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Going Green from the Inside Out! Taper Safely off SSRI Antidepressants

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It is our common desire and goal to live naturally and in harmony with the Earth.  We want to be "green"!  However, in order to accomplish this, we must not only think of the environment outside of ourselves but becoming "green" inside too.  We must eliminate the pharmaceutical drugs we have become dependent on, for what is outside of ourselves is merely a reflection of what is inside.  We must start where we can make the most difference and that means going "within". 

Pesticides suppress weeds; Pharmaceuticals suppress symptoms.  Both are manufactured chemicals designed to suppress the undesirable, but at what cost?  Don't we prefer that our farmers "rely on crop rotation, crop residues, animal manures and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and and tilth to supply plant nutrients, to control weeds, insects and other pests"? [2]  Don't we all desire to eat organic produce?  Don't we want our animals to be treated with kindness but not filled with hormones and antibiotics?  The answer is unequivocally yes.   

According to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements [IFOAM], "the role of organic agriculture, whether in farming, processing, distribution, or consumption, is to sustain and enhance the health of ecosystems and organisms from the smallest in the soil to human beings."' [3] We must apply the same standard to ourselves.

SSRI Antidepressants

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Pharmaceutical drugs are chemicals and many of them, including SSRI Antidepressants, can be very dangerous.  For children, adolescents and young adults under the age of 25, SSRIs sport the FDA's most stringent label known as a "Black Box Warning" indicating the potential for death as a known "side-effect". [1]  Please note that this demarcation of age 25 is questionable in terms of how suicidal ideation would cease when a 24-year old turns 25.  There is no indication that these thoughts would stop. 

Would we give our children produce and meat with these same "beware of death" warnings?  We wouldn't even consider it. 

Tapering safely off SSRI antidepressants can be easier said than done.  As was explained to me by a prominent Harvard-trained psychiatrist and whistleblower, there is always a "bell-curve" [4] theory of statistics when dealing with how drugs affect patients.  Some will respond well to the drug while others will not.  Some will be able to taper off antidepressants while others will not.  If you are one of the lucky ones, you may be able to taper off your antidepressant under the guidance of your prescribing doctor.  If you are not so fortunate, you may be in for a surprise.

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According to an article by noted scientist and authority on drug safety, Thomas J. Moore, "More than 130 million prescriptions were written for all antidepressants last year." [5]  That number was quoted in 1999 for the year 1998.  After considerable research, I have been unable to find updated statistics that come close to this figure, nor have any of my colleagues.   Regardless, we can speculate that the number of prescriptions written in the United States 8 years hence must be significantly larger.   

Theoretically, we can perform a calculation using the "bell-curve" theory to identify a percentage of  how many of the 130,000,000  people taking SSRIs will be able to taper off the drug and how many will not.  If we conservatively estimate that 1/3 of 130,000,000 would not be able to taper off the drug, that would indicate that a staggering 43,333,000 million people cannot get off their antidepressant. Considering that we are using a statistic from 1999, it is likely that the estimate of almost 45,000,000 stuck on SSRIs is significantly higher.    Typically, prescriptions written for antidepressants increase yearly [6] inferring that there is an invisible pandemic of addiction to antidepressants.

Alternative Medicine = Alternative Fuel for the Body 

If you are on an SSRI, it is very easy to find out where you fall on this bell-curve, but this should not be done without the care and supervision of a qualified and experienced Medical Doctor specializing in Alternative Medicine. 

Using a metaphor for Alternative Medicine as being like Alternative Fuel is quite fitting.  Just as we want to avoid harming the Earth with petrochemicals, we want to avoid risk to our bodies with pharmaceuticals whenever possible. 

Alternative Medicine is defined as:  "Healthcare and treatment practices, including traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, folk medicine, and naturopathy, that minimize or eschew the use of surgery and drugs". [7]  Most psychiatrists know only how to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs for that is their training.  If one wants to eliminate their dependence on drugs, they must consult with a Medical Doctor with expertise in non-chemical therapies. 

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In order to Taper Safelyoff an antidepressant, a doctor must guide the individual by prescribing natural support such as homeopathy and amino acid therapy as the drug is reduced and eventually eliminated.    At the same time, it is critical for the MD to perform diagnostic testing to identify any underlying medical issues remaining that caused the individual to take an antidepressant initially.  These health issues may include:  food and environmental allergies, hormonal issues, heavy metal toxicities, candidasis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, low thyroid function, blood sugar issues and so on.  It is also important to have neurotransmitter testing even though there is controversy as to whether these tests exist or are reliable.   I have found them to be very informative and directive for my own taper and healing. 

Working with an Alternative Medical Doctor may also be complemented by aligning with a Naturopath with expertise in Nutritional Counseling.  One must eliminate any foods that may trigger allergic reactions and/or negative moods.  It has been found that Celiac disease can cause Psychosis and Schizophrenia [8], so please do not underestimate the power of the foods you are eating. 

"You can't repair and rebuild a living body with dead chemicals.  It simply isn't possible." [9]  Nature's nature is to heal.  Give the body what it needs and in nature's infinite wisdom, it will do the rest.

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