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SSRIs Virtually Ineffective For Anxiety And Depression

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: June 23, 2020


A few weeks ago, a study found that SSRI medications were virtually ineffective for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression because they were working backwards – instead of fixing the serotonin problem these medications were making it worse – which is now thought to be the reason the majority of people felt worse or experienced no benefit when taking an SSRI.

SSRIs generate multiple billions of dollars in sales each year.

Last week, another study showed the same issue – that SSRIs are working backward. Researchers led by Jeremy D. Coplan, MD, professor of psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, have published data in a recent edition of Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience suggesting that the majority of people with mood and anxiety disorders who take SSRIs are not helped.

Dr. Coplan explained that even with SSRI use, by the time serotonin metabolites are measured in a lumbar spinal tap, the usual way serotonin levels have been measured, “You have no difference from people who are healthy.”

He continues, “We have hypothesized in an earlier paper that this is a plausible reason why SSRIs may not work in a majority of people, because SSRIs will tend to make the high serotonin even higher in the raphe nucleus.”

“There is an epidemic of inadequately treated depression and psychiatrists are not well trained to deal with this challenge,” he observed. “What they often do is change from one antidepressant to another when there is a lack of response. Eventually the patient becomes non-compliant and the patient, rather than the treatment, is blamed for the non-efficacy.”



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Dr. Coplan went on to say that these two recent studies may explain why SSRI treatments are ineffective for the majority of people.

“Many academic researchers currently do not practice clinically, so they are out of touch with real-life patients and their struggles. In the meantime, suicide rates have not budged in decades,” Dr. Coplan.

The truth is, no one knows how psychotropic medications work. Not even their manufacturers (which is why the disclaimer reads: mechanism unknown). We believe it’s best to stay away from ‘medication cures’ for anxiety and depression, since anxiety and depression are not caused by biological or medical reasons.

Dealing with anxiety’s core issues – the behaviors and situations and circumstances that motivate apprehensive behavior – is the most effective and safest way to overcome a struggle with anxiety unwellness. Every other option, including medication, only attempts at managing symptoms but nothing to address the cause.


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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


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