“Depression, Antidepressants and Exercise”
One in five Americans, over the age of 12 years, suffers from depression and 11% of the U.S. population over the age of 12 are on antidepressant medication. Recently, the FDA issued a “Public Health Advisory” that warned citizens about the risks associated with the whole new generation of antidepressants including Prozac and its knock offs, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, and Lexapro, as well as Wellbutrin, Effexor, Serzone, and Remeron. The FDA warned that such antidepressant drugs might increase suicides in a small percentage of children and adults. Sadly, little attention has been given to the FDA’s additional warning that certain behaviors are “known to be associated with these drugs,” including “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania.” These and similar effects are a result of their impact on a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin (the “happiness” neurotransmitter). The most common class of antidepressants block serotonin reuptake or reabsorption (SSRIs).