There is a valid reason your doctors don’t tell you about antidepressants and I’ll explain at the end, but our job at Old Town Hypnotherapy is to empower you to take control and make positive changes in your life.  Understanding about these things and how you can influence the outcome is part of that empowerment.  We believe it is important that you know how antidepressants work so you can get the most out of them.

I am not going to tell you NOT to take them and I’m certainly not going to tell you to stop taking antidepressants, you should always consult your doctor, but I am going to explain how you can help them work and how they can work to complement your own natural systems.

Modern antidepressants are called SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors).  Meaning they slow down the reabsorption rate of serotonin.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter we naturally produce when we’re doing the right things in life and is probably the most important neurotransmitter we talk about because:-

  • It helps us cope with whatever life chucks at us,
  • it motivates us,
  • it helps us deal with physical fear,
  • it makes us braver,
  • it helps us deal with pain,
  • it boosts our immune system and
  • it also puts us in the intellectual part of our brain where we can work out what needs to change, what needs to be different and solve problems.

The neurotransmitter serotonin is vitally important and we produce it naturally – we also reabsorb it.  It’s like we produce our own fuel, but we also use it up in the process of the day and so we have to keep producing it or we deplete to critical levels, aka ‘depression.’

Serotonin to float across from one brain cell to another to make connections and carry messages.  There is a part between the connections called a synaptic gap; the serotonin floats across and gets caught in receptors the other side.  The more receptors you have, the quicker the serotonin is absorbed so SSRIs ‘block’ some of the receptors and serotonin is kept hanging around in the synaptic gap a bit longer, making the positive connections between the brain cells stronger.

Serotonin is also our ‘happy’ chemical, you know that feeling of being on top of the world, you’ve got a bounce in your step, you just feel invincible, you can cope with anything life throws at you – that’s when you’ve got high levels of serotonin – it feels fantastic.

But you have to produce it!

When you are depressed, your serotonin levels have dipped below an acceptable level and the SSRIs are prescribed to help lift that level of serotonin back into normal parameters.  You are not taking seroton, the antidepressants just slow down the reabsorption rate of your naturally produced serotonin.

Antidepressants usually take 3-7 days to start working and you feel a bit better and do something positive:-

positive activity,

positive interaction

positive thinking

and you’ve created serotonin in the process, then you feel a bit better so you feel like doing something else.  You go up a level and your antidepressants hold you there, so you feel a better again, happier and move motivated so you do something else, then your antidepressants hold you there, and so on until you reach a level where you have sufficient serotonin floating around for your intellect to work out what needs to change, your brave enough to make new decision, can solve problems and slowly learn how to maintain and produce your own serotonin levels.

Now, if you’ve been on antidepressants for years and they don’t seem to be doing you any good or you’re afraid to come off them, it’s because you haven’t learned what you need to do to maintain those levels yourself.  You can learn, but you just haven’t learned how yet.

This is also why you can’t suddenly come off antidepressants, your serotonin levels would quickly plummet, you need to come off them slowly checking you are maintaining your own serotonin levels to an extent where the crutch of antidepressants are no longer needed.

Ultimately, in order to eliminate depression from your life, you need to learn how to create serotonin yourself.  This is something we all need to learn  – if you don’t or you don’t consciously know you’re not naturally creating serotonin you will need medication to help. We all can, and should learn because your natural serotonin is so much more powerful than any any medication or chemical you can take to simulate the effects.

One of the reasons doctors don’t tell you about this and how they work is because, if you were to go to an appointment at your lowest point of depression and the doctor tells you that you need to go out and take up jogging, get involved in activities, see people and give advice about what you ‘should’ be doing in life to produce your own serotonin, you might just think

“I’m not up to that, I just can’t do it, that’s why I’ve come to see you, I need help”

So the doctor’s magic placebo of ‘take this pill it will make you feel better’ does actually work because you believe your doctor, you take the medication and in a few days you feel better.

The problem is, if you don’t then learn how to maintain your own better mood you get hooked on the antidepressants believing that you need medication in order to cope with life.

There is an eGuide being released next week called ‘You don’t have to ‘live with’ depression’ that explains more about how to produce your own serotonin and it is also in Week 5 of Goodbye Anxiety, Adios Depression, the 6 Week Video Course for curing anxiety and depression.

If you are taking antidepressants, you can make them work better and quicker by understanding what you need to do to produce and maintain serotonin levels and, with your doctors advice, you can start to reduce them and even come off medication altogether – wouldn’t that be lovely :-).