Chapter 13-3: High Plains Drifting - Anti-Depressants

Commonsense would indicate that these classes of drugs clearly change brain chemistry since their primary function is to treat depression or seizures. So, what do they do to someone whose is not depressed or suffering from seizures?

Some of these medications made him feel like he was living in a fog, another he started listing to the right, another made him have weird thoughts. I told him to stop taking that one.

Frustrated by the never-ending stream of non-opioid drugs he was being prescribed that were clearly altering his brain chemistry, I went to see a friend who was a mental health therapist to get some perspective on the nightmare our lives had become. Her input was depressing. She informed me that most chronic pain patients were depressed and therefore treating them with anti-depressants made sense especially as these drugs did appear to lower pain.

Lady Bugs, Capulin Volcano National Monument

But this is treating the secondary illness. What if we treated the pain in the first place? Would there be any need for anti-depressants?

Knowing that an estimated 1 in 10 U.S. adults report depression1 the question that popped up in my mind was had anyone asked chronic pain patients if they were depressed or prone to depression before their injury, which perhaps would be a predicator for an anti-depressant to work?

To push these brain altering medications on a chronic pain patient without any knowledge of their original mental health seems poor practice. If you go to any blog site on any of the above drugs you will come across patients who describe everything Bob experienced and still are in pain. If the medication works, great, but if it does not then don’t keep pushing drug after drug as the pain continues unabated. The longer the patient lives with untreated pain the harder it is going to be to bring the pain under control.