Before you reach for the happy pills…

happy pills

Will ‘Happy Pills’ really make you happy? Or do you need hormone help?

Chances are that you or someone you know at some point has been prescribed anti-depressants: for anxiety or depressive episodes that happen before your periods, for postpartum depression, or for PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder). Before you reach for the pills, we want to be sure that you know the underlying causes of your mood imbalances, and that you’re aware of the effective natural options available to you. For those with major mood imbalances, these “happy pills” can be lifesavers. However, today’s woman is being overprescribed to for issues that are influenced by hormonal fluctuations and are therefore treatable by natural means.


A Timeline of Medicating Women

To fully understand the medication trend, let’s take a look at a few key points on the timeline:

1870s and beyond – Hysteria, had the medical world believing that hysterectomies were the answer to women’s mood swings. Not a drug, but a surgical procedure! (We prefer the orgasmic antidote: If you haven’t seen this brilliant movie yet, do watch it!)

1956- Miltown, the first “psychiatric wonder drug” became an overnight phenomenon, selling out in nearly every drugstore. Psychiatrists and drug companies underestimated Miltown, thinking that people would go for talk therapy instead. This drug was marketed to women struggling with the rigors of motherhood.

1963- Valium, in the Guiness Book of World Records for the most prescribed drug of all time, was touted as “Mother’s little helper,” and even got its own theme song by The Rolling Stones. Still a popular drug today, many people take Valium continuously for years, though Valium only provides anxiety relief for around four months.

1970- Lithium, a drug that had been used to treat a variety of illnesses unsuccessfully since its discovery in 1817, was approved by the FDA for mania. It has since been used to treat a variety of mood and psychiatric disorders, including premenstrual depression. No one knew why or how lithium worked until 1998.

1987 and 1991- Prozac and Zoloft, the first “safe” antidepressants, were introduced and mass marketed to consumers. Zoloft was approved to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder in 2003. Later that year, Pfizer, the company producing the drug, launched its “Zoloft for Everything” campaign, along with a questionnaire on lack of motivation for typical household chores and women hanging their heads. (and just so we’re all aware of how far this brand name has come, my computer officially recognizes “Zoloft” as a properly spelled word…and even capitalizes it automatically)

happy pills2000 – Sarafem becomes a new name for Prozac. The FDA approves the marketing of the same drug under a new name to be specifically targeted at women with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), complete with pink and lavender-colored capsules.

2009 – Studies reveal anti-depressant medications taken during pregnancy are causing birth defects in babies.

Do you see a trend here? Medication is marketed as the escape from the “burdens” of womanhood, yet women are not being made aware of the potential dangerous side-effects of these medications, or of other options available.

We’re here to tell you something different

When you care for your female body in the cyclical and natural way it’s meant to be cared for, you will clear up the frustrating physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms associated with imbalanced hormones. You will find what we refer to as your FLO.

Why Natural Approaches to Healing PMS, PMDD, and Depression Work

  1. The food you eat becomes the building blocks for serotonin, the regulator of your moods. 90% of the serotonin your body make is produced in the small intestine – not in your brain, as you might have thought! What you eat influences how you feel and think.
  2. Your liver’s ability to break down and eliminate excess estrogen is another important factor in ensuring that your hormones are balanced throughout all the phases of your menstrual cycle. A diet deficient in liver-supportive foods will impair your ability to stay balanced. When our livers are overburdened with medications, pesticides from foods, chemicals in beauty products and cleaning supplies, how can we expect them to properly keep our bloodstream clean, clear, and balanced? We can’t.
  3. If you treat a woman’s body the same every day and every week despite the range of hormonal shifts that are constantly happening, you are not allowing her full expression to come through. Emotions should not be pathologized. Learning how to understand and process your emotions throughout the 4 phases of your cycle should be mandatory education in every school system! The more we allow ourselves to find healthy outlets for anger and sadness, the less they will get stuck in our body, thus causing the depressed feelings many of us experience.

