Do Depression Drugs Work?

woman exercise cartoon

STUDIES COME and studies go, and it seems that on any given topic, some will come to opposite conclusions.

A bit confounding when you’re seeking “expert” guidance about something, particularly when that something involves your health.

Which brings me to a study about antidepressants published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. It provides evidence that says, antidepressants, on average, may be little more effective than sugar pills in treating depression.

(More about the study here.)

Wasn’t it actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise who infamously, strenuously argued to this effect when criticizing Brooke Shields for using Paxil to help with postpartum depression?

Well, like I implied, seems that most any viewpoint has some scientific article to support it, and now Mr. Cruise has his.

In any event, the point of this post is not to delve into whether antidepressants are ineffective or not, but to suggest that — with the support of our doctor — we evaluate the use of non-pharmaceuticals to help manage our state of mind.

My bias is to turn to nature.  I guess I’m a non-pharmaceutical kinda guy.  And now, I’m about to wander in rough waters that are decidedly over my head.  So, take this with a grain of salt (water):  My thinking is to try nutraceutical supplements that could help with depression before jumping straight to pharmaceuticals that have unsavory side effects; drugs such as Lexapro, Effexor, Cymbalta, Zoloft, Paxil and the like.

If your doctor agrees, consider trying some omega-3 supplement like Krill Oil along with SAM-e.

The Krill Oil has a phospholipid form of omega-3 which is absorbed faster and more efficiently than the triglyceride form typically found in fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are reputed to help with stress, promote heart health and lubricate joints. (Read this on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and the London Cabbie study.)

SAM-e helps balance Dopamine & serotonin are neurotransmitters that control mood and pain. But that’s just for starters — SAM-e also helps support cartilage-producing cells, and produces glutathione for detoxification, while replenishing the liver’s own SAMe supply.

I’ve written about both these supplementshere here, and suggest you take look.

Oh, that cartoon at the top of the post was selected for a reason, which is to underscore the value of exercise in positively influencing your state of mind.  The hurdle is that when we’re depressed, it’s very hard to reengage in healthy behaviors, let along introduce them if they’ve never been a part of our lives.

Let’s imagine, though, that whether by sheer force of will, or an incoming tide of dopamine, you can take some steps toward the treadmill (or whatever).  The Mayo Clinic has some good news about why you should try right here.

Last Updated on February 27, 2022 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 7 comments
Lisa Morgan - February 10, 2011

I agree studies come and study go, as time pass by we can witness new studies popping out some things might be useful in the past are considered harmful now a days. This is why I believe in the saying nothing is permanent but change, well getting back to the topic, krill oil sure do have a lot of benefits for one’s health check out this article to find out more about krill oil benefits…. Krill oil could help an individual to fight depression for this supplement can help to improve one’s mood and it can also help to improve brain function. Besides of omega 3 fatty acids krill oil also.

    Joseph Garma - February 11, 2011

    Yep, this is pretty conclusive. Fish oil is good and Krill Oil is better… more potent.

    There was a study showing how fish oil reduces stress among London Taxi providers which I refer to here:…/

      Lisa Morgan - February 11, 2011

      Thanks for the link, gotta read it now

Toniroberts - August 5, 2011

from what I’ve read, fish oil also gets rancid much easier since it gets oxidized easily, unlike krill oil. here’s a video that has info about omega 3 and krill oil : I really thought eating fish was good enough as a source of omega 3, but it turns out that fish has a chance of being contaminated with metals. check out the video if you have time.

    Joseph Garma - August 5, 2011

    My perspective is that anything that can spoil or be contaminated needs to be handled with preventing such in mind.  Krill oil can go rancid as well as the generic fish oil, and the plant-based omega-3 sources, such as flax and chia seeds.
    The key is to find a manufacturer that does it right.


wellbutrin recall - October 18, 2011

Mending depression starts with positive daily lifestyle choices. If you nurture supportive relationships, confront perverse thoughts, and cultivate your physical health, you can help yourself, gradually and for sure, overcome your depression.

    Joseph Garma - October 19, 2011

    I’m hardly an expert on the matter, but although I think your suggestions are sound, the problem is that when depressed, a person often can not do what they may know would be good for them to do.



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