Ask an expert
Question

07 Feb 2006

SSRI's and other pshyc medications
Dear Doc

Thanks for your kind responses and encouragement with my previous posts. Well, I don't want to start a debate here, but thought about something that bothered me for a long time. I've been on SSRI's for about 2-3 years and just wanted to know if they can cause permanent neurological damage to the brain/areas in the body. Please be honest with me as I know that the drug companies will probably sa no. But I'm asking from your own personal clinical experience. I know some neuroleptics have been associated with movement disorders. I don't really want to look on the internet for this type of information and there are too many quacks making claims without any evidence.

I'm seeing my Pdoc tomorrow to see if he cannot help me with my funny body aches.
Answer 297 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

I have seen no evidence whatsoever thatSSRI's or similar drugs, ever cause ANY form of neurological damage, permanent or temporary. You're absolutely right that a snag with searching the internet is that you find mostly quacks preaching their own hobby-horses. When looking at such questions, I look for two elements, (1) can I ind any good reliable convincing evidence that X or Y is true ?, and (2) is it logical ? From what we know about hjow normal body / brain function goes, does it make sense that X or Y could happen ?
And this fails both tests. What SSRI's do, by subtly shifting the balances of brain chemicals at the right place ( the junctions between neurones ) from a situation in which certain necessary chemicals seem to be in too low a concentration, towards a situation in which they are at more normal levels, doesn't seem to have the potential to cause damage or major problems. The movement disorders with some neuroleptics, like especiall some of the older anti-psychotics drugs, is more logical. There is a potential problem with some drugs, that the chemicals through which they work have more than one effect, so that increasing or deceasing levels of Z, which may be very helpful in regard to one of the ways in which Z works, may be unhelpful in regard to another of the ways in which Z operates in the body --- and there one has a side-effect that can be troublesome and unwanted. Even in those cases, the problem is usually reversible, rather than one that we could consider brain damage.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.