I have also asked that question as I have heard a lot of different things about prescription drugs that are unnerving. I browsed the article and although didn't read it full (I have a hard time focusing through a long read) - but I get the jist of what he's saying. I'll comment more on the subject at hand than the article itself, as I've thought about this a lot myself...
I've heard many things about the pharmaceutical companies themselves and how the media will take ONE case of a bad reaction to herbs and have it sloshed across every paper, newscast etc., but will then ignore the 200 or however many bad reactions of people to a certain drug. So the media works together with the pharmaceutical corporations who want the monopoly on selling medication/herbs to people.
Many things have come out over the years re. pharmaceutical companies and things the FDA deems as 'safe' etc. which, in reality, weren't in the best interest of the consumer but the companies. So yes, agree with the article that there is a lot of cover up and irresponsible behavior within these companies. I do believe that the world of medication is first and foremost about making money - they are no different than other corporations. For this reason alone it's important to do your own research before starting any kind of medication. However, this does not mean ALL medications should be feared/avoided. But it's best to make informed decisions and if possible, choose a natural solution as natural alternatives are much easier for the body to handle than meds.
My husband is on anti-depressants - celexa and wellbutrin. He has tried to quit many times because he describes that 'emotionless empty' feeling while on them. I have encouraged him address the depression with diet and supplements as he's expressed the desire for a natural alternative, but he doesn't have the discipline for that right now (re. diet/lifestyle changes needed), so in his case, medication has been a helpful tool. Nonetheless, he also desires to get off them and go natural. I do personally feel that if someone has the time, dedication and money there are other alternative to treating depression than prescription drugs. On the other hand, if you trust your doctor and do your own research, then you can make an informed and hopefully safe decision about which medications to take or stay away from. But there again, I have read about where even doctors who mean well and are good doctors are simply really ill informed by their sources about certain anti-depressant meds., which puts it back into the patient's lap to do the research.
I have not taken medication for depression because in my case it's not been severe enough that I absolutely had to. But I do know that when I address diet and exercise even the 'manageable depression' I have at times is much improved. On a practical note, I came on this forum a couple years ago and a member had posted about rhodiola for depression. It's an herb. She had great success with it. So I tried it, and noticed a change within days. Depression bye bye. Rhodiola addresses the adrenal glands for one thing, so if depression is caused by burn out, it could help. For me, it worked to a point, but then I had some other health problems that caused depression, so I needed to address that with other things added. However, the rhodiola still helped with calming my nerves and I noticed being in busy noisy public places was no longer bothering me. So this is one herb that might be worth exploring. It's always important if you are on any medication to check with an informed pharmicist or your dr. to make sure it's safe to take the herb along with the meds. at hand.
Mainly, if you want to find an alternative that is effective and safe, the best thing to do would be to find a qualified naturopathic doctor. Make sure you find one who actually has a degree and is not just a 'holistic health professional' or whatever. They should have gone to university for a bachelors and then to naturopathic school. ND's are trained doctors but will treat you using natural things like diet, herbs, vitamins as their first means of addressing symptoms. Depression is caused by many things, and I assume and ND would locate the physiological cause/areas effected and go from there. Even if not always possible to avoid meds., a natural approach can help cut down on the amount of meds. needed and an ND might be able to help with what is actually the safest meds. out there if a natural approach isn't doing the job.
A natural approach will spare you the toxic effects of meds. on the liver and overall body. However, if your body is strong, and yo you are taking gentle anti-depressents, and particuarly, short term ones, I wouldn't personally worry about that. There are toxic aspects with almost everything nowadays, but I did want to mention that because it is good to know that though meds. help in some ways, they can also be hard on the body in others.
Re. the article, I thought it was okay from what I read. You'll find some people are really 'anti-medication' and they take it to an extreme and try to make ALL medication look bad and unnecessary etc. When you come across opinions that are this biased, they fail to present a proper perspective and rather than being informative are more fear provoking than anything. There is a lot to wade through out there. And you can't get the whole picture from just one article. So I would say to keep on digging for information and over time you'll have more information to base your own informed decisions upon. Reading from various sources will help you find balance in things.
On a practicle note 5-HTP can be a good natural product for mild to moderate depression. Here again though, check with your doctor if you are on any meds. Read about possible side effects (even herbs etc. MAY have some side effects) I took it for awhile and it seemed to help. It is a natural seratonin booster. St. John's Wort and Valerian are other possibilities to read up on.
Personally I always go natural whenever possible, but in times when I or my husband have needed something more for various health areas, I have been grateful for the relatively safe medication options availalbe. Just do your research and make the best choices in your means.
All the best,
Post Edited (manyembers) : 12/30/2008 5:36:10 PM (GMT-7)