Much has been said about SSRI’s and their effects over the years but in this post I would like to raise the issue of SSRI’s and ‘emotional blunting‘. When I was on Seroxat I often felt numb and completely disconnected from my emotions, looking back I realize it had nothing to do with my depression (for which I was originally prescribed Seroxat for). If anything, Depression deepens emotions and intensifies feelings to a very high level of sensitivity. With depression- emotions are felt deeply. There is a huge sense of apathy in depression, but with that comes a good sense of empathy for suffering- both with your own and that of those around you. You might not feel able to help others, or yourself when you are depressed, but you are definitely very much aware of emotion and feelings, in fact often this can be hyper-awareness. With SSRI’s it’s different, your feelings and emotions get completely suppressed, you become disconnected from how you feel, you don’t really care how you feel, everything feels kind of muddled and the longer you are on them, the more un-empathetic you become-for yourself and those around you.
This is what they call ‘Emotional Blunting’. SSRI’s actually induce this effect very quickly upon treatment. Your emotions are literally blunted on an SSRI, they are suppressed, unclear, dampened and confused. SSRI’s are actually designed for this effect and it is this effect that psychiatrists depend on to claim that SSRI’s are useful for depression and anxiety. When presented with an emotional, depressed, anxious, upset or volatile patient, the psychiatrist seeks first to anesthetize the symptoms. SSRI’s are actually thymoanaesthetics, they don’t improve mood but rather blunt it or numb it. While, of course this might seem like a good solution in the short term, in the long term it is nothing short of chemical lobotomization. By removing the patients ability to experience their emotions in real-time, the emotions get suppressed, and of course when anything is suppressed, it begins (very quickly) to fester.
Numbing is not healing and anesthetics do not cure a wound although they might provide the temporary relief and illusion by removing the symptoms of immediate pain. Often post-SSRI ‘treatment’ many people feel worse than before the SSRI. This is not because their ‘depression or anxiety has returned’, this is mainly because of the SSRI withdrawal affect and also because their original problems were not dealt with. If a chemical lobotomy is what psychiatry considers the best option for depression then psychiatry clearly does not understand what depression is. Depression is primarily an emotional response. If there are chemical changes (such as changes in dopamine or serotonin production etc) these changes are no different than the changes that happen in conjunction with any emotive response- such as the increase in cortisol and adrenaline from stress, fear, anger etc. These changes in brain chemicals are not abnormal and SSRI’s are crude implements at best. A ‘chemical’ cannot replace the loss of a childhood, the stress of a divorce or any of the general life events that happen to us. These life events will continue to happen and SSRI’s are not the answer.
So are SSRI’s an effective treatment for depression? Isn’t this the old question that we keep asking ourselves?
Personally, having experienced over 3 years on an SSRI, I would have to say, not at all. In fact, while I was in the throes of Seroxat withdrawal, I prayed that I could have my original depression instead of the absolute horror my body and mind were enduring at that time. While I was on Seroxat, I was far from cured and my mood swings were all over the place. Depression, is quite literally like disneyland compared to a severe Seroxat withdrawal, and even when I was on the drug, I never felt quite right, actually I often felt very wrong. SSRI’s are one of the biggest con jobs in History, and I feel that in about 50 years time, when humanity has evolved past the primitive psychiatric paradigm that now covets ‘mental health’, society and history will look back on the SSRI age as completely barbaric, unsound and unscientific.