No I am not joking; I wish I were. Today SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are used for just about everything: ADD, ADHD, Menopause, Pain, Migraine, Fibromyalgia, depression, insomnia, OCD, sexual dysfunction, and the list goes on. It is as if we hit the jackpot and found a miracle cure for every ailment possible!
I wrote on this blog several times about SSRIs before. One article is about how it is used for migraine and why it is so dangerous, so you should read that article for refresher but I explain here what it is and what it is not a bit more in detail from a different angle. I am using here the same drawing though that I drew before to show how SSRI works.
This image is taken from the previous article that I drew in a highly simplified form. The goal of SSRI is to induce the neurons that manufacture serotonin neurotransmitters to produce more endlessly. The “reuptake” is a sensor that would allow the neuron to know how much serotonin it already made and once the serotonin level reaches the reuptake, it would send message to the neuron that there is enough; it would inhibit the neuron from making more. SSRIs plug the reuptake by something that is not serotonin so the neuron has no clue that it has made a ton of it already. It just keeps on producing it. There are many problems with this that is explained in the previous article.
One of the things that got me really upset was while watching TV tonight there was an advertisement for a menopausal drug that was saying that it helps with hot-flashes. This would have been fine but then they said the following: “in a non-hormonal way.” This made me pop off the sofa to see what exactly this magical non-hormonal drug was that takes away hot-flashes! Based on the list of adverse effects warning, I knew immediately that it was some kind of serotonin but not sure yet what kind. As it turns out it is not estrogen hormone alright but it is a hormone! It is serotonin hormone.
You see, while serotonin is in the body, we call it hormone. When it is in the brain, we call it neurotransmitter. They are exactly the same chemical elements only their functions change based on their location. They are definitely hormones though. There is a trick about SSRI and while the TV ad could have said it is “not a hormone,” by saying it is “not hormonal” it lied. While it is not hormone itself, its job is to create extra hormone. It is like me telling you that I am not selling my house; my real estate agent does. The fact is I will end up with a sold house and in the case of SSRI I will end up with a ton of hormones I did not have before. So is it hormonal? You bet it is! And it is a dangerous one at that.
But let me ask you this: Given the many illnesses SSRIs claim to be able to treat today, would we not all be healthy by now? How come people end up with suicidal thoughts, kill themselves, end up with headaches, serotonin syndrome (toxicity), and develop additional illnesses all the time? And what exactly are we going to do with all the serotonin we manufacture as a result of SSRIs that are so good for us. One of the side effects of too much serotonin in the brain is serotonin syndrome. In the 2012 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ national Poison Data System (NPDS): 30th Annual Report you can see all drugs that poisoned people for whatever reason and how many died. In this report there were 47,115 serotonin syndrome cases reported and 89 people died. This is reported by the 15% of doctors who actually recognize a serotonin syndrome when they see one. Doctors don’t seem to be aware of the phenomenon of serotonin syndrome. If we add the 85% of cases that were missed by doctors, we are talking about an epidemic.
It is an epidemic because while doctors prescribe SSRIs left and right for just about everything, they can not diagnose an overdose. Why are they not cognizant of the overdose? It is possible to get a serotonin toxic level buildup from a single SSRI tablet! And why are they so prescription happy of SSRIs the first place? Why is this generation so lacking of serotonin that we must force the brain to make more? Are we doing something to take all of the neurons that normally make serotonin in our brains and bodies and tearing them out?
Actually we are doing some things that indeed may reduce serotonin in our brains: we are not supplying the neurons with the proper nutrients to create serotonin. So when we force them to create serotonin without energy and we actually hurt the neurons.
We should call this the serotonin generation since we take in more serotonin than vitamins or supplements that were the fad of the earlier times. Today the fashion is SSRIs. But SSRIs are not toys. They are extremely hard for you to stop taking because your body doesn’t know how to stop making the serotonin when the plug is removed. It is in hyper serotonin mode and will have a hard time adjusting to the new environment of “go to sleep.” Plus our brains were so over flooded with serotonin that it has numbed our senses for many discomforts such as pains, hot flashes, sexual behavior, OCD, PTSD, ADD, ADHD, depression, you name it, that without all that numbing “feeling drunkenly good,” we crash and start hurting and act bizarre. We cannot just stop an SSRI. Depending on how long you have been taking one, it can take years to stop taking it and sometimes many years later you get “flashbacks” as I was told by some SSRI stoppers. They are extremely addictive drugs.
They make us stay close to the toilet too since they make us run–often initiating IBS, anxiety, and similar illnesses.
So next time a doctor tells you to take SSRI and it is not addictive, feel free to chuckle and laugh until you fall off the examining table. Because they are more addictive than the feared benzodiazepines! And not only addictive but they modify the brain’s anatomy such that the brain forgets how to live without them. In every which way they are the same as benzodiazepines and worse! They can kill you! Do yourself a favor and do not EVER start taking SSRIs!
Comments are welcome as always!