If you know me, you’ll know that I’m generally against drug use. I don’t view prescription, over-the-counter or illegal drugs as much different at all.  As a general rule, drugs don’t meet an acceptable cost/benefit ratio.  Most have a startling number of side effects.  While most of these side effects are minor, the long term effects from the prolonged use of the drug can result in quite serious results.  A dry mouth, for example, may be only a mild nuisance for a short time, but can result in serious dental problems over the years.

As a general rule, dietary changes can bring most health problems under control or even cure them completely.  The problem most of us have, particularly those of us living in developed countries, is that we don’t like changing our lifestyle.  We like convenience.  It’s much more convenient to take a drug and go on eating fast food.  However, it would be much more beneficial to us (not to mention much more convenient years down the road) if we were to change our lifestyle and avoid the drugs.  Drugs should be seen as a last result or a temporary option, not the first choice or a true cure in most cases.

But that’s just my usual soap box.  This post is about a fairly recent and particularly dangerous class of drugs known as antidepressants.  When some of the side effects include suicide, violence and significant personality change, there’s much cause for concern.  People who experience these side effects would be better off using something we consider really bad like cocaine. Many of the senseless massacres committed over the past few decades in the U.S. were committed by people on these antidepressants.  Most of these people were non-violent before taking the drugs.

The biggest problem as I see it is that the primary source of these prescriptions is the family doctor or general practitioner.  These doctors are simply not properly educated to handle this class of drug.  Yet doctors are using these as the new catch-all for conditions they don’t understand or can’t fix. Antidepressants should only be prescribed by a psychiatrist who understands not only the chemical effects, but the psychological effects of the drugs.  Not only that, but psychiatrists understand how to monitor and interpret the behavior of their patients once they start on drugs like these.

So please, for the benefit of yourself and those you care about and even those you don’t know but might come in contact with — If your general practitioner prescribes any antidepressant type of drug, push for something different or have him/her refer you to a psychiatrist who can more effectively and safely guide your dosage.  Even then, make sure it’s a very good psychiatrist.