Unlike SSRIs, ketamine is non-addictive (when used as directed) and has few or no side effects. I made the mistake of starting on SSRIs/SNRIs decades ago, and I am now told that I can NEVER get off them, as the SNRI that I'm taking, Effexor, has a worse recidivism rate for withdrawal than heroin. (According to the NIH, 95% of those who quit Effexor are back on it within three years.) Yes, modern antidepressants made my life bearable: they helped me survive, but they stopped me from thriving, since they inhibit creativity and, in the long run, bring about what's called anhedonia, an inability to feel both highs and lows.
Remember, too, that we live in a world where all the good cures for depression are illegal, a world in which we've outlawed Mother Nature. The natural world around us is full of psychoactive plants that can bring peace of mind and personal understanding, substances like ayahuasca, and ibogaine, and psilocybin. Since these are outlawed, however, the depressed have nothing but a handful of addictive remedies from Big Pharma from which they can choose. Not only will you be paying for these meds for the rest of your life, but you'll become an eternal patient, having to travel to your psychiatrist every few months to be asked about your personal life, as the doctor dutifully writes out yet ANOTHER prescription for the same-old-same-old. I find that both depressing and disempowering. And I speak from 40 years of experience.
That's why I recommend ketamine. Although it is not a natural substance, it has some of the psychoactive properties of the natural substances that America has foolishly banned, and to repeat, it is not addictive when used in the recommended doses and at the recommended frequency. Above all, for some unknown reason, it is actually legal in the United States right now. (Someone at the DEA must have dropped the ball, since that organization is doing everything they can to block all non-addictive treatments for depression.)
I believe that U.S. medical care is slowly moving in the direction of treating depression with psychedelic substances from Mother Nature. You might be able to sign up as a participant in one of the ongoing clinical trials being held around the world, perhaps one that is studying psilocybin. If you become addicted to SSRIs, however, you will never be able to participate in this new health-care paradigm. This is because most modern anti-depressants cause serotonin toxicity syndrome if used in conjunction with psychedelic plants.
This is ironic because the "new" psychedelic therapies of which I speak (which really have a long but "hushed-up" history in Western culture, viz. the Eleusinian Mysteries) show great promise in treating opioid addiction and alcoholism. However these therapies cannot be used to treat the great addiction of our time: the addiction to SSRIs, to which over 1 in 10 Americans have fallen victim.
Finally, please remember: it's an American myth that SSRI antidepressants fix a chemical imbalance. As Roger Whittaker shows in "Anatomy of an Epidemic," these drugs have been found to CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
PS: Some psychiatrists may tell you that SSRIs are not addictive, that they only cause chemical dependency. But trust me, from the user perspective, there is no difference.
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