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Psychiatrist warns against SSRI antidepressants

In a piece for the Huffington Post, Harvard-trained psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin argues that antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors do more harm than good.

Breggin refers to considerable evidence that the antidepressants worsen depression and cause severe behavioral abnormalities, attributing the problem to “compensatory changes” in neurotransmitters as the brain resists the drug effect.

“It has been apparent for many years that chronic exposure to SSRI antidepressants frequently makes people feel apathetic or less engaged in their lives, and ultimately more depressed,” Breggin writes. “In my clinical experience, this is a frequent reason that family members encourage patients to seek help in reducing or stopping their medication.”

SSRI antidepressants include Prozac and Zoloft.

Breggin cites a scientific study concluding that any initial improvements from SSRI use are often followed by treatment resistance and worsening depression. He also mentions a meta-analysis of 46 studies, which found the relapse rate for antidepressant-treated patients (44.6 percent) was much higher than for placebo-treated patients (24.7 percent).

A number of studies have also suggested a link between pregnant women’s use of SSRI antidepressants and potentially dangerous birth defects.

In 2006, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that babies born to mothers who took SSRIs during the second half of pregnancy had a significantly increased risk of being born with persistent pulmonary hypertension, a potentially life-threatening respiratory disorder.

According to the study, the use of SSRIs during the second half of pregnancy may increase the risk of the disorder by as much as six times.

Other studies have found a link between pregnant women’s use of SSRIs and heart defects in their babies.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See Breggin’s piece here: