Antidepressants: Happy Pill, Happy Life?
by Rochelle Griffin
One word. One pill. Antidepressants.
Let me start by saying this may be a controversial article. I already know it. However, I feel compelled to write and I must stay true to myself. I subscribe to several health magazines. When I received one particular magazine this week, an article immediately caught my eye.
The topic was about how many women are coping with the stresses of life through the use of antidepressants.
First of all, I want to say that I “get” that there is a time and place for medication. I’ve seen a lot of situations over the past 20 years as a RN that warranted it. I also come from a family with a long history of depression, and personally I was on a low dose of Prozac for many years. So I’m not writing at all from a place of condemnation. Hopefully that will squash any controversy.
What bothered me about this article was that it was written in a cavalier manner…basically painting the antidepressant as a “happy pill” to take with the stressors of life…much like one would cope by having a glass of wine. It was almost as though people were being encouraged to “take a pill.”
The issue is that, as with any medication, antidepressants have side effects, plus they can cause problems with our brain’s neurotransmitters. Antidepressants aren’t for everyone.
We live in such a stressful time. I know it. You know it. People are constantly pulling us in a million directions as we try to be superheroes to everyone. It’s enough to make one want to pull his or her hair out. Trying to be a superhero is hard, and when one tries long enough, the stress from that alone will start to cause symptoms.
The highest group of antidepressant users is women between 40-59 years of age. This is also the group who tends to have the most issue with pre (and eventually post) menopausal symptoms.
Well guess what? Stress puts strain on our adrenal glands (which are responsible for our stress hormones.) Eventually our adrenal glands will tire out, not make the stress hormones to cope with the stressors of life, and symptoms (often in the form of depression, fatigue, insomnia, etc.) will occur.
Popping a pill may help the symptoms BUT it’s not dealing with the root cause of WHY the symptoms may be happening…possible adrenal fatigue. So while the symptoms may lesson and one can cope with life, the adrenals are still going to become more and more exhausted. Over time, this will lead to even more symptoms…often more severe.
Let me add that I personally know this as I’ve lived this.
Here are 4 tips that worked well to help me cope:
1. Test for adrenal fatigue. This is the first thing I did and was shocked (but really not surprised) that I was in the most severe stage of fatigue. No wonder I wasn’t coping well with life. I’m now in recovery. 🙂
2. Get enough sleep. When we are sleeping, our body is busy repairing…including our adrenal glands. Get to bed by 10pm. It’s important!
3. Follow a gluten-free diet. Many times people think that a gluten-sensitivity means belly issues will be prevalent, but this isn’t the case. Often people don’t exhibit belly problems…I happen to be one of those people. A gluten-sensitivity can also cause anxiety and that feeling of not being able to cope with life.
4. Exercise. I know we “know” we should exercise, but many of us don’t do it consistently. Moving our body 5-6 days per week for at least 30 minutes can do wonders to help us cope with the stressors of life. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise. Walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, weight training…it all works. Just move!
As I said, I’m not anti-medication. I believe that there are situations where meds are warranted. I’m just saying that you need to be a YOUR own advocate. Do your homework and get the testing done, so you can make the best possible decision. Taking a “happy pill” doesn’t have to be (nor should it be) the first line of defense.
To Living Your Best Life,
Rochelle Griffin, RN BSN FDN-P
Rochelle Griffin, The Wellness Detective™, is a Registered Nurse (with over 22 years experience) & a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition™ Practitioner who has transitioned her love for fitness, health, & freedom into a 7-figure International company that now helps others live Their Best Life.
She founded Your Best Life, Inc with her husband Keith after stepping onto the edge of physical ruin with her health & the health of their young son. Having experienced a complete turn-around, they now desire to give hope & support to those who are dissatisfied with their current situation.
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