In “Depression can be fun”, Helen McNallen talks about the role of antidepressants, which she refers to as “the happy pills”, and how so many people assume they will take their problems away. Helen emphasises the fact that antidepressants don’t make people happy. She says that they may lessen the symptoms of depression, but if taken alone without an accompanying therapy they seldom work. Antidepressants, according to Helen, can be useful to some people by lifting severe depression symptoms; however, when the medication is stopped most people have a relapse and find themselves back to square one.
According to Dr Dozois, The key in treating depression is not in taking antidepressants, because drugs are not a long term solution. The key is in teaching patients to change their way of thinking.
He believes people have such high expectations of the antidepressants that they stop trying to understand the condition or look for alternative solutions.
Antidepressants, like Prozac and others, can have terrible side-effects, like suicidal tendencies, anxiety, agitation, confusion, weakness, symptoms of low blood sugar, as well as insomnia, weight gain and bizarre dreams.
After being on antidepressants for 10 years with no difference in her condition, Helen asked her doctor to take her off them and was advised to take an Omega-3 supplement daily. She then started taking omega 3 fish oil ‘Vegepa’ which contains the purest form of EPA, along with vitamin B6, B9, B12, and zinc, which made a big difference to treating her depression.
Helen’s book is a delightful, and easy to read story of her journey through depression. The book highlights the various changes she made to her lifestyle en route, the treatments that failed, and the treatments that worked.