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FDA warns 10 companies to stop selling dietary supplements that claim to treat depression

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 22:23:59-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The FDA is warning certain companies to stop selling supplements that claim to cure, treat and prevent depression.

The companies make promises like, "Natural Anxiety Depression Relief," "The Only Doctor Designed Depression Pill," “OUR #1 BEST-SELLING DEPRESSION SUPPLEMENT" and "Improves disturbed appetite like loss of appetite or binge eating."

One testimonial read, "I have tried tons of supplements looking for a depression cure. This is it!!!"

The FDA stepped in and warned 10 companies with letters informing them that they were illegally selling dietary supplements that claimed to cure, treat or prevent depression or other mental health disorders.

"Dietary supplements that claim to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent depression and other mental health disorders are unapproved new drugs that could potentially harm consumers who use these products instead of seeking proven treatments from qualified health care providers. This is especially concerning during the ongoing pandemic, when consumers are even more susceptible to depression and mental health issues,” said Steven Tave, Director of the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “The agency is committed to taking action to protect the public from unlawful dietary supplements.”

Licensed psychotherapist Dr. Sarah Williams from Chesapeake said someone may think they’re just depressed but may have other serious issues going on and may need the help of a professional.

“It might be bipolar disorder or might be manic depression; it might be a different subset of disorders that require specialized treatment,” said Dr. Williams.

She says depending on the issue, trying to treat yourself with online supplements could be risky.

“Actually, self-medicating in such a way can almost be synonymous with doing surgery on yourself; it is quite dangerous,” said Dr. Williams. “It's also very important to make sure that the supplements are safe and approved by your medical provider before you participate in trying to treat your own mental health issue.”

Below are links to places to get help:

Click here for more information about the FDA warning.