Are Antidepressants the Real Killer?

October 8, 2017
Anna Jankowska, LCPC

By Anna Jankowska, MA, CEAP, SAP, LCPC

Anna Jankowska is a mental health, addiction, and substance abuse counselor with over 17 years of experience and has specialized training and skill in working with individuals, groups and communities to improve mental health outcomes. NPI number: 1598843526

Science and technology continues to be a progressive movement where the improvement of people, places, and things is inevitable. This includes the science behind mental health and the biological studies done on medication in hope to find the means of a cure for everything. Now, while medication and medical drugs have been proven to be beneficial in a majority of fields, an article written by Peter Simons says otherwise.

In his article, Antidepressants Increase risk of Death, Study Finds, suggests that antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of death, and otherwise increases the risk of heart problems. This article reflects the research done by Paul Andrews from McMaster University. According to Andrews, “In the general-population samples, antidepressants increased mortality risk by 33% and the risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event by 14%.” (Andrews, 1st paragraph). Additionally, it was proposed that those who were on antidepressant medication were more likely to have severe depression which would place them at a more severe risk regardless if they took the drugs. However, according to Andrews, the risk of death increased even more so when pre-medication depression was accounted for.

In light of all the research done on antidepressants and questioning the efficacy of the effects Andrews writes that “One possible explanation is that anti-depressant use only leads to a transient reduction in depressive symptoms under prolonged anti-depressant use.” Unfortunately, this leads to depressive symptoms lingering and antidepressants are combating these symptoms much longer than they would have lasted without the use of the drugs.

The next part of the article explains the ways antidepressants affect the major systems throughout the body. Blocking the transporters in the brain and serotonin reuptake inhibitors could potentially degrade many adaptive processes as a result. As a side note, anti-depressants did not appear to increase the risk for individuals who already obtained heart problems. In addition, antidepressants have been shown to improve impermanence in cardiovascular patients, shown in previous studies.

In summary, the results of the studies done showed how some anti-depressants can actually serve as an anticlotting effect, which can be extremely helpful for those who have cardiovascular/heart problems. However, it’s important to recognize that this effect can be problematic for those who do not at have any cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, anti-depressants are likely to inhibit clotting and increase risk of cardiovascular problems, especially those with abnormal bleeding. As a result, the researchers of these studies strongly suggest that doctors should take time and care before prescribing.


Maslej, M. M., Bolker, B. M., Russell, M. J., Eaton, K., Durisko, Z., Hollon, S. D. . . . Andrews, P. W. (2017). The mortality and myocardial effects of antidepressants are moderated by preexisting cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis. Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics, 86(5), 268-282. DOI: 10.1159/000477940

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