Antidepressants: One teen’s struggle with depression


Photo by Carsten Schertzer, taken on February 22, 2012, some rights reserved,,

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 13% of all Americans were on antidepressants as of 2012. Many Americans jump to a medicinal style of treatment to cure their depression without looking into the costly negative side affects that accompany antidepressants such as Zoloft or Prozac.

I used to struggle with depression. Negative, suicidal, and melancholic thoughts would consume my mind. I found myself unable to enjoy family and friends, and outdoor activities. I didn’t even want to leave my bedroom for the matter. The only comfort I had was my bed, wrapped up in my white sheets.

I felt hopeless. I believed that there was no point to living life. Life was just a meaningless game and I couldn’t get over the fact that we have no set purpose. I was lost, I didn’t know what to do, and I couldn’t help myself.

My parents quickly became concerned with my behavior. They would try to talk to me but I wouldn’t let them in. Nothing they were saying was getting through to me.

The next thing I know, my parents are driving me to a psychiatrist to get prescribed drugs; specifically Zoloft, an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class.

I thought antidepressants helped me. But now I look back on my experience with the drug and have realized that resorting to antidepressants has negatively impacted me in the long run.

I chose to go straight to drugs in order to experience a quick fix of my mental health. I wanted my depressive thoughts to be gone in the shortest amount of time possible. The American way right? I was only on the drug Zoloft for three months before I decided I had enough. The drug was corporate; unnatural. I believe that it changed my brain chemistry for the worse.

On the drug, I often felt unmotivated to do almost anything. Looking into it, I found that a common symptom of antidepressants is amotivational syndrome; a psychological conditioned associated with the lack of inspiration to participate.

All I wanted to do was sleep. I slept through all of my classes and never really retained any information that my teachers were teaching. I would sleep all day on weekends and would only get out of my bed to get food.

Conversely, I do respect the short term benefits that antidepressants provide to those in need. My lethargic attitude, persistent feelings of sadness, and loss of interest all went away upon use. My short-term goals were achieved, but the long term side effects were unwanted.

Off the drug, I’m now pinned in a place where I can neither experience total happiness or total sadness. I have symptoms of emotional blunting. If I had to describe what I feel on a day to day basis, I couldn’t tell you. I’m numb. I struggle today to remember what it was like to feel and experience. I feel like a zombie.

I’m no longer depressed. I’m just stuck. It’s annoying.

SSRIs alleviate symptoms of depression by preventing the reuptake of serotonin is the brain, which allows for serotonin to be more readily available. Serotonin can affect mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function. Serotonin is one of the most essential and important neurotransmitters in the brain.

Many believe that depression is caused by a lack of serotonin in the brain, but this claim is now considered a myth after many studies have shown that there is not a strong correlation between the two. Rather, scientists and researchers now admit that they do not know what exactly causes clinical depression and that they are still unsure of the link that exists between serotonin and the mood disorder.  

I believe that taking corporate drugs to end depression within a person is not the route to go. I believe that people should take the more natural route such as getting into a routine, exercising more often, setting goals, eat healthier, receiving an increased amount of sleeping, client-centered therapies, challenging negative thoughts, and trying new and exciting things that may help you get out of your depressive funk.

If I could go back in time, I would’ve convinced my parents to provide me with the opportunity to receive alternative, natural treatments and remedies for depression. I also want others to know that antidepressants aren’t always the answer. People can get through their depression without taking medication. It is possible. Let the medication be your last resort. Turn to them if only they are vital to your survival.


The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and contributors on this student-run news site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Lambert High School or Forsyth County Schools.