Daily Caller’s ‘SICK’ Reveals The Suicide Epidemic No One Wants To Talk About

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Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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Antidepressants are supposed to cure depression. That’s the reason they’re prescribed. That’s also the reason they’ve become a multi-billion dollar industry over the past 50 years. But while generations of Americans have become addicted to the idea of solving all their problems with one magic pill, it turns out these “cures” could be creating the problem they aim to solve.

One only has to take a glance at the suicide rates to see that the cure is not all that it’s cracked up to be. America’s antidepressant usage has skyrocketed over recent years, yet the suicide rate has not gone down. In fact, it’s increased!

The Daily Caller’s new documentary, “SICK,” dives into the sordid history of antidepressants developed and pushed by America’s Big Medicine industry. From doctors and therapists to scientists and executives, these pill pushers all claim to be the experts — that we should trust them when they promise to solve all our problems. But the patients, advocates and doctors we spoke to all agreed: Big Medicine is not the answer to America’s mental health crisis.

“SICK” is available exclusively for Patriots subscribers. Subscribe here to watch now, and check out our entire collection of original documentaries as well.

Catch an exclusive first glimpse below.

Modern medical breakthroughs changed the way humans lived. The discovery of penicillin in the 1920s became the “magic bullet” to treat bacterial infections.  In the 1950s, the polio vaccine all but eradicated a disease once seen as a death sentence. Having cured many of our physical ailments, it wasn’t long before Big Medicine set out to conquer our mental illnesses in the same way.

The first generation of chemical mental health treatments came with tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) in the 1960s. While effective, they were highly toxic and posed a high risk of accidental overdose, and so required close monitoring. Unsurprisingly, they did not catch on with the public. Big Medicine finally found their breakthrough in the 1970s with the discovery of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)  — the class of drugs like Prozac and Zoloft that are ubiquitous today.

As the Mayo Clinic explains, SSRIs are thought to work “by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.” Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical that serves as a messenger between brain nerve cells. Higher levels of serotonin are thought to normalize the brain’s response to external stimuli like fear, thus reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. With far less toxicity than TCAs, they became widely pushed and prescribed with little oversight, creating a massive new market. Old Zoloft commercials with a cute, little bouncing ball obscured the dark side of the drug. You can still walk into any family doctor and leave minutes later with an SSRI prescription — without hearing any of the risks.

That’s exactly what happened to Blake Guichet, a former patient-turned-advocate the Daily Caller interviewed who lost her formative years to the SSRI Zoloft. She described stress over “normal college aged, transitional things” to a campus physician during her freshman year, and walked out 10 minutes later with a prescription. It wasn’t until she was already dependent on the drug that she learned of all the adverse side effects.

As the Mayo Clinic explains:

“Possible side effects of SSRIs may include, among others:

  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness, agitation or restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Sexual problems, such as reduced sexual desire, difficulty reaching orgasm or inability to maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  • Impact on appetite, leading to weight loss or weight gain”

But the worst potential side effect wasn’t even noted until decades after SSRIs were already on the market. In 2004, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued a black-box warning that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicide in teens. In 2006, the FDA expanded that warning to include young adults. It was too late for Kim Witczak, a Global Drug Safety advocate we spoke with whose husband sadly killed himself after being prescribed Zoloft by a family doctor. Since then, Witczak has spent the past two decades advocating for more stringent safety measures.

Stories like Witczak’s and Guichet’s are anecdotes — so you might be thinking they are outliers. But they’re not.

One National Institutes of Health study showed that between 1991 and 2018, America’s SSRI and SNRI usage increased a whopping 3001%. One estimate from 2020 suggests that over 37 million Americans are prescribed some sort of antidepressant. That figure has only increased since COVID, particularly among young women and girls.

Given their prevalence, you’d think America’s suicide rate would have gone down, right? Wrong! The suicide rate actually increased by 35% between 1999 and 2018. In 2022, nearly 50,000 Americans took their own lives. Besides suicides, we have an epidemic of loneliness and record high depression rates as of 2023.

After decades of pushing SSRIs, a handful have grown extremely wealthy but Americans writ large are no better off. In 2021, Medicaid expenditures for antidepressants topped $1 billion, while brand name antidepressants can cost up to $1900 for a 30 day supply. And now, a new study suggests it might all be for nothing.

A study from 2022 has gone a long way toward debunking the serotonin theory of depression — the entire foundation of SSRI market. After an “umbrella review” of the serotonin hypothesis evaluating decades of research, the findings were published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry. The study found “no evidence that depression is caused by serotonin abnormalities,” lead researcher Joanna Moncrieff said in a press release.

“Thousands of people suffer from side effects of antidepressants, including the severe withdrawal effects that can occur when people try to stop them, yet prescription rates continue to rise,” Moncrieff continued. “We believe this situation has been driven partly by the false belief that depression is due to a chemical imbalance. It is high time to inform the public that this belief is not grounded in science.”

After 50 years, the public is just beginning to wake up to one of the biggest medical hoaxes of all time. To learn the rest of the story, subscribe and watch ‘SICK’ today.

The Daily Caller’s documentary productions are made possible by our faithful Patriots members, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without them. To watch “SICK” — and to help support future investigative documentaries — please consider subscribing.