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Do Antidepressants Cause Permanent Brain Damage?


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I am afraid of taking the antidepressants I'm on now and wish to get off of them because I heard that cause brain damage. Many people think that they instead grow new brain cells and such. But here in this article, he says that this is flawed evidence. Also, there are reports of people who have had their lives destroyed by antidepressants who have had permanent anhedonia and many other things as well from these medications.

Here is the article that talks about antidepressants causing brain damage:


Edited by MattMVS7
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I would be interested in knowing this also. After I attempted suicide in 2012 and was hospitalized for almost 3 months they put me on a bunch of medications. I am now on Celexa, Lamictial, Neurotin and Trazadone (which was just doubled). My home life is unbearable and there is no chance of me leaving or it getting better. I am extremely sad all the time and feel there is no way out of this stupor. I just started receiving Social Security Disability and found out Friday that because I make about $50.00 more than the poverty level ($972.50) that I no longer qualify for Medicaid. I have no idea how I'm to afford my insulin and needles now. At least the depression and anxiety drugs are under $20.00 a month. I go once a month to talk with a counselor but it feels like "same old, same old". I'm beginning to wonder if the medications are making me non-functional or am I just getting worse and need a whole new medication overhaul.

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Can't speak for anyone but myself of course, but I wouldn't be here without antidepressants. They worked when nothing else did. My suicidal thoughts disappeared. I felt stronger, slept better, regained my appetite, felt like myself again. Life became full and rich to me. It took on a range of vividness and color. The slowing of my mind ceased. It became quicker and sharper. I felt that it was good that I was alive and I saw the goodness of creatures. My sense of humor returned, my love of art and music.

Where before I had been drawn to the negatives and seen only negatives, after treatment with antidepressants I seemed to regain perspective, continuity, the full range and intensity of emotions. I saw the whole spectrum where before I only saw darkness. I had tried various kinds of psychotherapy before this and they were not enough to save me from suicidal ideation. I would say antidepressants were key in my recovery. To be quite honest, at my lowest point I would have accepted some brain damage if it had saved me from the living hell of depression. But I have not noticed any. The medication certainly bought me 40 more years than I would have had without it. I understand that all kinds of treatments can be dangerous. Actually all kinds of things in life can be dangerous. Being suicidal is very dangerous and I am not suicidal anymore. I would not generalize. I do not seek to validate or invalidate anyone else's experience. How could I? I can only speak for myself.

I recognize that bias can exist in anyone including myself. While every scientist tries to reduce their biases to the point of perfect objectivity, it is recognized that there can be publication bias, financial support bias, researcher bias and so on. There is not total scientific consensus even in pure theoretical mathematics. And I am not able to reduce the different views on depression to consensus without doing violence to the positions of the scientists themselves. In my own non-scientific field, there are often strong pressures to publish and get published. Sometimes it is easier to get published if one goes against the main stream on an issue. Sometimes an editor will not be impressed if one writes an article saying he or she agrees with the dominant view. So I try to keep an open mind on both the dominant views and the minority views of issues. As a non-scientist I try to look at things like sample size, duration of study, quality of study, biases, confounding variables that are taken into consideration or not and other limitations. Did a study sample 10,000 people who were followed over 30 years or did it sample 12 people over 6 months? Was it a blind study or a double blind study? Was it a cohort study. What do the dissenting scientists say? What is the strength of their evidence and logic. Sometimes one scientist will accuse another of having a financial interest in the outcome. Often all researchers are getting some type of payment even if it is only advancement in their field. I am not a scientist and cannot judge scientific depression research.

I can only speak for myself as one person among the trillions on the earth. I do not have a privileged perspective.

Edited by Epictetus
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How antidepressants boost growth of new brain cells (2011)

The hippocampus is one of just two brain regions known to grow new neurons throughout life - a process called neurogenesis. This process is disrupted in people with depression, although it is not known whether this is a cause or symptom of the condition. It is clear, however, that one of the ways that antidepressants work is by boosting neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

Antidepressants could help heal brain injuries (2011)

A new study found that antidepressants can help brain cells grow and survive after brain trauma, and can even lead to improved memory and brain function.

*note* study only done using a tricyclic antidepressant

Serotonin Receptors Offer Clues to New Antidepressants (2013)

Scientists have been trying to decipher serotonin receptors for years. Armed with information on the atomic level, they might now be able to make breakthroughs in drug discovery and in understanding how the physical structures of the brain produce consciousness, says Roth.

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Big yuck.

If you go the source, you may note an abundance of confusion between corollary and causative agents in Andrew's paper. Between review and experiential study. A highly-biased selection of literature from which they quote, indicating the opinion they want to publish (or the ax they mean to grind) before they've had time to state it. And "conclusions" not really supported by evidence presented. I have no doubt these are intelligent people, but the paper would not have made it out of my university graduate work group or committee.

But it's published in a peer-reviewed journal, right? I don't know. "Frontiers" was created and placed online (and only online) in 2010. A manuscript writer might submit the article and a high fee, and the "journal" farms out reviewers wherever it can with minimal investment. This format is called "PAY TO PUBLISH", and is not regarded very highly by modern science departments. Is it an appropriate label? I don't know, but I have to consider it. Some other info that may have bearing on "Frontiers" (but not saying anything about the quality of Andrews' paper):


The fact the publisher let a biased and (in my opinion) poorly-written article through suggests a lousy review process.

Which is a shame, because articles like these will inform, whether they are right or wrong.

More than a grain of salt is cautioned. I would dismiss ALL of it's claims altogether, the claims on their "published" paper, and just look at the true source material, free of Andrews' interpretation. Keeping it mind it's a purposefully limited selection of the available literature.

Edited by Saros
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