Can Antidepressants Lead to Premature Death?

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AntidepressantsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S.

Although research shows that this medication can be beneficial for some people if their depression is severe enough, antidepressants don’t work for everyone.

Since there are several types of depression, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all” medication.

Antidepressants can sometimes lead to a wide range of disagreeable side effects, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Insomnia, constipation, and blurred vision.

Now, some health professionals are claiming that antidepressants could increase a person’s risk of premature death.

Is there a Link between Antidepressants and Death?

In a debate published in the May 2015 issue of the medical journal The BMJ, Professor Peter C. Gotzsche contested that psychiatric drugs are responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people aged 65 and older each year in Western society. Gotzsche added that the benefits of antidepressants are very minimal and should be scrapped altogether.

Gotzsche references the high risk of suicide being a major reason as to why psychiatric drugs should be scrapped. He bases his claim on the under-reporting of deaths in industry-funded trials, in particular the randomized trials conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that analyzed 100,000 patients who took antidepressants.

Gotzsche estimates that there are likely 15 times more suicides among people taking antidepressants than reported by the FDA, primarily because the FDA’s meta-analysis only included results from events up to one day after patients stopped taking the psychiatric drugs. Gotzsche suggests discontinuing the use of antidepressants and most psychiatric drugs, concluding it could lead to a healthier society.

On the opposite side of the argument, researcher Allan Young argued that psychiatric drugs are beneficial at treating mental health issues, and that they lower mortality rates, including from suicide. He adds that it’s crucial to consider the experience of the individual patient being treated with psychiatric drugs. It’s important to note that Young has previously been on advisory boards for companies that produce psychiatric drugs.

Natural Ways to Treat Depression

1. Ease the Mind: One of the main reasons people are depressed is because they are stressed. They have too many things on their mind and cannot find ways to relax. Prayer and meditation will help relax the mind and body. Try to take time out of your busy day and focus on things that you love—things that are positive and that generally put a smile on your face. If you have children, take them outdoors, or find activities that will distract you from your problems.

2. Be One With Nature: Research shows that you can boost your serotonin levels by going outside. Since higher serotonin levels are linked with happiness, you can help your body regulate its production of serotonin by spending more time out in the sun.

3. Exercise: Your mind and body will benefit from exercising on a daily basis. Not only can exercise help regulate your weight, but it will also boost your serotonin levels.

4. Diet: Eat foods that are high in tryptophan, which can help increase serotonin levels in the body. Foods that may increase serotonin levels are high in omega-3 fats, saturated fats, and reasonable amounts of animal protein.

If you are on antidepressants, consult with your doctor about treatment options that are the most beneficial for you.

See More :

Schroeder, M.O., “What Are the Long-Term Effects of Taking Antidepressants?” U.S. News web site, June 11, 2015;
Barnard, K., “Antidepressant Medication as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes and Impaired Glucose Regulation Systematic review,”, March 6, 2013;
“Depression: How To Feel Awesome Without Drugs,” Bulletproof web site;, last accessed June 11, 2015.
Cohen, E., “CDC: Antidepressants most prescribed drugs in U.S.,”, July 9, 2007;
“Does long term use of psychiatric drugs cause more harm than good?” The BMJ web site, May 12, 2015;