The drugs seem to accelerate atherosclerosis by increasing the thickness of the "intima media", the inner and middle layers of the arteries. They particularly affect the carotid arteries that feed blood to your brain.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
"... [T]he intima-media thickness of men taking antidepressants was 37 microns (about 5 percent) thicker than that of men not taking the drugs. When the team looked at 59 twin pairs in which one twin was taking the drugs and the second was not, the artery was 41 microns thicker in the twin taking the drugs."
Sources: Los Angeles Times April 2, 2011
Well- documented side effects also include:"The interactions of antidepressants with your brain, liver, digestive system and other systems are still not fully understood, but we do know that the side effects are numerous. Besides the standard laundry list of nausea, dry mouth and loss of libido, more serious side effects of commonly prescribed antidepressants include:
Suicidal thoughts and feelings and violent behavior : The main and primary one that you should be concerned about is that they could actually INCREASE your risk of suicide. Your risk for suicide may be twice as high if you take SSRIs. Seven out of 12 school shootings were also perpetrated by children who were either on antidepressants or withdrawing from them.Diabetes: Your risk for type 2 diabetes is two to three times higher if you take antidepressants, according to one study. All types of antidepressants, including tricyclic and SSRIs, increases type 2 diabetes risk.Problems with your immune system: SSRIs cause serotonin to remain in your nerve junctions longer, interfering with immune cell signaling and T cell growth.Stillbirths: A Canadian study of almost 5,000 mothers found that women on SSRIs were twice as likely to have a stillbirth, and almost twice as likely to have a premature or low birth weight baby; another study showed a 40 percent increased risk for birth defects, such as cleft palate.Brittle bones: One study showed women on antidepressants have a 30 percent higher risk of spinal fracture and a 20 percent high risk for all other fractures. This is because serotonin is also involved in the physiology of bone. If you alter serotonin levels with a drug, it can result in low bone density, boosting fracture risk.Stroke: Your risk for stroke may be 45 percent higher if you are on antidepressants, possibly related to how the drugs affect blood clottingHeart disease and Sudden cardiac death: Brand new research reported at a New Orleans meeting of the American College of Cardiology found that antidepressants increase your risk of heart disease by causing your artery walls to thicken. The exact biological mechanism is still unknown. A literature review of studies from 2000-2007, published in Expert Opinion on Drug Safety in 2008, found that "Antipsychotics can increase cardiac risk even at low doses, whereas antidepressants do it generally at high doses or in the setting of drug combinations." Another study published in January 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicinealso found that antipsychotic drugs doubled the risk of sudden cardiac death. Mortality was found to be dose-dependent, so those taking higher doses were at increased risk of a lethal cardiac event.Death: Overall death rates have been found to be 32 percent higher in women on antidepressants.When you're talking about antipsychotics, which are meant for more severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, the risks can be even more severe, depending on the drug. For example, a recent study published in JAMA discovered that contrary to what we've previously thought, schizophrenia itself does not alter your brain mass.
What was previously believed to be evidence of the disease causing brain shrinkage was actually the effect of the antipsychotic drugs prescribed to schizophrenics…
Keeping that fact in mind, is it wise to prescribe antipsychotics to anyone who does not suffer from schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder?
Well, whether it's sensible or not, the fact is they are being prescribed to a whole lot of people who are neither bi-polar nor schizophrenic, and the side effects are just as bad either way.
And as another example of the dangerous mis-use and off-label prescribing that is so rampant today, a 2009 article in Medscape Today reveals that 60 percent of the US military veterans who received antipsychotic medication in 2007 were not diagnosed with any of the mental illnesses for which these drugs were approved. So that year, more than 162,440 military veterans—the MAJORITY; 60 percent—were prescribed brain-damaging drugs without a diagnosis warranting their use!
And that's just one group of people. You also have hundreds of thousands of civilians being prescribed antipsychotic for off-label uses every year. Again, drugs that cause BRAIN SHRINKAGE are being given to people without proper diagnosis of mental illness!
How is this NOT an outrage?
How could I possibly keep quiet about something as harmful as this?
If you're given a prescription for an antipsychotic, and you're not actually schizophrenic, wouldn't you want to know about this potentially devastating side effect?"
This article goes on to tell positive alternatives that can help for depression