Permanent Brain Damage From Antidepressant Medicine

Page 1 of 1 [ 8 posts ] 

Fragile
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

User avatar

Joined: 14 Feb 2011
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Posts: 21

28 Feb 2011, 4:16 pm

I'm not certain whether this is the correct forum section for this question. I apologize for any inconvenience. Anyway:

Could SSRIs damage the brain and permanently impair cognitive abilities, i.e. intelligence or emotional stability? In case the possibility exists, how would the biochemically and neurologically deteriorating process function?

Would it be different for other types of antidepressants such as MAOIs and TCAs?

I personally do not mind any temporary side effects from this kind of medicine even if they are absolutely horrible. I'm significantly more worried about any permanent damage. My psychiatrist suggested a rather high dose of Escitalopram, however I'm not prepared to accept the treatment yet due to the concerns mentioned above.

I haven't been successful in finding any well-documented information or scientific research papers on the subject yet. I was hoping someone could enlighten me further - either by writing a comment in this thread or posting links to an appropriate source regarding neurotoxicity in antidepressants.

I'm aware that severe depression in itself definitely causes a relative degree of brain damage, however it should be weighed against any possible neurotoxicity of antidepressant medicine as well.

I'm quite concerned about methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine as well, but I'll let that rest for now. Feel free to discuss, though.



Ambivalence
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 8 Nov 2008
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,643
Location: Peterlee (for Industry)

28 Feb 2011, 5:46 pm

I was told long term use of some of the older antidepressants could lead to serious and permanent problems like loss of fine motor control.


_________________
No one has gone missing or died.

The year is still young.


psych
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,665
Location: w london

28 Feb 2011, 5:54 pm

i have heard about the possiobility of permanent anhedonia developing with SSRIs and/or amphetamines. something to do with neurotoxicity perhaps.



Kaybee
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Oct 2009
Age: 34
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,446
Location: A hidden forest

28 Feb 2011, 6:50 pm

psych wrote:
i have heard about the possiobility of permanent anhedonia developing with SSRIs and/or amphetamines. something to do with neurotoxicity perhaps.

That's a frightful thought.


_________________
"A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it."


Silhouette-Song
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 17 Nov 2010
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Posts: 191
Location: Canada

28 Feb 2011, 7:37 pm

D: Well this is scary.


_________________
So why care for these petty obsessions? Your designer heart still beats with common blood.
~Grave Robber, Repo! Genetic Opera.


CockneyRebel
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Posts: 103,720
Location: Hanging out with my fellow Sweet Peas at Stalag 13

28 Feb 2011, 9:33 pm

That also scares the wits out of me.


_________________
Schultz

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=26&start=645


886
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,013
Location: SLC, Utah

28 Feb 2011, 10:07 pm

With every medicene their carries a risk of side effects. I've taken anti-depressants for 9 years (god forbid I badly need them) and I've never read of such a thing or even expereicned it for that matter.

I mean I've been on the same drug for... what, 4 years almost, and I don't really feel like I'm experiencing anything like that.

yet 8O


_________________
If Jesus died for my sins, then I should sin as much as possible, so he didn't die for nothing.


Fragile
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

User avatar

Joined: 14 Feb 2011
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Posts: 21

01 Mar 2011, 1:34 am

DR. CHENEY ON SSRI’S AND STIMULANTS: "FRYING" THE BRAIN
Written by Carol Sieverling, our group’s facilitator, this information is based on tapes of her October 2000 visit to Dr. Cheney. He gave permission to share
this information, but has not reviewed or edited it.

Dr. Cheney recently came across some information regarding the dangers of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s), such as Prozac, Zoloft and
Paxil, and stimulants like Ritalin and Provigil. During office visits, Dr. Cheney shows patients the book Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Other Antidepressants by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. It includes endorsements from other Ivy League psychiatrists. Cheney calls the implications of this book "staggering".

When talking with patients, Cheney usually opens the book to a picture of a monkey's brain before and after it received a very potent SSRI. The "before" photo shows a dark background filled with fine white lines and white blobs – healthy neurons. The "after" photo is very dark – only a few white lines and blobs remain. Most of the brain cells had been "fried".

SSRI’s and stimulants work by increasing the firing of neurons. While this often has great benefits in the short term, doctors are now realizing that long term use "fries" brain cells. The body views any neuron that fires excessively over time as damaged, and destroys it.

SSRI’s and stimulants, taken over a period of 10 years or so, can lead to a loss of brain cells, causing neurodegenerative disorders. Many doctors have recently seen a sudden increase in patients with neurological symptoms, and most have been on Prozac, or a similar drug, for about 10 years. Cheney is seeing this in his own practice.

During office visits, Cheney also shows patients a copy of the May 22, 2000 issue of Newsweek with Michael J. Fox on the cover. It has an excellent article on Parkinson's Disease, a condition that involves a loss of neurons in the area associated with motor control. Parkinson's drugs stimulate the remaining neurons to "perform heroically", firing excessively. However, the article notes that while benefits are seen initially, neurological symptoms get much worse at the three to five-year point. Patients experience wild involuntary movements, etc. These drugs, though helpful in the short term, actually speed up the degenerative process.

What mechanisms are at work causing neurons to be "fried"? SSRI’s are often prescribed for depression, which involves a lack of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter – a chemical messenger. One neuron releases a burst of it into the intersynaptic cleft, (the gap between neurons). The serotonin is then aken
up by special receptors in the adjacent neuron. Thus a message is sent from one neuron to another, with serotonin carrying the message across the gap. excess serotonin is cleared away before a new message is sent. A "reuptake channel" in one neuron vacuums up the left over serotonin.

SSRI’s are designed to address a lack of serotonin by blocking the reuptake channel from vacuuming up excess serotonin. While this allows more serotonin to connect with the receptors, often too much is left floating in the intersynaptic cleft. The only way the body can get rid of this excess serotonin is to oxidize it. Unfortunately, this turns it into a toxic compound that, over time, kills both the sending and receiving neurons. Cheney stated, "What starts out as an attempt to increase serotonin and reduce symptoms ends up with the destruction of the serotonergic system itself. It takes about a decade - more in some, less in others.

Now when the serotonergic nerves are dead, you start getting these motor neuron problems, which is what we're seeing." Cheney commented, "You know what a lot of doctors (who don’t understand CFIDS) are doing? They're saying 'Well, let's just give them an antidepressant.’ And they’re frying their patients') brains and they don't even know it. In fact, a CFIDS patient on one of these drugs fries their brain even faster than a non-CFIDS person." (See the article on Klonopin for an explanation.)

Cheney went on to say, "The other way some people with CFIDS are going is stimulating the brain, using drugs like Ritalin or Provigil. They do the same
thing - they fry the brain. They cause neurons to fire at lower stimulus by lowering the firing threshold. All stimulants are dangerous, especially over the long haul. I'm not saying that you might not find them useful in the short-term. But over the long term, the physiology demands that neurons that fire excessively be killed."

Cheney strongly urges anyone taking antidepressants or stimulants to read Glenmullen’s book. It lists safe alternatives to SSRI’s.

Studies found that 82% of the effect in antidepressants is placebo. Why even bother, then? And what if it becomes a necebo effect instead?