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Why The Drugs Don't Work, They Just Make It Worse

Perhaps you've been told that psychiatric drugs can "fix" your mental health issues – depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more.


But what if I told you that these medications could not only be making you worse, but fundamentally don't change the root causes of your why you're ill in the first place.


In fact, they may be masking deeper imbalances in your body and mind, while creating secondary symptoms and deeper challenges in the process.



The Limitations of Psychiatric Drugs

Psychiatric drugs work by altering the chemical balance in your brain.


Antidepressants like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) aim to increase serotonin levels, while anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines target GABA receptors.


The idea is that by shifting these neurotransmitters, you'll experience relief from your symptoms.


However, the reality is much more complex.


These drugs don't "fix" the underlying issues. Infact, they numb or suppress distressing feelings which are symptoms of unresolved trauma. In essence, they act as a Band-Aid. However, if you can't feel it - how can you heal it?


Psychiatric medications can have a range of unintended consequences. Long-term use can lead to dissociation and desensitization, where your brain can't process emotions, can't heal and you become less responsive to the drugs. This manifests over the course of several years. This can result in a need for higher doses or a mix of different medications, further complicating the chemical balance in your brain.


A review published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry found that long-term use of psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can shrink your brain, reduce neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells), and change the integrity of white matter tracts. This can lead to cognitive impairments, emotional dysregulation, and other neurological complications that can further exacerbate your mental health challenges and chronic health conditions.


Prolonged use of antidepressants can lead to a decrease in hippocampal volume, a brain region crucial for memory, learning, and emotional processing. This can make it much harder to heal childhood trauma because not only is it deeply painful, but it's also been deeply suppressed. As a result, you know there's something wrong with you but you can't figure out what.



Trauma and the Nervous System


One of the key reasons why psychiatric drugs often fall short is their failure to address the profound impact of trauma on brain chemistry and nervous system function. Childhood trauma, abuse, and other adverse experiences can fundamentally rewire the brain, leading to long-term imbalances in neurotransmitters and hormones.


When you encounter a perceived threat, your body goes into a state of heightened arousal, triggering the fight-or-flight response. This releases a cascade of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, preparing your body to respond to the danger. In the aftermath of trauma, however, your nervous system may become dysregulated, stuck in a state of hypervigilance or dissociation.


Research shows that individuals with PTSD exhibit significantly lower levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps to calm the nervous system and regulate mood. A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that PTSD patients had up to 21% less GABA receptor binding in the brain compared to healthy controls. This chemical imbalance is a key driver of the anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges that often arise in the wake of trauma.


Psychiatric drugs, however, do little to address these deep-seated neurological changes. While they may temporarily alleviate some symptoms, they do not restore the brain's natural chemical balance or heal the underlying trauma-induced rewiring. In fact, long-term use of these medications can further disrupt the delicate interplay of neurotransmitters, leading to dependence, desensitization, and even exacerbation of mental health issues over time.



Interoception and Somatic Healing


The key to truly addressing the root causes of your mental health struggles lies in the realm of interoception and somatic healing.


Interoception is the awareness of the internal sensations and states of your body. (Read more about this on my blog post).


By cultivating this awareness with consistent healing and clearing of trauma from the nervous system, you can begin to understand the ways in which trauma and stress have manifested in your physical being and develop a deeper grounding and ability to regulate your emotional distress in a healthy way. Somatic integration can help you uncover hidden emotional pain that is trapped in your nervous system and organs, directly process it and therefore integrate your traumatic experiences, including complex childhood trauma which is my area of speciality.


By engaging your nervous system in a safe and grounded way, you can begin to regulate your arousal levels, restore balance, and unlock the innate wisdom and resilience of your body. This approach to healing is radically different from the traditional medical model that relies heavily on psychiatric drugs. Instead of numbing or suppressing your feelings, somatic practices invite you to feel them fully, to honor the messages your body is sending, and to take steps towards true transformation.



Reclaiming Your Wellbeing


If you're struggling with mental health challenges like PTSD, anxiety, or depression, it's time to rethink the role of psychiatric drugs in your healing journey. While these medications may provide temporary relief, they do little to address the underlying causes of your distress.


By embracing my somatic, trauma-focused healing approach, you can begin to resolve the root causes and reclaim your wellbeing from the inside out. Through practices that nurture your interoceptive awareness and support the regulation of your nervous system, you can unlock the profound wisdom and resilience that lies within your body.


It's a journey of self-discovery, one that may require patience, courage, and a willingness to feel the full spectrum of your emotions. But in doing so, you'll be laying the groundwork for lasting change – not just in your mental health, but in the very fabric of your being.


So, let go of the notion that psychiatric drugs are the only solution. Embrace the power of somatic healing, and embark on a path of true transformation. Your body and mind are waiting to guide you home.

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