonin in the Central Nervous System. You are effectively poisoned by too much serotonin. An increase in the availability of serotonin due to SSRIs along with the inability to break down the existing serotonin due to MAOIs can result in symptoms as mild as shivering to severe symptoms such as hypertension and tachycardia that can lead to shock. Diagnosing Serotonin Syndrome can only be done through observation of symptoms and the patient’s history as there are no lab tests that can be performed.

Something to consider before taking anti-depressants is that they have been linked to accelerated aging and wrinkles.

There are also herbs that work in a similar manner as anti-depressants but with less side affects usually. St. Johns Wort is probably one of the most popular of these herbs and operates much like an SSRI but is known for having far fewer dangerous side effects. Vitamin D has also been linked to depression and most commonly with Seasonal Affective Disorder so optimizing your Vitamin D levels can make a huge difference. Read how important Vitamin D is here:
http://wisdomthatheals.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/vitamin-d-a-true-hero-in-the-nut

Exercise also helps to release endorphins which can be mood elevators not to mention it could help to solve the possible cause of your depression rather than just putting a bandaid on the symptom if you are depressed due to your weight. There are also essential oils that can be uplifting such as Bergamont, Clary Sage, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose and Ylang Ylang among others. You can read about how aromatherapy works here:
http://wisdomthatheals.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/an-introduction-to-smell-and-why

The most important thing that you have to remember is that your diet has an extreme influence on your body physiology. The bottom line is that if you eat crap then you will feel like crap. Supplying your body with plenty of healthy, high quality food and nutrients will allow your body to function at its optimum. I highly recommend that you take a good look at your diet and lifestyle before you decide to run to your doctor and demand a prescription.

- For Educational Purposes Only
- Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
- These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor
Accessed 12/02/2008
2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin_syndrome
Accessed 12/02/2008
3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoamine_oxidase_inhibitor
Accessed 12/02/08
4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Johns_Wort
Accessed 12/02/08
5)
Accessed: 03/24/09, Author: Dr. Joseph Mercola
6)

Accessed: 03/24/09, Author: Dr. Joseph Mercola
7)
http://www.naturalnews.com/025840.html
Accessed: 03/24/09, Author: Dr. Julian Whitaker, MD
8) http://www.herbalremediesinfo.com/essential_oils.html
Accessed 03/24/09
9)
Accessed 04/14/09, Author: David Gutierrez

Depression is something that many people in our society face. Especially now days when people are unhappy with their weight, unhappy with their jobs, unhappy with their relationships and are losing all their savings in the stock market. Many people think that getting a prescription for an anti-depressant will make everything better but I think you should understand how they work before you decide to put a “happy pill band-aid” on your life.

The first thing you need to know is that Neurotransmitters are chemicals that our cells use to communicate with one another. Serotonin is a specific neurotransmitter that is involved in mental states such as aggression, pain, sleep, appetite, anxiety, depression and migraines.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are one class of anti-depressants that include such medications as Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft just to name a few of the most popular.

Understanding how SSRIs work will be easier if you can understand the process by which messages are communicated in the Central Nervous System: (I have put emphasis on “PRE” and “POST” just to make it easier to read)

a. PREsynaptic cells (the cells that SEND messages) release serotonin (their message to be communicated) into a small gap called a synapse that lies between the PREsynaptic and the POSTsynaptic nerve cells (the cells that RECEIVE the message and pass it along).
b. The Serotonin binds with the POSTsynaptic cell which stimulates that cell to relay the message (i.e. to be happy).

If the POSTsynaptic cell does not bind and become stimulated by the serotonin then it will not relay the necessary messages and the serotonin will be reabsorbed by the PREsynaptic nerve cell. SSRIs prevent the reuptake or re-absorption of serotonin into the PREsynaptic cell thereby allowing more serotonin to remain in the synapse for longer. This gives the Seratonin more time to bind with and stimulate the POSTsynaptic cell so that the message to “be happy” is more likely to work.

SSRIs are prescribed to people that have been diagnosed with depression but can have many side effects such as:
Anhedonia, Apathy, Nausea, Drowsiness, Headache, Clenching of teeth, Extremely vivid and strange dreams, Dizziness, Changes in appetite, Weight loss/gain, Higher risk of bone fractures and injuries, Changes in sexual behaviour, Increased feelings of depression and anxiety (which may sometimes provoke panic attacks), Tremors, Autonomic dysfunction, Akathisia, Liver or renal impairment, Thoughts of suicide, Photosensitivity and Sexual Dysfunction.

The other type of Antidepressant is a Monamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI).

Monoamine Oxidase is an enzyme in our brains which helps to break down the serotonin that is not being used. MAOIs work by preventing this enzyme from breaking down the serotonin at the synaptic cleft. They essentially serve the same function as an SSRI but just go about it in a different way.

SSRIs are usually not prescribed alongside MAOIs due to the possibility of ‘Serotonin Sydrome’ which can be described as an overabundance of serotonin in the Central Nervous System. You are effectively poisoned by too much serotonin. An increase in the availability of serotonin due to SSRIs along with the inability to break down the existing serotonin due to MAOIs can result in symptoms as mild as shivering to severe symptoms such as hypertension and tachycardia that can lead to shock. Diagnosing Serotonin Syndrome can only be done through observation of symptoms and the patient’s history as there are no lab tests that can be performed.

Something to consider before taking anti-depressants is that they have been linked to accelerated aging and wrinkles.

There are also herbs that work in a similar manner as anti-depressants but with less side affects usually. St. Johns Wort is probably one of the most popular of these herbs and operates much like an SSRI but is known for having far fewer dangerous side effects. Vitamin D has also been linked to depression and most commonly with Seasonal Affective Disorder so optimizing your Vitamin D levels can make a huge difference. Read how important Vitamin D is here:
http://wisdomthatheals.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/vitamin-d-a-true-hero-in-the-nut

Exercise also helps to release endorphins which can be mood elevators not to mention it could help to solve the possible cause of your depression rather than just putting a bandaid on the symptom if you are depressed due to your weight. There are also essential oils that can be uplifting such as Bergamont, Clary Sage, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose and Ylang Ylang among others. You can read about how aromatherapy works here:
http://wisdomthatheals.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/an-introduction-to-smell-and-why

The most important thing that you have to remember is that your diet has an extreme influence on your body physiology. The bottom line is that if you eat crap then you will feel like crap. Supplying your body with plenty of healthy, high quality food and nutrients will allow your body to function at its optimum. I highly recommend that you take a good look at your diet and lifestyle before you decide to run to your doctor and demand a prescription.

- For Educational Purposes Only
- Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
- These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor
Accessed 12/02/2008
2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin_syndrome
Accessed 12/02/2008
3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoamine_oxidase_inhibitor
Accessed 12/02/08
4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Johns_Wort
Accessed 12/02/08
5)
Accessed: 03/24/09, Author: Dr. Joseph Mercola
6)

Accessed: 03/24/09, Author: Dr. Joseph Mercola
7)
http://www.naturalnews.com/025840.html
Accessed: 03/24/09, Author: Dr. Julian Whitaker, MD
8) http://www.herbalremediesinfo.com/essential_oils.html
Accessed 03/24/09
9)
Accessed 04/14/09, Author: David Gutierrez

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