The sad truth about SSRIs

The news I’m about to share with you was a surprise to me–and not a pleasant one. So I can only imagine how many other people will be caught off guard by this troubling discovery.

A new study has found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)–which includes antidepressants like Prozac, Serafem, Paxil, and the like–come with a higher fracture risk than steroid drugs in postmenopausal women. (And in case you aren’t aware, steroids have a very well established link to osteoporosis and fractures.)

In fact, SSRI-related fracture risk was even higher than the risk associated with proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs). You know, those little purple pills and all their relatives that most Americans consume like candy. (And which also raise the risk of fracture significantly.)

I really can’t overstate the dire importance of this information–because millions of Americans currently take SSRIs. One in 10, to be exact. And that number jumps to one in four among women in their 40s and 50s.

In fact, antidepressant medications are the most frequently prescribed drugs in the U.S. They’re even more popular than blood pressure meds–with prescriptions filled to the tune of 118 million per year.

Scary, I know. And even scarier when you consider that doctors could be unwittingly leading their patients to a future full of broken bones.

Get this: After following this group of women for five years, researchers found that SSRIs were the only therapy linked to significant spikes in overall fractures.

It’s important to note that these authors didn’t specify the different SSRIs. So we don’t know whether one particular drug may raise fracture risk more than another.

But one thing is clear. This is yet another crucial reason to distinguish between clinical depression and plain old sadness.

We all get sad from time to time–I know I certainly do. But the only reason you should ever take antidepressant medications like this is if you can’t live your life without them. Or if you need them for a very short period of time to keep you afloat through a major trauma or crisis in your life.

Unfortunately, I would guess that these truly clinically indicated situations are far less common than current statistics on SSRIs would lead anyone to believe.

So once again, I feel it’s my duty as a doctor to speak out about this. Sad people need lifestyle changes, perhaps some counseling, and maybe even a change of scenery–not drugs.

And let’s not forget the power of nutritional supplements like SAM-e and 5HTP, high-dose fish oils, and our old friend St. John’s wort. (Which, I should note, has been clinically proven to work as well as SSRI treatment in cases of mild to moderate depression.)

When all is said and done, Mother Nature will always provide. We just need to know where to look. And that’s especially true this time of year, as winter creeps in, days get shorter, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) rears its ugly head.

In fact, I’ve devoted an in-depth discussion to exactly this topic in this month’s issue of my newsletter Logical Health Alternatives. If you struggle with SAD–or you know someone who does–consider