If you’re a drug company looking for repeat custom, then antidepressants are a great product. Because people become reliant on a medication that never actually cures their condition. But even worse, I reckon that antidepressants are actually fuelling the huge rise in mental health problems that we’re seeing.
I want to talk about depression because at work there is often a constant stream of people who have been on antidepressants for years, but they’re still depressed. Same for anti-anxiety meds - most people on them are still anxious. So basically, doctors are not actually helping these people, we’re just dosing them up on drugs.
Despite this people do continue to take the medication, so they must think it is helping them in some way, but from my view, they really don’t seem to be working all that well.
Sure, some people go on these sort of meds for a few months during a difficult time, then come quickly off and never need them again. But from my experience, this is a pretty rare scenario compared to long term use with no clear endgame.
There is currently an explosion in mental health problems, particularly in children and young people. If we want to address this, we need to get to the root causes.
Possible factors at play include previous childhood trauma, current traumatic life events, a lack of mental resilience, negative mindsets, plus our upbringing and learned coping habits, as well as the sort of people we surround ourselves with, and how they influence our mindset.
Whilst all these things may be contributing depending on your personal circumstances, I think what’s really driving the huge rise in mental health problems are modern values and modern patterns of living such as lack of community; lack of deep relationships; lack of deep purpose needed to underpin a meaningful direction in life; excessive concern for material possessions, image and status; constant financial stress; highly competitive work or school environments; and immersion in screens, tech and cities, rather than nature.
These are just some examples of how the modern world creates such a depressogenic environment. And we can add to the list poor sleep, as well as overly processed food. Your diet and your gut microbiome have a massive impact on your mind via the gut-brain axis.
Exactly how are antidepressants helping any of these? Well they are not, but they do often provide just enough of a crutch to keep people from actually addressing the key root causes. And that is how antidepressants fuel depression. Without antidepressants, society wouldn’t be able to just carry on with business as usual, ignoring the root causes, like we do now.
So if you have symptoms of depression, your body and brain may well be calling out to you that something is wrong, and rather than just try to numb that signal with drugs that attempt to manipulate your brain chemistry, you should listen to it.
To start, try getting the following foundation:
Firstly, reject the idea that depression is normal. It may be common, but it’s not normal.
Secondly, understand that you may need to take radical action, thinking well outside the box, going against the flow of modern societal trends. The rates of mental health problems are soaring. If you are living in the same manner as everyone else, then don’t be surprised when you get the same result.
Try to move outside in nature everyday as much as possible, as this helps normalise your cortisol levels. Avoid overly processed foods and excess alcohol, and prioritise sleep.
And this is really important: you need to find one person who you can discuss addressing the root causes with, in other words one deep and meaningful relationship with someone who you can be open with, and who improves your mindset.
Doing these things will give you a much better foundation from which to face other root causes which may apply to you. Remember, drugs simply stop people addressing the root causes, and so perpetuate the problem.
I hope you found this information helpful.
Dr Philip Bosanquet
The Low-Tech Lifestyle Medic