More than 250 million prescriptions for Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, Sarafem, Wellbutrin, Tofranil and other antidepressant drugs. That’s a lot of medicine.
What causes it?
Short answer: in women, commonly the onset of menopause; in others, elevated homocysteine levels in the brain.
How should women allay chemical mental depression?
Answer: estrogen acts as a natural inhibitor of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down a brain chemical called serotonin. [Cleveland Clinic] The onset of depression in women typically occurs in the period just prior to menopause, which is when prescriptions for antidepressants for females rise. [Depression Toolkit] While there are many MAO inhibiting drugs, women should either opt for an Rx for bio-identical hormones or take a natural MAO inhibitor like resveratrol (in a modest dose 100-250 mg). [European Neuropsychopharmacology June 2010]
High levels of homocysteine, an undesirable blood protein, appear to be the cause of many cases of mental depression. B vitamins are the antidote, but how many of these cases are prescribed inappropriate antidepressant drugs instead? [Annual Review Nutrition July 2016]
For unexplained reasons, probably public demand, almost 70% of people taking a major class of antidepressant drugs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have never suffered from major depression and do not meet the criteria for the pills. [Journal Clinical Psychiatry Jan 2015] Physicians appear to be using it as a convenient tool to get patients to return for prescription renewals. So the reported 11.9% prevalence of mental depression in the population at large, based upon prescriptions for the problem, appears to be bogus. [Journal General Internal Medicine 2008] One study found only 38.4% of adults surveyed met the criteria to take an antidepressant drug. [Psychotherapy Psychosomatics 2013]
Daytime sleepiness is another symptom of high homocysteine. [European Journal Internal Medicine June 2016]
A combination of B vitamins (B6, B12, folic acid) plus omega-3 fish oil is superior to B vitamins alone in lowering homocysteine. [Nutrition Research June 2016]