Before you swallow the “pill of happiness,” it is essential that you are aware of the negative side effects of antidepressants and that you are aware of the medical, legal, and ethical problems posed by antidepressants.

Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs for people aged 18 to 44 and the third most common medication in the population.

They are not just given to the depressed. People suffering from anxiety, chronic pain, fatigue, and people in mourning or having suffered emotional shocks, victims of bipolar disorder and appetite disorders are too often put on antidepressants.

15 million boxes are prescribed each year in France. [1] However, a study just published indicates that people on antidepressants have a risk of premature death that rises by 33%. [2]Negative Side Effects of Antidepressants

Negative Side Effects of Antidepressants

1 – How Antidepressants Work

Antidepressants have not been invented to treat depression.

Scientists found in the 1940s and 1950s that some drugs (originally antihistamines) changed the behavior of stressed animals. It was only years later that they were baptized by the antidepressant media.

Most antidepressants alter the production of serotonin, a major chemical. Antidepressants launched in the 1980s (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) are also called “SSRIs”, that is to say, “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors”.

This means, in plain language, that they prevent the brain from reabsorbing the serotonin it produces. They theoretically maintain a higher level of serotonin between neurons.

Serotonin is found in our brain but also in abundance in other parts of the body, especially the intestines and blood platelets (hence the digestive problems and hemorrhages sometimes triggered by antidepressants).

In the brain, serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter:

It means that it allows neurons to communicate with each other, to dispense with nerve messages. It allows the proper training and transmission of thoughts, information, orders to the muscles and organs of the body.

Disrupting the mechanism of serotonin triggers chain reactions. At first, antidepressants raise serotonin levels in synapses (points of communication between neurons). But the synapses do not remain without reacting. Faced with this artificial increase in the level of serotonin, they reduce their sensitivity to serotonin. Then, after about eight weeks, having largely lost their sensitivity, they begin to produce serotonin in a disordered manner, in much greater quantities. A real disturbance of the brain occurs, which many patients will never manage to escape.

This is the reason why these drugs are deeply addictive. After a first “treatment” with SSRIs, many patients have disturbed serotonin metabolism. All their life, they fall back into depression. Doctors, who realize that the first drug no longer works, will try other “molecules” that, after a short-term improvement, will, in turn, cause other disturbances that depress the patient in an emotional imbalance and dependence stronger.

And unfortunately, the role of serotonin does not stop there. It does not intervene only in the brain!

• Serotonin affects many vital functions

Serotonin regulates many vital functions throughout the body such as the maturation and death of nerve cells, digestion, [3] blood clotting, [4] reproductive functions, [5] muscle movements.

However, antidepressants are almost always taken in oral form (by mouth, in tablets, or pills). They enter the blood and are therefore spread throughout the body, not just in the brain.

They interfere with the serotonin receptors found in the intestines, muscles, sexual organs, blood platelets (cells that allow blood to clot).

It is therefore not surprising that people who take antidepressants suffer a loss of desire, digestive problems, hemorrhages, which should not be considered as accidents but rather as normal negative side effects of antidepressants.

The wall of the intestine is rich in serotonin, recent studies show that 14 to 23% of people who take antidepressants suffer from diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, abdominal pain, headaches…

The most prescribed anti-depressants – Celexa, Effexor, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft – multiply sexual dysfunction by six, and have a negative impact on feelings (decreased love sentiment).

And we will see in the following many other negative side effects of antidepressants.

2 – The Positive Effect of Antidepressants Is Close to the Placebo Effect

Most patients report improving moods during the first 6 to 8 weeks of treatment with antidepressants.

However, studies have shown that this improvement is also found, up to 80%, in people taking a simple placebo (fake medicine). [6]

Antidepressants seem to have a real effect, albeit modest.

However, after 8 weeks, the brain adapts to the effect of antidepressants. After several months, it is common that the depression returns in force and the drugs are then completely inoperative.

3 – Risk of Relapse Increased When Stopping Treatment

Antidepressants disrupt the mechanisms of serotonin. When you stop treatment, it is common for neurons to fail to return to normal functioning. They have been “desensitized” to serotonin, now produced anarchically in synapses.

