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The Depressing Truth About SSRIs

why psychedelic therapy must REPLACE modern psychiatry rather than simply complement it

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




April 17, 2020

Open letter to MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies:

I keep hearing MAPS researchers use the phrase "those who don't respond to regular anti-depressants" when talking about clinical trials. This gives the impression that anti-depressants usually work just fine, but that is just plain wrong - although psychiatrists have been paid millions by Big Pharma to go on shows like "Oprah" and say otherwise.

If such pills are really the silver bullets they are purported to be, why is America more depressed than ever, statistically speaking, decades after these silver bullets hit the market?

Many of these medications are highly addictive and harder to kick than heroin! Heroin can be beat in one grueling week. Anti-depressants can take months as the brain chemistry attempts to return to normal. Some of these meds can NEVER be stopped. I wanted to get off of Effexor, but my doctor told me not to bother because recidivism rates are over 95% after three years.

{^About one in eight men and one in four women are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, according to psychiatrist Julie Holland. And now the pharmaceutical companies are going after the toddler market. This is a huge but silent scandal, especially when you consider Robert Whitaker's finding that antidepressants actually CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.}{

And yet MAPS researchers are silent on these issues. I can only guess that Big Pharma's influence is keeping them from recognizing the obvious. MAPS researchers should be pushing for psychedelic therapy to REPLACE modern antidepressants, not simply to eke out therapy for those supposedly rare cases that can't be "helped" by these deliberately addictive drugs (these annuities for Big Pharma executives).

And what do we even mean when we say that an antidepressant "works"? In the book "Psychedelic Medicine," Dr. Richard Louis Miller tells the story of a reporter who wrote a first-person story about Prozac. The reporter was bullish on the drug at first, saying that the medicine was definitely making him happier. But then he went to a family funeral and found to his horror that he felt nothing at all. Was Prozac working? You might say yes, it was working all too well. (This is not a surprise, since American psychiatry has a long history of defining "cures" as "treatments that render the patient more docile," as opposed to "treatments that help the patient achieve self-fulfillment in life.")

Anti-depressants are working great for Big Pharma, of course, bringing in $40 billion a year. They are swimming in dough from monthly purchases by addicts. But those who take the drugs are turned into eternal patients and are guinea pigs for substances that were never properly trialed for lifetime use. Worse yet, such patients are ineligible for participation in most new psychedelic therapies for fear of Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome.

MAPS researchers should start speaking truth to power and tell Big Pharma that its whole pill-mill approach to psychiatry is wrong. As a victim of the status quo, I for one would appreciate to hear someone in the field actually recognizing that "eternal patients" like myself exist. I don't expect I'll ever get an apology from the psychiatry business for addicting me for a lifetime to a mind-numbing drug (one that offers no self-insight whatsoever), but it would be nice if someone in the field would at least acknowledge that there is a problem here.

That's why I won't be fully happy with MAPS until they start promoting psychedelic therapy as a REPLACEMENT for the status quo, rather than as a mere helpful adjunct for the Big Pharma pill mill.



July 12, 2022




Where are the conspiracy theorists when we need them? They could at least open our minds to some disturbing possibilities. Like, for instance, I sometimes wonder if Prozac wasn't designed to turn folks into neo-liberals. I know my own politics veered right after a few years of Prozac use. This was the same time that my musical skills decreased, at least when it came to playing in natural sync with my fellow musicians. There suddenly seemed to arise a new brief but destructive mental step of conscious reflection between the impulse and the act, rendering me nervous and uncertain in circumstances in which the thought of nervousness had never occurred before.

Of course, unlike the Drug Warrior, I know that one swallow does not make a summer, so perhaps the mental changes described above can be explained without reference to Prozac. My only point here is that no one seems to be considering the possibility that antidepressants are changing personalities in ways that are not necessarily consistent with the interests of the antidepressant user. Of course the silence is to be expected, since the moneyed interests support a media narrative that turns SSRIs into whole milk. And as with whole milk, all reported downsides are blamed on the user, not on the substance. Can't handle milk? Why, you freak! You must be lactose-intolerant! Can't handle a given SSRI? No problem, we just have to keep weaning you off and on different KINDS of SSRIs until we find the one that's "right" for you.

Speaking of which, it's the new feminine small talk: what meds are you on? How many? How long have you been taking it? Do you think you'll switch to another SSRI any time soon?

And this in a country that is trying desperately to get Americans to say no to drugs? 1 in 4 American women are on multiple drugs every day of their life and the Drug Warrior pretends to not notice as they advocate 20-year jail terms for folks who reach down and use the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet.




