Depression, Anti-Depressants and Health

The very word depression causes red flags to be raised – some people feel that it is not really a medical condition and that’s up to the individual to pull themselves out of this condition; others know that it’s not that easy to relieve clinical depression and that medication and therapy go a long way in helping people manage their symptoms and lead a near-normal life. Even so, we tend to accord a wide berth to people with depression – after all, it’s a kind of mental illness, isn’t it?

Yes, it is mental in that it affects the brain and causes chemical imbalances which in turn affect your mood. But if you knew that people who have been prescribed anti-depressants stand a better chance at good heart health than you, if you knew that depression would make you feel better about yourself after a cosmetic surgery, would it change the way you perceived depression?

Researchers at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood have found that certain antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) reduced the risk of platelets (the tiny blood cells that are involved in the process of clotting) lumping together and so boost heart health. This means that patients with depression who are normally at a higher risk for heart disease stand to benefit by the ingestion of SSRIs.

Also, if you’re on anti-depressants, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the results of your cosmetic surgery. Sounds funny and unrelated? No, not if you were to believe a study conducted at the University of Michigan which found that patients who were in therapy or taking antidepressants for depression and who underwent a cosmetic surgery (such as a nose job) were much more likely to be satisfied with the results of the surgery than those who were not clinically depressed. The study also found that age, medical history, marital status, education and personality had a role to play in the level of satisfaction after a cosmetic procedure.

Another study conducted at the Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Iran, found that certain antidepressants helped women with a very low sex drive (known as hypoactive sex drive disorder) show improvement. Low sex drive is associated with depression or side effects from other medication.

A word of warning – even though antidepressants are proving to be beneficial in so many more ways than just helping to cope with and beat depression, it is not advisable to take them without a prescription or without valid reason.