This explains why 43% of people who discontinue antidepressant SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) again fall into depression, compared to 21% of those taking a placebo. [7]

4 – Antidepressants Cause Brain Damage to Rodents and Repetitive Involuntary Movements in Humans

Antidepressants can kill neurons. They cause structural damage similar to Parkinson’s disease and can cause a terrible disease, tardive dyskinesia.

Tardive dyskinesia is a technical name for a problem we all know: it is these people who have involuntary mechanical movements of the face, especially entering and leaving the tongue of the mouth.

We often see people who suffer from this in retirement homes. We imagine that it is a mental illness or an age-related problem. In fact, it is most often the effect of psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants [8] (and not only neuroleptics as many doctors think).

5 – Antidepressants Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer

“Something bad is good”: this could be the motto of doctors who, having found that antidepressants destroy neurons, wondered if, as a result, they would not have a protective effect against brain cancer (since cancer is a proliferation of brain cells).

Research is therefore underway to verify this possibility, which has not been confirmed to date but is theoretically possible. [9]

In contrast, antidepressants have been shown to increase the risk of other cancers, such as breast cancer. [10]

6 – Antidepressants Harm Children’s Development

Pregnant women often suffer from depressive episodes and other negative side effects of antidepressants and so many are prescribed SSRI antidepressants.

SSRIs are able to pass the placental barrier and increase the risk of congenital malformations [11] and autistic symptoms such as Asperger syndrome during the first trimester of pregnancy. [12]

During the 3rd trimester, they increase the risk of pulmonary hypertension in newborns (with a risk of death of 10%) and can cause withdrawal symptoms: cries, convulsions, irritability.

In contrast, antidepressants have been shown to increase the risk of other cancers, such as breast cancer. [10]

7 – Risk of Haemorrhage

Serotonin plays a crucial role in the coagulation of blood by its effects on blood platelets.

Patients on SSRIs are more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke (caused by rupture of a blood vessel in the brain) and to be hospitalized for gastrointestinal bleeding. [13]

These risks are even greater if the patient takes blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and many others.

8 – Worse Than the Vioxx

Vioxx is an anti-inflammatory drug that caused a huge scandal and was removed from the market when it was found that in 1000 patients it caused 7 cardiovascular events each year. [14]

He is accused of causing 40,000 cardiovascular events in the United States. [15]

Be careful, these accidents did not cause death each time.

By comparison, a study published in the British Medical Journal showed that negative side effects of antidepressants caused 10 to 44 deaths per 1000 patients each year, depending on the type of antidepressant. [16]

Moreover, it is often explained that antidepressants are necessary to prevent people from committing suicide. Yet this point is notoriously controversial. Many researchers now believe that antidepressants exacerbate suicidal tendencies, the biggest suspicions about children and adolescents on antidepressants. [17]

In Summary of the Negative Side Effects of Antidepressants

Antidepressants are designed to relieve the symptoms of depression by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain where it regulates mood.

But, the researchers point out, the greater proportion of serotonin produced by the body is used for other purposes, including digestion, blood clots in wound sites, reproduction, and development.

Antidepressants, Dr. Andrews and colleagues have found, have negative health effects on almost all processes normally regulated by serotonin, including these risks:

– developmental problems in infants;

problems of sexual function and development of spermatozoa in adults;

– digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and bloating;

– abnormal bleeding and stroke in the elderly.

The authors analyzed three recent studies that show that older people taking antidepressant medications are more likely to die than those who do not take antidepressants, even when considering other important variables. This higher rate of death shows that the negative side effects of antidepressants on the body are more damaging than beneficial, they conclude.

To Conclude on the Negative Side Effects of Antidepressants

Antidepressant medications can provide temporary relief to the very unpleasant symptoms of depression. However, they do not cure the disease.

Eliminating agents that cause stress, as well as changes in attitude and behavior through psychotherapy, is what can really contribute to healing.

The patient who uses the antidepressant medication will feel improvement only two to three weeks after the start of treatment…

Dr. Marcia Angell, who was the editorial director of the New England Journal of Medicine, points out that a review of antidepressant studies concluded that the main drugs prescribed for this purpose have nothing more than a placebo effect.

Considering these findings, a lifestyle change is the best cure for overcoming depression and the majority of chronic diseases.

Sources of the Article on the Negative Side Effects of Antidepressants

[13] Renoux C, Vahey S, Dell’Aniello S, et al. Association of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors with risk for spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage. JAMA Neurol. 2016; doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.5031.


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.