Did You Break a Nail? Oh My. Here is an SSRI Drug For You!

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!


About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain, electrolyte homeostasis, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage gated channels that modulate electrolytes and voltage in the brain, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other related variants, such as the MTHFR variants of the B vitamin methylation process and many others. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings after treating over 4000 migraineurs world wide, all ages and both genders, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know and also hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide". Due out in the summer of 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers. For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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12 Responses to Did You Break a Nail? Oh My. Here is an SSRI Drug For You!

  1. Roald Michel says:

    Currently I’m commenting in a discussion about gifted kids, ADHD, etc. Some neuroscientist takes issue with my stand on ADHD and the use of Ritalin etc. Today he wrote: “……since Ritalin has largely been abandoned for the “cognitive SSRI enhancers”……….”. Cognitive SSRI enhancers? What’s your take on those?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Be Healthy says:

      Cognitive enhancers are cognitive “dumifiers” (new word). There are two problems with the discussion actually as I can see my friend: 1) the existence of ADHD (I believe that was the discussion thread where we became friends… lol.. time is flying) and 2) something that damages the brain used as a “cognitive enhancer”… ugh

      So the first point: as you recall, I objected (and you did too I believe) to the existence of the “disease” ADD/ADHD as we know it is a fake disease. Apparently the medical institution agrees since these the two words no longer exist in the medical book of diseases… so thus by definition the argument is over and we won. So the hypothesis is on shaky (or shall I say quicksand) ground and sunk.

      The second part is more complicated but important so let me see if I can simplify the complexity of a “receptor” so that you can understand what this whole thing is though you do know most of it only perhaps not to this level. A receptor, as you know, is a protein that has specific folds in order to enhance the transport of the neurotransmitter’s ascent or descent, whichever the case may be, and each such receptor is specific to a particular neurotransmitter that must have the right shape, the right size, and the sign of polarity all through into the cell. I visualize it as a ladder where each step is a half step with a particular polarity that attracts the neurotransmitter first to grab it and then repels it toward the next step. Thus the role of this receptor is to guide the neurotransmitter to where it needs to go step by step.

      Each neuron is enhanced with a reuptake receptor, whose job is to monitor how much serotonin is already in the synapse. If too many, a serotonin is sucked up by the reuptake and it tells the cells to stop making the stuff… then when the reuptake can no longer attract another serotonin molecule, it sends the message to the neuron to make more. Now in comes an SSRI, acronym for: selective serotonin reuptake INHIBITOR!

      Thus its job is to plug up this reuptake receptor such that the neuron thinks that there is not enough serotonin out there, forcing the cell to make the stuff 24/7 nonstop. All is fine except for the shape of the inhibitor, which is a plug and has no intention to visit the neuron control center to instruct the cell to stop serotonin. Instead, think of it as a giant heavy cork, which interrupts both the electronic signals on the ladder PLUS it is so large and heavy that it modifies the shape of the protein that needs to have special folding in order for it to work–the folding itself has given the biggest trouble for me in school to relate to and I kept on asking “why” that was important.

      I needed an engineering degree apparently to figure out that the properties of the folds set up the particular polarity. If we modify the fold, we destroyed the polarity and hence we destroyed the receptor. THIS my friend is what is causing the “discontinuation syndrome”… and the damage to most neurons is pretty permanent over the age 50–some chance of recovery for a younger person. Thus there is what is called “brain freeze” and for some “brain zap”, both indicating the malfunction of the electronic system in these cells.

      So now… see if you can explain this to that “big shot” and see if he starts to ask for his bottle of milk at bedtime. 😉 I keep it warm for him 😉


      • Roald Michel says:

        Hahaha. Good one.

        A couple of comments back in that thread I referred to you by writing: >>> And another thing. Most of these remedies are, as my good friend and esteemed neuroscientist Angela Stanton wrote in one of her blogs, “dampen the brain’s activity.”<<< That remark triggered some extensive sneering from his part, hehe. 😕

        Now imagine the turmoil in this expert's brain if I would come up now with your “dumifiers”. Maybe I could throw in a handful of SSRI's to ease his rage? 👿 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • Be Healthy says:

          Like candy… aren’t they? 😉 hehe… do they still remember my name in there? It’s been awhile… not that I ever have the intention of visiting.

          Way too busy with clients, writing the 2nd ed of the book, which is the holy grail of migraine prevention and treatment–huge and this time will be like an academic article only over 500 pages… there will be a section for “just” migraineurs who care less about the science behind it but I got some remarks on “where is the pudding” for the 1st ed so I am adding it for the lazy ones. 😉

          I am also smacking a couple of articles on the head that say silly things in some big name journals. One was already accepted and perhaps will be in print in my lifetime… to other I just submitted. I am not expecting this second one to make it even in the trash bin fast enough since that is for the top academic journal of the world at the moment… not holding my breath but keeping very busy.

          How is life is sunny Aruba? 🙂


          • Roald Michel says:

            A lot of new ones in that LI group. So I don’t think they know of you.

            Life here is as it always is, no matter where you are. You enjoy it or not. Or something in between. But, after months of having not one drop, we had some rain over here. Oh, and a stray cat came along, and dropped 4 kittens in the yard.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Be Healthy says:

              awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww hope you still have them!


              • Roald Michel says:

                They’re all here. In the past we once had more than 12 of them, coming from two mothers. At that time I built two homes/nests for these cats. In the end nobody knew anymore which kitten belonged to what mother. Everybody was sucking milk from whatever mom was available. 😳

                Btw, would you be ok with you, in case I would deem it necessary, for me to copy/paste in that thread, on your behalf, what you wrote about the “dumifiers”? Also, would you allow me to guide these people, and people in general, to your blog?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Be Healthy says:

                  Yes sure, I can take a punch or two! No problems! 😉 It would also help these “docs” to get a bit of a new training here and there.. well maybe here.. lol… Glad to hear about the cats!! Hopefully those cats don;t run away from a rat or mouse like mine.. lol…


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  4. Ms. A says:

    Doctors don’t seem to be aware of serotonin syndrome, just like they don’t seem to be aware of fluoroquinolone toxicity. They are great at prescribing things to unsuspecting patients that can screw them up, but then play ignorant of the damage they do. Tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not at all Ms. A. I had a psychiatrist tell me that SSRIs don’t increase serotonin in the brain and he fought me with tooth and nail. They seem to be stuck on the word “inhibitor” not knowing what is being inhibited. I am sure that SSRIs have their place in human heath but not in the many diseases and discomfort they prescribe them for. I actually had my medical facility place SSRIs and serotonin in general on my allergy list so I will never be given any form of that. This drug, by the way, requires all physicians to get written consent from you before they prescribe it for you but no doctor I have ever seen prescribe it for anyone had ever provided as much as a word of information of what this does and how. I suppose most do not know what it is and what it does. Very sad situation!

      Liked by 1 person

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