Unfortunately, many people have serious mental health issues requiring treatment via therapy or prescription drugs. What is also true is that antidepressant medications like Prozac and Zoloft are viewed almost as cure-alls in our society. Doctors prescribe these medications at an alarming rate. They often do so without being fully informed about the severe side effects and potential for long-term harm.
A new study out of Canada is raising more red flags.
Canadian researchers found that people on antidepressants are 33% more likely to die from any cause, than those who are not taking such medications.
The analysis was conducted by a team from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. The study reviewed the results from previous studies of over 380,000 participants to determine the overall long-term effects of antidepressants on lifespan.
It initially appeared that there was only a 9% increase in the risk of death for those on antidepressants. Researchers did not feel that was significant enough to cause alarm.
The fact that antidepressants thin the blood could have a positive effect on health including lessening the risk of developing blood clots. Researchers then removed the results of participants with heart conditions.
Here is where the alarming statistic emerged that the long-term use of antidepressants elevated the risk of death by 33%.
It is common knowledge that serotonin produced in the brain affects mood. However, it is less widely known that all the major organs of the body, the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, use serotonin from the bloodstream.
Therefore, antidepressants not only block the absorption of serotonin in the brain but in all organs as well. Researchers warn that antidepressants could increase the risk of death by preventing multiple organs from properly functioning.
While a 9% increase in risk is not considered “clinically significant,” a 33% elevation in risk is cause for concern.
Lead researcher Paul Andrews said they are very concerned about their findings. “They suggest that we shouldn’t be taking antidepressant drugs without understanding precisely how they interact with the body. I do think these drugs for most people are doing more harm than good and that physicians ought not to generally prescribe them.”
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