• Nisha Jackson, PhD

Thoroughly Examine Your Entire System

Antidepressant medications are the most commonly prescribed treatment for depression and are now often used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), OCD, pain syndromes, menopause, autoimmune syndromes, substance abuse, PMS, anxiety, and eating disorders. Most antidepressants are designed to alter levels of serotonin or dopamine or both. In the brain, serotonin acts as a chemical that controls the firing of neurons that help us think, feel, and behave, and in this way antidepressants can be helpful. However, serotonin regulates many other processes in other parts of the body, including digestion, muscle control, blood clotting, and reproductive health.

Because medical doctors and practitioners are focused on the mood effects of antidepressants, often the other potential problems are not brought up and discussed (like digestion, sexual functioning, abnormal fertility, and menstrual bleeding issues). Another problem is that as the serotonin increases outside the cell, the brain begins to resist the effects of the antidepressants over time, which can lead to needing higher dosages or a stronger combination of drugs in order to get a better effect. All this is to say that women need a thorough evaluation of their mood and brain symptoms to identify the best course of treatment and not to simply accept a potentially harmful medication because it’s convenient.

When we are depressed, anxious, or we can’t sleep, a personalized approach for treatment is of utmost importance. We should carefully and thoroughly examine the entire system to figure out what is off balance and could lead to these problems. Resorting to the use of a drug that may create even more issues is not the answer. Sometimes these medications can help, but we should always dig a little deeper first.


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© 2018 by Nisha Jackson

*this degree is from an unaccredited college and is not approved for use in Oregon