The pills that make you more depressed

If you’ve dealt with depression during your life, you’ve probably explored all available options to put your dark days behind you. And if you have major depressive disorder (a serious mood disorder characterized by long or recurring periods of depression), that may have included trying antidepressants.

Maybe they worked for you. But if they didn’t, you’re not alone …

Studies show that popular antidepressant drugs — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — are about as effective as a placebo pill. But the ineffectiveness of these antidepressants is the least of your worries…

What you really need to know about antidepressants (whether you’ve tried them in the past or are considering trying them in the future), is that, in the end, they may make you more depressed.

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The dark cloud caused by antidepressants

A new scientific analysis looked at the long-term effects of antidepressants and uncovered some alarming findings…

People who take antidepressants end up in worse shape over the long-term than people who don’t.

The study, which was published in the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, followed-up with people who had major depressive disorder nine years after receiving treatment to see how they were doing. Some of these people had been treated with antidepressant drugs and others hadn’t.

Now, the length of this study is an important detail, since most clinical trials follow-up with major depressive disorder sufferers after only one to two years. But major depressive disorder is a long-term disorder that affects people over the course of their entire life. So a short-term study doesn’t capture the bigger picture of how depression and its treatment impact them.

And when it comes to antidepressants, the study painted a picture that’s even bleaker than we thought…

People who treated their depression with antidepressant drugs had worse depressive symptoms nine years later than people who didn’t treat their depression with antidepressants.

So antidepressants clearly aren’t the silver bullet solution to depression pharmaceutical companies made them out to be for so many years…

Their clever marketing, along with the cooperation of doctors, turned us into a “Prozac nation,” with 65 percent more people taking antidepressants now than 20 years ago. But in the long run, has it just made us more depressed?

Maybe so.

Deciding if antidepressants are for you…

If antidepressants work for you, then I’m not encouraging you to change your treatment approach. You do what you need to do to keep yourself happy and healthy. And, of course, you should never go off your depression medication without partnering with a health professional to support you.

But if you’ve tried antidepressants and they haven’t worked or you’d rather avoid them altogether, explore other treatment options for your depression.

In my opinion, the foundation of any good depression treatment approach is something that gets to the root of the problem like cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychotherapy that helps you retrain your brain to change negative thoughts, moods and behaviors.

While you’re working with a professional to develop a healthier, happier outlook, you can do a bunch of other things on your own to support a healthy brain and positive mood too, like:

  • Take a critical look at your diet. A healthy diet can ease depression. You can also check for nutrient and mineral deficiencies that could be contributing to your depression.
  • Start a yoga practice. A regular yoga practice can cut your major depressive disorder symptoms in half. You can also try this yogic breathing technique that reduces depression symptoms.
  • Get more magnesium. Studies show this mineral can alleviate depression and anxiety.
  • Get more vitamin D and vitamin K, the vitamin duo that beats depression and anxiety.

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!


  1. Depressed patients who are treated with antidepressants do worse in the long run — MedicalXpress. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  2. R. Vittengl. “Poorer Long-Term Outcomes among Persons with Major Depressive Disorder Treated with Medication.” — Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 2017.
  3. Major depression — MedlinePlus. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  4. 13% of Americans Take Antidepressants — Time. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  5. Driessen, et al. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Mood Disorders: Efficacy, Moderators and Mediators.” — Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2010 Sep; 33(3): 537–555.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and