Antidepressants Increase Suicide Risk

Antidepressants Increase Suicide Risk

What’s the most serious possible outcome of depression you can imagine? That’s right, it’s suicide. What do physicians prescribe for depressed patients? Antidepressants. And what’s the most significant adverse effect of antidepressants? Increased risk of suicide!

Using these drugs to treat depression is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. Every antidepressant sold in this country is required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have a black box label warning, “Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.” It’s a label that many experts believe should be amended to include all age groups and other significant adverse effects, such as increased risk of extreme agitation and acts of uncharacteristic violence.

Dangers aside, antidepressants are no more effective than placebos for most of the people who take them. A comprehensive meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) earlier this year, concluded: “True drug effects (an advantage of [antidepressants] over placebo) were nonexistent to negligible among depressed patients with mild, moderate, and even severe baseline symptoms….” “What makes our findings surprising is the high level of depression symptom severity that appears to be required for clinically meaningful drug/placebo differences to emerge, particularly given the evidence that the majority of patients receiving [antidepressants] in clinical practice present with scores below these levels.

In other words, only patients with disabling depression have even the slightest chance of being helped by antidepressants. Yet the overwhelming majority of those who take these drugs—and are exposed to their incapacitating and disastrous side effects—just feel a little blue.

One in 10 Americans pops these pills every day, which means we have nearly 30 million people taking drugs that can only make them worse. In addition to increasing risk of suicide and violent behavior, antidepressants (especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft) are also notorious for causing loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, weight gain, gastrointestinal problems, and headaches.

Rather than depending on antidepressants, look into therapies that actually work, such as hormone balancing, regular exercise, and nutritional supplements like SAMe, fish oil, and St. John’s wort. You’d even be better off asking your doctor—as we are told to do hundreds of times a day on TV—“if ‘sugar pills’ are right for you.”


  • If you are currently taking antidepressants, work with your physician to replace them with safer alternatives such as bioidentical hormone replacement (requires a prescription), SAMe 200 mg, twice a day, building up to 800 mg dosages, if needed, fish oil 2–8 grams of high-quality fish oil daily, St. John’s wort 300 mg, three times a day (Check with your doctor as this herb interacts with a number of prescription and over-the-counter medications.) To order, call (800) 810-6655.
  • To schedule an appointment at the Whitaker Wellness Institute to review your medications and develop a program of safe, effective therapies, call (866) 944-8253.


  • Fournier JC, et al. Antidepressant drug effects and depression severity: a patient-level meta-analysis. JAMA. 2010 Jan 6;303:47–53.

Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healingclick here.

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