3 Toxic Chemicals Tied to Depression: Symptoms You Need to Recognize (Part 1 of 3)

3 Toxic Chemicals Tied to Depression: Symptoms You Need to Recognize (Part 1 of 3)In a nutshell, here’s the problem with modern medicine:  Rather than trying to deduce a cause – a “trigger” for illness – doctors usually treat symptoms. In most cases, pills are quick and easy solutions to serious health problems. Instead of trying to eliminate the source of an illness, we mask the symptoms of an illness. It’s almost as if we deny that a true cause even exists. Don’t get me wrong – there are certain emergency situations in which fixing the problem quickly is the best solution.  But for chronic, insidious illnesses, popping a magic pill is often the first and only treatment considered.

When it comes to depression, sadly, standard medical protocols are no different. While there may be some counseling involved, more than likely, an antidepressant drug is the treatment of choice.  The problem is that many antidepressant medications cause a slew of side effects, including increased risk of suicide.[1]  Taking a drug to help fight depression that, in turn, causes suicidal thoughts seems quite ludicrous!  What if there was a better way?  Fortunately, there is! 

What Causes Depression Symptoms?

Perhaps you’ve been diagnosed with depression and it’s made you question why some people suffer from depression and others don’t. In reality, the onset of depression symptoms can be caused by a number of factors: Genetics, substance abuse, personal trauma, death of a close friend or family member, chronic illness, emotional or physical abuse, etc.  Maybe you’ve recently began to experience feelings of sadness, despair or discouragement, but you can’t find a cause for it:  No one in your family has depression.  You haven’t recently suffered a trauma, illness or death in the family.  You have no history of drug abuse.  Does this describe you?  If so, it’s time to consider if your depression may have been caused by something in your environment.

Unfortunately, environmental factors are among the most overlooked causes of depression.  That’s why we want to educate you on this important topic.  In the next few articles, we’ll teach you the top three toxic chemicals that have been proven to trigger depression symptoms.  (To find out if you are truly suffering from depression, take our online depression quiz.)  To begin, here’s toxic chemical number one:

Toxic Chemical #1 – Prescription Drugs

Your local pharmacy (and perhaps your own medicine cabinet) is loaded with medications that have been proven to induce depression symptoms.  While medications do have there place and are definitely useful, they can sometimes alter brain chemicals; the most common of these medications are listed below.

Think back to when you first began noticing your depression symptoms.  Recognizing the onset of your symptoms is critical! If your feelings of depression began shortly after beginning a new medication, it may be time to talk with your doctor about this side effect you’re experiencing.  Perhaps you can regain the joy you’ve lost simply by changing your medication regimen. (Never stop or change medications without talking with your doctor first.)

Common Medications That Trigger Depression Symptoms:

  1. Beta-Blockers such as Lopressor or Coreg (for high blood pressure, heart conditions, or migraine headaches)
  2. Calcium-Channel Blockers such as Cardizem or Procardia (for high blood pressure, angina, or heart conditions)
  3. Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics such as Cipro or Floxin
  4. Anticholinergics such as Anaspz or Bentyl (for spasms of the stomach, intestines, or bladder)
  5. Oral Contraceptives
  6. Accutane (acne medication)
  7. Tagament (for stomach ulcers, heartburn,  or indigestion)
  8. Statin Drugs (for high cholesterol)
  9. Corticosteroids such as Prednisone, Nasonex and Flovent (for inflammation and/or allergy symptoms)
  10. Ritalin (for ADHD/ADD/hyperactivity)
  11. MAOIs such as Nardil or Parnate (for depression)
  12. SSRIs – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (for depression)
  13. Synthroid (thyroid hormone replacement)
  14. Estrogens (hormone replacement therapy)
  15. Yohimbine (for impotence)
  16. Anticonvulsants such as Celontin and Zarontin (for epileptic seizures)
  17. Barbiturates such as Phenobarbital and Secobarbital (for anxiety or epileptic seziures)
  18. Opioids such as Demerol, Percocet or OxyContin (for pain)
  19. Zovirax (for herpes or shingles)
  20. Cogentin (for Parkinson’s disease)

If your prescription is not listed above and you are looking to find out if it may have triggered your depression symptoms, check the insert provided with your medication and see if depression is listed as a side effect.  If you do not have the medication insert, you can ask your local pharmacist for a copy.  You can also click here for an online resource to view any side effects of your medications.

If you are not on prescription medication, yet you are experiencing depression, don’t lose heart. There may be another etiology to your emotional distress.  To discover other environmental causes of depression, be sure to read are next article as we continue to review the environmental factors that are linked to depression and what to do about them.


[1] The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), June 2003.

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UHN Staff

University Health News is produced by the award-winning editors and authors of Belvoir Media Group’s Health & Wellness Division. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., with editorial offices in Florida, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, … Read More

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