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A while back, I noticed that I just wasn’t feeling myself. I was sleeping more, eating more and exercising less. I didn’t want to do the things I normally love — like go to yoga or even read a book. In short, I was depressed.
Yet, there was nothing in my life to explain it. My work was going well, my family was happy and my life was on track.
I tried to pull out of it but those darn blue feelings just wouldn’t go away. That’s when I gave up and went in to talk to my doctor about it.
Her answer? A prescription anti-depressant.
And, while I should have been expecting it, I was not ready to give in and take a medication with side effects ranging from weight gain and constipation to blurred vision, insomnia and even sexual problems. No thank you!
That’s when I went into investigator mode and decided to start digging into the cause behind my depression instead of just putting a band-aid on the problem.
Here’s what I found…
Prescriptions, depression and suicide
While your doctor may feel like they have your best interests at heart when they write out a prescription, the truth is that those drugs often cause as much (if not more) harm than good.
And, nowhere is that more true than when it comes to your mental health.
That’s because there are six types of prescription medications that are not only extremely common but also often used in conjunction with each other that can lead to depression and even a higher risk of suicide.
And guess what? My depression only started after I began taking one of these types of medications.
Here’s the list…
- Blood pressure drugs
- Heart medications
- Birth control pills
- Proton pump inhibitors
So, which one was behind my depression?
The proton pump inhibitor, Nexium.
You see, I’d started taking it because of reflux and stomach pain following meals and it was soon after that my mood and my life started slipping downhill.
But, there’s something even scarier you should know…
And, that’s the fact that while you could be taking a drug that causes depression and even suicidal thoughts, it’s possible that you’re taking more than one and the effects are cumulative!
In fact, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association the practice of polypharmacy (prescribing more than one type of these drugs) is increasing and with it your chance of depression increases too.
Beating the drug – depression cycle
So, what can you do if you’ve been feeling blue and just not yourself lately?
The first step is to check your medications. If you’re on any of the six types of prescription medication above that lead to depression (or multiple types of them), talk to your doctor about changing your prescription and avoiding drugs with these dangerous and damaging side effects. Better yet, see if there’s a natural way you can tame whatever problem the medicine was prescribed for in the first place.
Other ways to help in the meantime include:
- Let those close to you know you’re having a hard tim. Hopefully, those regularly around you may have sensed that your haven’t quite been yourself, but reach out and let them know something is amiss. That’s what friends and family are for.
- Getting more exercise – Although depression can decrease your motivation to exercise, regular activity is important when it comes to boosting your mood. Get out and take a walk, head to the gym or take a swim this summer. The type of activity doesn’t matter as long as you get moving.
- Spending time outdoors – Low levels of vitamin D can increase your risk of depression. Spend more time outside in the bright light and take a vitamin D3 supplement to lower your risk.
- Get enough sleep (but not too much) – This one is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. To overcome your depression, you want to get not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of sleep – shooting for eight to nine hours per night.
- Set daily goals – Depression steals your motivation. Combat this problem by setting small goals for yourself each day and celebrate your wins. Check out my post, The secret to happiness found in these 5 clichés.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!
- Coping With Side Effects of Depression Treatment — WebMD
- One-third of US adults may unknowingly use medications that can cause depression — University of Illinois at Chicago
- Depression — Vitamin D Council