The surprisingly delightful musings of a humble Virginian whose satiric paeons to a plausible utopia implicitly shame the cynical zeitgeist of our times, causing it to cry, as 'twere, 'Damn, what was I thinking?' or words to that effect.

June 2018
in response to 'Antidepressant Use Leads to Worse Long Term Outcomes, Study Finds' - Mad in America - April 30, 2018

The Depressing Truth about Antidepressants

an open letter to Peter Simons of Mad in America

Hi, Peter.

Just wanted to respond to your April 30th, 2018, article on antidepressant use.

The study cited confirms what I have learned the hard way over the last 30 years, that anti-depressants help only a little at first, and that even this marginal help decreases overtime. And it's hard to live stoically with this "depressing" truth, when one is convinced that there are currently proscribed substances out there that are wildly effective (relative to the status quo) and are meanwhile not even addictive, nor particularly expensive. There are fabulously promising results now pointing to the great therapeutic potential of Ibogaine, LSD, MDMA, peyote, and other non-addictive substances, drugs which often provide self-insight after the very first use. Compare this to a situation in which a depressed patient like myself pays about $40 a month to Big Pharma for a massively addictive antidepressant medication (in my case Effexor) that has provided me with nothing more than a baseline functionality for the last 30 years (no spur to creativity, not a hint of self-insight, no impulse to achieve anything remotely resembling the self-actualization described by Abraham Maslow).

One doesn't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see how this expensive status quo is in the commercial interests of big corporations and that they will necessarily fight tooth and nail against "pro-patient" change (especially against effective non-addictive therapies that will leave them out of the financial loop). Part of that fight involves these companies' use of newspeak, in which, rather than acknowledging the well-documented addictive nature of their nostrums, the purveyors of SSRI's glibly tell their patients that they may have to stay on these medications for life, as if that were a small price to pay for the benefits provided. In reality, however, the benefits are scarcely so great as to warrant the jettisoning of one's psychological autonomy for an entire lifetime, and that's what happens to long-term SSRI patients, as they're forced to continually deal with and rely on the bureaucratic and expensive healthcare system in order to access the medications in question.

And trust me, based on my own 40 years of experience in this area: this reliance on the bureaucratic health system is dispiriting in and of itself, even if the cures being peddled are effective. After all, continued access to these medications requires regular visits to the health clinic, a time-consuming and expensive obligation which amply reminds one that they are an eternal "patient. " And if you want further proof of your dependent status, just run out of your prescribed medication on a weekend, and you'll soon find who holds the reins in this relationship: for chances are that the addictive antidepressant that you need right NOW will not be green-lighted for use until it's convenient for the healthcare system to do this, namely at 9:00 on the next business weekday.

I don't mean to imply, however, that there is a conscious enmity on the part of the existing healthcare system towards depressed patients, only that an effectively addicted "patient" (at least one addicted to legal drugs) is necessarily obliged to jump through bureaucratic hoops, a process that eternally reminds that patient that they are not a free agent in their life but rather are eternally dependent on others. And to repeat, this situation is demoralizing in and of itself, regardless of the effectiveness of the addictive substance being prescribed. And yet I have never read a psychological study that takes into account the potential depressive (or at least demoralizing) effect that this loss of autonomy has on a patient like myself, as if a patient's reliance on the medical "system" were to be taken as a given, regardless of its psychological impact, and not considered a distinct and separate phenomenon, one that should be avoided or mitigated wherever possible.

But there is another unacknowledged downside for a patient who is addicted to SSRIs: namely, the fact that the use of these substances often makes it impossible for that patient to safely (and/or effectively) use most of the exciting new alternative antidepressant therapies mentioned above. This is because of something called Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome, which makes it dangerous to combine, say, peyote or ayahuasca with Effexor or similar medications.

Thus the slaves of Big Pharma are rendered incapable of exploring alternatives, even if they had the risk tolerance that would allow them to do so.

anti-depressant, therapy, ayahuasca, peyote, lsd, addiction, big pharma

Copyright 2017, Brian Quass (follow on Twitter)