Since the 1980s, antidepressant use has risen by at least four-hundred percent and obesity rates have climbed to include thirty percent of the population. Now, researchers from Australia have published a review to determine whether this increased exposure to antidepressants is contributing to the rising obesity rates. Adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980, from 15 to 30 percent, while childhood obesity rates have more than tripled. Rising obesity rates have significant health consequences, contributing to increased rates of more than thirty serious diseases. Despite the rise of antidepressant use and of the obesity rates in Western societies, the association between the two, as well as the mechanisms underlying antidepressant-induced weight gain, are underexplored.
According to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine , many negative antidepressant study results have never been published. All in all, the prescription route to happiness may be less safe or effective than even doctors realize.
Dr. Oz remarked on the subject of antidepressants, “To help cut through the confusion, I’ve identified four common misconceptions about happiness and depression. The truth just might surprise you.”
- Myth #1: You Should Feel Happy All the Time-sadness is not a sign of mental illness-it is part of life and coping with adversities. However; low moods constantly can signal a change needed and requires professional help.
- Myth #2: It’s All About Serotonin-not necessarily true as research proves depression is liked to anxiety and using anti-stress methods such as incorporating yoga, meditation, and prayer shows great results.
- Myth #3: Pills Offer the Easiest Fix – exercise therapies can often be the only answer one needs to reduce stress and anxiety. Adding an antidepressant can cause one to become more stagnant.
- Myth #4: Depression Looks the Same on Everyone – always get an opinion from two physicians. Your family doctor and a mental health specialist before taking antidepressants.
Medications can certainly be the answer when one seems unable to function from too much stress; however, antidepressants have the following side-effects: loss of energy (cortisol build-up), loss of sex-drive (binge-eating), loss of enthusiasm (stagnant lifestyle), unable to show emotion (loss of life’s pleasures), and a feeling of numbness (loss of creativity.) When you add all these factors up, the end result is a breeding ground for obesity.
After starting medications: weight gain ranged between 15 and 40 pounds for those on antidepressants and between 75 and 125 pounds for those on mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotic drugs. What they all had in common was the inability to turn off their urge to eat, regardless of how much food they were consuming. The missing link is the follow-up of a controlled diet and exercise program before or after starting medications.
It is hoped that soon there will be a new class of drugs to regulate mood disorders without causing the distress of weight gain. But in the meanwhile, the best solution to this weight gain is to take advantage of serotonin’s ability to turn off the appetite by simply eating therapeutic amounts of carbohydrates.
People living close to trees and green spaces are less likely to be obese, inactive, or dependent on anti-depressants, according to a new report. Overall, nature is an under-recognized healer, the paper says, offering multiple health benefits from allergy reductions to increases in self-esteem and mental wellbeing.
Try getting outdoors more and in tune with nature, find the proper diet, and other ways to counteract the side-effects of medicines causing negative results. A “pill” is not the complete answer.
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