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More Than 30 Million Americans Taking Anti-Depressants

When dealing with depression, experts say, people are too often turning to prescription drugs as their first option.

According to Dr. Jim Gordon, founder and director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, while anti-depressant medications do help some patients, they also have drawbacks. There are lots of other options, he said, that should be considered first, such as getting active and exercising.

“It should be used immediately and always for people who are depressed, not regarded as peripheral or incidental or unimportant.”

Gordon said another reason why anti-depressants should be a last resort is that about 70 percent of people who take them experience negative side effects.

“There’s a kind of irony in it because the side effects are things that are likely to make you feel depressed – like your digestion being thrown off, putting on weight, having headaches, sexual dysfunction, lack of emotional responsiveness,” he said. “All of those come out in a very significant number of people.”

Gordon said other ways to help with depression include meditation, a healthy diet and having a supportive social environment.

More than 30 million Americans, or about one in ten people in this country, are currently taking anti-depressants.