Whether you know it or not, many of your friends are taking antidepressant or mood stabilizing medication. Abilify, Seroquel, and Cymbalta are the 4th, 6th and 8th top selling drugs in our country. Now, don't get me wrong, there are many people with serious mood disorders that need these meds, and also plenty of people who are going through a rough time and might temporarily need antidepressants to keep them afloat. But the average person should only need these medications temporarily, and instead find themselves taking Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Cymbalta and others for years without ever having a discussion with their doctor about when and how to get off them.
Most people taking antidepressants experience weight gain, low sex drive, brain fog, and low energy. However, most people do not see the connection between connection between long-term antidepressant use and these symptoms, but I do. Over time, these drugs cause an overall depletion of serotonin, dopamine and/or norepinephrine in your brain, and that is why you become dependent on the medication and why it is hard to get off. In addition, these drugs have undesirable side effects like the ones mentioned above.
However, this does not mean you cannot stop. I love helping people get off their meds, it is one of my favorite jobs. The main strategy is to support and boost neurotransmitters’ levels with food and supplements, while at the same time making a plan to taper very slowly off the prescription—your prescribing doctor or psychiatrist can supervise the tapering off process. We always should work together as a team. Of course, this plan is for when you feel ready, and for when the tough time you went through has passed.
From a Functional Medicine approach, there are many other components to having a good mood, and so in addition to supporting serotonin, we go through a checklist. Here are the top 2 foundational causes of most mood issues:
- Food and Nutrients: How and what you eat every day has a huge impact on mood. In addition, many nutrients are needed to improve your mood neurotransmitters like serotonin. If you are deficient in any of these, you can feel blue and depressed. This is very simple to fix.
- Adrenals: These glands make neurotransmitters, too, notably the catecholamines that are supported when you take Wellbutrin. Healthy adrenals will help you be more focused, upbeat, and put a pep in your step. It is important to manage your stress to keep both you and your adrenals happy.
When you are ready, we are here to help you achieve your goals. We know you can do it because we've already helped hundreds of people make this transition off their medication. Now it's your turn!