6 Bad Reasons to Take Antidepressants

To big name pharmaceutical companies, antidepressants are the cure-all drug of choice for nearly every illness, both mental and physical. At least that’s the case for mega drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, who recently pleaded guilty to a slew of criminal charges related to the sale and marketing of its antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin. The company has agreed to pay $3 billion in fraud settlement after persuading doctors to prescribe antidepressants for non-FDA approved uses, including obesity, anxiety, addiction, ADHD, and the treatment of children depression. It is now the largest settlement of health care fraud in U.S. history. With all this talk about antidepressants and their safety risks, we can’t help but wonder why anyone would still want to take them if it wasn’t their last resort? Below we’ll look at six bad reasons to take antidepressants.

  1. Obesity

    Using antidepressants for the treatment of obesity is not an FDA-approved usage, nor has it been proven to be effective. In fact, weight gain is a common side effect of nearly all antidepressants. People taking antidepressants may overeat as a result of their depression, while others may develop a bigger appetite associated with their improved mood. If a person becomes numb to the emotional pain of being obese and experiences a boost in their mood, they may abstain from trying to lose weight. Before turning to antidepressants for the treatment of obesity, it may be in your best interest to try other avenues first. Talk to a therapist to confront the problem at hand and take the necessary steps to live a healthier life by watching what you eat and exercising regularly.

  2. Anxiety

    It is not uncommon for someone suffering from anxiety to also be depressed or vice versa, but just because you have one disorder doesn’t necessarily mean you have or will get the other. Depression and anxiety disorders do share similar symptoms, but they each have their own causes, specific symptoms, risk factors, and treatments. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with a specific anxiety disorder and depression or your anxiety has disrupted your daily life, then you may want to consider alternative treatments before turning to antidepressants that may end up having more risks than benefits. Talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, diet, and sleep and relaxation techniques are excellent drug-free remedies for managing anxiety.

  3. ADHD

    Antidepressants are occasionally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but are generally less effective than stimulants at improving concentration and attention span. Not to mention, antidepressants have been known to cause many unpleasant side effects in children and adults with ADHD, including dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, blurred vision, tremor, and suicidal thinking in children and teens. If you have ADHD and depression, an antidepressant may be the best treatment for both of your conditions, but be aware that just like stimulants, antidepressants also come with their own set of negative side effects and complications.

  4. Unhappy with job

    Just because you’re unhappy in your current job or hate your boss doesn’t mean you are depressed or have a chemical imbalance in the brain and should start taking an antidepressant. Anxiety and stress are a normal part of life, and despite what you may have heard, these psychological states don’t automatically lead to depression or other mental illnesses. Being unhappy with your job or current living situation can lead to feelings of sadness, loneliness, agitation, and other depression-like symptoms, but instead of popping a pill to numb the pain, you should ask yourself if it’s possible to change your situation? If you can relocate or find another job that will bring you more happiness, then that may be your next best move.

  5. Chronic pain

    Chronic pain is often treated using a wide variety of medications that were developed for other conditions, such as depression. Antidepressants have become many doctors’ drugs of choice for treating chronic pain caused by arthritis, nerve damage from diabetes or shingles, migraines, low back pain, fibromyalgia, and other conditions. In many cases, depression isn’t even a factor for the patient. Antidepressants are not FDA approved to treat chronic pain, and researchers still do not fully understand how these medications relieve pain. Until the FDA backs antidepressants in the treatment of chronic pain, you may be better off trying other pain relievers and drug-free remedies.

  6. Problems/pain are too difficult to face

    Antidepressants tend to cause a numbing effect on people, and although some dislike this feeling, most enjoy their improved mood and less emotional self on antidepressants. The problem here is that taking a pill to numb the pain or blind us from problems too difficult to face doesn’t actually solve the issue at hand. If you don’t confront the external problems that are causing you to feel depressed, lonely, angry, or sad, you may never fully heal and could actually be hurting your mind and body even more. Antidepressants combined with talk therapy is an effective way to treat depression and other mental illnesses, but there is a fine line between calming your brain and deadening it.