Next essay: The War on Plants
Previous essay: The Joy of Drug Testing

More Essays Here


ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Antidepressants in the time of the drug war are like cars in a time when combustion engines are outlawed. Such "cars" may bounce you from point A to point B somehow, but we wouldn't be taking them seriously except for the prohibition on combustion engines. Re-legalize NATURE!
America's "health" system was always screaming at me about the threat of addiction from drugs. Then what did it do? It put me on the most dependence-causing meds of all time: SSRIs and SNRIs.
Here's one problem that supporters of the psychiatric pill mill never address: the fact that Big Pharma antidepressants demoralize users by turning them into patients for life.
Rather than protesting prohibition as a crackdown on academic freedom, today's scientists are collaborating with the drug war by promoting shock therapy and SSRIs, thereby profiting from the monopoly that the drug war gives them in selling mind and mood medicine.
There are endless drugs that could help with depression. Any drug that inspires and elates is an antidepressant, partly by the effect itself and partly by the mood-elevation caused by anticipation of use (facts which are far too obvious for drug warriors to understand).
But materialist puritans do not want to create any drug that elates. So they go on a fool's errand to find reductionist cures for "depression itself," as if the vast array of human sadness could (or should) be treated with a one-size-fits-all readjustment of brain chemicals.
In his book "Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers," Ross Heaven explains how "salvinorin A" is the strongest hallucinogen in the world and could treat Alzheimer's, AIDS, and various addictions. But America would prefer to demonize and outlaw the drug.
Getting off antidepressants can make things worse for only one reason: because we have outlawed all the drugs that could help with the transition. Right now, getting off any drug basically means become a drug-free Christian Scientist. No wonder withdrawal is hard.
To put it another way: in a sane world, we would learn to strategically fight drugs with drugs.
That's my real problem with SSRIs: If daily drug use and dependency are okay, then there's no logical or truly scientific reason why I can't smoke a nightly opium pipe.
I never said that getting off SSRIs should be done without supervision. If you're on Twitter for medical advice, you're in the wrong place.
I would want to be supervised myself -- but by someone who is free to use any other drugs in the world to help me get off drugs that have failed to work adequately but which have caused great dependence.
Psychiatrists keep flipping the script. When it became clear that SSRIs caused dependence, instead of apologizing, they told us we need to keep taking our meds. Now they even claim that criticizing SSRIs is wrong. This is anti-intellectual madness.
For those who have misunderstood me: I have no complaints about prescribing SSRIs for those already on them, if that's what the user (like myself) wants. The psychiatrists I strongly disagree with are those who claim that SSRIs are valuable in and of themselves.
PSYCHIATRY AND THE DRUG WAR

We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
"I can take this drug that inspires me and makes me compassionate and teaches me to love nature in its byzantine complexity, or I can take Prozac which makes me unable to cry at my parents' funeral. Hmm. Which shall it be?" Only a mad person in a mad world would choose SSRIs.
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
Imagine the Vedic people shortly after they have discovered soma. Everyone's ecstatic -- except for one oddball. "I'm not sure about these experiences," says he. "I think we need to start dissecting the brains of our departed adherents to see what's REALLY going on in there."

essays about
ANTIDEPRESSANTS

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Why SSRIs are Crap
Sending Out an SOS
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me
Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment
Lord Save us from 'Real' Cures
Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination
Disease Mongering in the age of the drug war
The War on Drugs and the Psychiatric Pill Mill
Psychiatrists Tell Me That It's Wrong to Criticize Antidepressants
Stigmatize THIS
So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI...

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America's Puritan Obsession with Sobriety
America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association:
Christian Science Rehab
Depressed? Here's why.
Electroshock Therapy and the Drug War
How Psychiatry and the Drug War turned me into an eternal patient
In Praise of Doctor Feelgood
In praise of doctor hopping
MDMA for Psychotherapy
Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism
The Drug War and Electroshock Therapy
The Myth of the Addictive Personality
The Prozac Code
Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans
Doctor Feel Bad
Psychedelics and Depression
Drug Use as Self-Medication
This is your brain on Effexor
Depression is real, says the APA, and they should know: they cause it!
The Mental Health Survey that psychiatrists don't want you to take
Don't Worry, Be Satisfied
America's Great Anti-Depressant Scam
The Origins of Modern Psychiatry
Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me
Lord Save us from 'Real' Cures
Disease Mongering in the age of the drug war
The War on Drugs and the Psychiatric Pill Mill
What Jim Hogshire Got Wrong about Drugs
Tapering for Jesus
America's Anti-scientific Standards for Psychotherapeutic Medicine
How the Drug War turned me into an eternal patient
The Whistle Blower who NOBODY wants to hear
It's the Psychedelics, Stupid!
So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI...

essays about
REPLACING PSYCHIATRY WITH WESTERN SHAMINISM

There Must Be Some Misunderstanding
Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism
Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans
Alexander Shulgin: American Hero
Ignorance is the problem, not drugs
Let's Hear It For Psychoactive Therapy
The Naive Psychology of the Drug War
The Origins of Modern Psychiatry



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You have been reading an article entitled, The Depressing Truth About SSRIs: why psychedelic therapy must REPLACE modern psychiatry rather than simply complement it, published on April 17, 2020 on AbolishTheDEA.com. For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)