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Three Cheers for SSRIs

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When Prozac first hit the market in 1988 people were frightened of it. TV talk show hosts like Phil Donahue dedicated entire episodes to the new antidepressant claiming the drug caused people to do crazy things like put their babies in the oven or try to commit suicide.

Once the negative exposure surrounding the Vista Lab drug died down people quickly learned that Prozac was good news. The SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) antidepressant was the biggest thing to happen in psychiatric pharmacology since the advent of antidepressants in the 1960’s that included drugs like Elavil and Anafranil.

Prozac’s function involves balancing levels of Serotonin in patient’s brains thereby improving moods for many. It didn’t take long before millions of Americans went on the drug, some with tremendous results. In the years that followed, other SSRI’s were developed including Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro and others, and have met with great success for many.

There is a reason why these pharmaceutical companies are doing so well selling these drugs. It’s because they work and today 11% of the population in the United States takes the drug regularly. The vast majority of patients taking Prozac agree that taking a chemical to improve their quality of life is worth it.

Depression, sleepiness or insomnia, unexplained aches and pains, fatigue, loss of interest in doing things a person used to love are all signs of a possible brain chemistry imbalance. Anyone with these symptoms would be remiss not to ask their doctor about antidepressants. In addition the drug can be prescribed for post partum depression and PMS.

Add a Comment42 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I'm pretty appalled that this site would allow someone with such a biased opinion to write an article like this. You have several people on here writing that they have had bad experiences--VERY bad experiences clearly as a result of the drugs and you are refusing to even acknowledge it. It's not that we don't want to try them. It's that we did try them. I was on various SSRIs for ten years and was repeatedly hospitalized as a result.

I had never had health problems other than occasional sinus infections or migraines until I started on antidepressants because the doctor thought I would benefit from the side effect of increased appetite.

I attempted suicide twice and had horrible panic attacks, nightmares, lung problems, heart problems, ulcers, high blood pressure, high blood sugar. I had been an athlete, and suddenly couldn't run at all. Your failure to even acknowledge these horrible side effects smacks of rationalization. It wasn't until I lost a second job because I couldn't concentrate and ended up in the hospital with suicidal thoughts once again, that the doctors decided the medications were causing the suicidal behavior.

I do have degrees in psychology, social work, and a JD. I am not uneducated and "weak minded." All the suicidal impulses went away once the withdrawal subsided. These medications are dangerous.

April 26, 2009 - 4:23pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Maybe the people who are on here who have had bad experiences, and who seem like they only want to argue with someone for lack of something better to do with their lives, belong in a support group and not this discussion forum.

BTW - for someone who has a degree in psychology you're pretty harsh. I mentioned twice already that Teri is "unwilling to acknowledge" and yet you seem unwilling to acknowledge the fact that these drugs do in fact help people as well.

April 27, 2009 - 9:47am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am not the person you were responding to but I would like to point out that it would be obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that a degree in psychology does not hold a candle to the obvious hell she experienced on these drugs.

But those on the drugs cannot help it. These drugs should have been classified "dissociative anesthetics" rather than "antidepressants" because they literally anesthetize you - one of the reasons you will here them speak of antidepressants producing genital anesthesia, but that is NOT the only area of the body that can feel nothing. Many come off the drugs due to that inability to feel and react quickly. They realize that in a serious situation that could prove fatal for one of their children or anyone else counting on them. [That aspect is REALLY frightening when you know how many doctors and nurses are on these drugs!!!] Others begin cutting themselves to see if they "can still feel anything." Anyway that is the reason it takes a LOT to wake someone on the drugs up before their own sad and tragic experience does that for them - if they survive that experience. Dr Tracy

April 28, 2009 - 3:44pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I had just the opposite experience. Before Prozac I had anxiety, nightmares, phobias, depression, I was always suicidal and tired and got sick often. I did a complete turn around once I started taking it. I embraced life, set goals and reached them, became a better mother, got into the best health of my life and learned to laugh again.
I'll say it again - everyone is different. That's why there's chocolate and vanilla.

April 26, 2009 - 6:08pm
EmpowHER Guest

I don't call being on a mind altering drug for 10 years research anymore than I would take the word of a 10 year cocaine user. To see what your 10 years of feeling good has cost others go to www.ssristories.com and take a look. Not one of those tragedies was worth having this drug on the market just so that you could feel good when you had alternatives you could have used instead.

Dr. Tracy

April 26, 2009 - 6:02am
(reply to Anonymous)

Dr. Tracy - please don't think that because there's a "Dr." attached to your name that I will immediately roll over and cave. I understand that some people don't want to try the SSRI's and that's fine. But some of us who got their lives back thanks to the drug and you have no chance of changing my mind. I don't care how many "stories" you send me. Life is short. I feel good.
Let's agree to disagree.

April 26, 2009 - 11:57am

you want research? How about this? I've been on Prozac for over 10 years and have never felt better. As I have said - everyone if different. It changed my life. I don't want to be in a world without it.
But to each his or her own.

April 26, 2009 - 4:39am
EmpowHER Guest

teri teri these drugs are dangerous.
Do some real research before writing something like this

April 25, 2009 - 9:14pm
EmpowHER Guest

On SSRI Stories, the drugs are changing the known ratio of men to women who are committing completed murder-suicides.

I started with 189 completed murder-suicides - 55 by women and 134 by men appearing on SSRI Stories. In order to compare these numbers, I must scale them to account for the fact that women are two and one-half times more likely in the general population to be taking an antidepressant.

So I took the number 55 [women an antidepressants] and scaled it to account for this additional two and one-half times [more women an antidepressants] and came up with the number 22. Thus, after the scaling, I ended up with 22 women and 134 men for a total of 156. Looking at 22 women out of 156 people, I get 14.1 percent. But I would have expected, in the general population, to have only 5 percent [ because I have already scaled ] of women committing these completed murder -suicides. The 5% figure comes from a study of the year 2007 [ six months of records nationwide for completed murder-suicides]. http://www.tcfv.org/tcfv-content/new-study-on-murder-suicide-cases/

Thus, I have concluded that women are almost three times as likely [14.1% vs. 5%] to commit a completed murder-suicide using the SSRIs as are men.
Another way to read this: one out of seven committing completed murder-suicides are women and one out of 20 are men. This is almost three times as many women as men. [7 X 3 = 21]

Of course, SSRI Stories has only changed the ratio. It could be argued that men and woman, both being members of the human race, are equally likely to be effected adversely by SSRIs. Therefore, the men are committing almost three more murder-suicides than they used to commit. If this is true, statistics would show us that there are almost three times more murder-suicides than there were before 1990 [when Prozac came into wide acceptance].

There could be the counter argument that men were less likely to commit a completed murder-suicide because they were on an antidepressant. But if this is true, then we would see a reduction in murder-suicides since 1990 when Prozac gained wide use.

I take sole responsibility both for the math and for what I have concluded here. It is late on Friday afternoon, so there could be errors.

April 24, 2009 - 2:59pm
EmpowHER Guest

oh along with being a social worker I am a survivor of being over drugged...I know this story from both sides of the fence.

I worked with over-medicated individuals for 12 years while I was one.


April 24, 2009 - 1:55pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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