Pill popping seems to be the easiest thing to do in the world, especially when trying to drive away our blues. But a study says the habit may backfire.
Evolutionary psychologist Paul Andrews of McMaster University points out that patients on anti-depressants are likely to invite more cycles of depression.
His meta-analysis suggests that people not popping pills are at a 25 per cent risk of relapse, compared to 42 per cent or higher for those who have taken and gone off an anti-depressant, reports the journal Frontiers of Psychology.
Andrews and colleagues analysed dozens of previously published studies to compare outcomes for patients who used anti-depressants against those who used placebos, according to a McMaster’s statement.
Andrews says anti-depressants interfere with the brain’s natural self-regulation of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, and that the brain can over-correct once medication is suspended, triggering new depression.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals which help transmit signals from one neuron to another across synapses (junctions of such brain cells).
Andrews believes depression may actually be a natural and beneficial -- though painful -- state in which the brain is working to cope with stress.