Our protocol in the WomanCode System not only supports your mind and body with the proper serotonin-boosting foods, but it lays the foundation for hormonal balance and a healthy experience with your feminine energy and emotions – a foundation that will last you for years to come.

Important Points to Consider:

  • Before you jump to thinking that your irritability or anxiety require medication, take into consideration the fact that your blood sugar might just be imbalanced (which is something treatable with food!)
  • If you’re dealing with postpartum depression, know that a boost in Omega 3s and B-vitamins through the food you’re eating could be the missing link.
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with PMDD or PMS, know that high levels of estrogen could be influencing your moods and liver-supportive foods and supplements will help you create the proper balance in your moods and body.

If you have been prescribed medication for any kind of symptoms but have a feeling that it’s not the right option for you, talk to us. We have a team of counselors who would love to chat with you over the phone and get you on the road to balanced moods and hormones.


    • jessica says

      Thanks, Christianne!
      Glad you are taking a natural approach, too!
      Please feel free to pass the article on to anyone who might need to see it!


  1. nuala says

    Hi. Just been reading your article on before you reach for the happy pill. I have been diagnosed with PSO about 5 years ago and have been on various form of the pill on and off, currently on dianette. About 3 months ago I went to a gynaeacologist and told him all my symptoms, anxiety for aprox 2 weeks b4 period, feeling low and not sleeping well. I had a polyp removed and he put me on prozac to take for two week prior to my period. I had a very severe reaction to this medication so I stopped it after a week, i was counting things, crazy dreams and it really freaked me out. I am due to go back to my consultant in a few weeks. Any advice on questions i shud ask for the severe anxiety i get before my periods. All advise wud b greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • jessica says

      Hi Nuala,
      Glad you wrote in!
      Were you dealing with the same symptoms of anxiety and insomnia before going on the pill?
      In either case, you should talk to your doctor about is getting off the pill. It sounds like it could be exacerbating the symptoms, and plus it’s covering up your natural hormonal patterns. As you can see from the article above, it might have to do with high estrogen levels and imbalanced blood sugar.
      I would recommend doing a consultation with us here at FLO so that we can help you assess your diet and lifestyle, how they are influencing your symptoms, and how you can transform your symptoms. Just write in to and we can set up a time for you!
      There are effective, natural options, I can assure you :)

  2. Claudia says

    Thank you so much for putting this information out into the world. More women need to have access to this information – for themselves and for their daughters. I too had an awful reaction to a “happy pill” that my doctor prescribed. It was on the first day and I will never forget how long it took to get whatever happened turned around. Be very careful ladies. My doctor’s response was lets try another. Can you say “HECK NO”. I refuse to ever go back to him. I have tried the flo system and the information is extremely valuable. Unfortunately, I have not been able to perfect the system, which is frustrating. I just can’t seem to make the adjustment to my food with the changing weeks. I have to keep trying. Also, it is difficult because I have long cycles, so I never know what week I should be in. But I would highly recommend the program to every woman. It is very important information to have as a woman. I also feel like we need to be more educated so that we don’t just rely on others to inform us on our bodies.

    • jessica says

      Hi Claudia!
      Thanks for writing in. So glad that you took a stand and said no to the happy pills!
      As for the FLO program, don’t worry about “perfecting” it, but focus on the lifestyle change that it’s allowed you. It’s about a new way of approaching and caring for your body, and each woman is an individual.
      If you feel you need more support, please write in so that we can continue to help you!

      in support,

  3. Angela says

    As someone who takes Prozac, I was tempted to dismiss this article when I saw the derisive term “happy pills” in the title.

    I completely agree with the sentiment here – that we need to be informed about what our bodies are doing and how doctors and drug companies can exploit that to make a profit. I also think that the pattern of marketing these drugs to women is dangerous and even a form of oppression.

    On the other hand, I don’t consider anti-depressants to be “happy pills” and I am offended when I see people refer to them as such. For me they are more like “stability pills,” and yes, I’m sure that with time and guidance I could trust my own body to naturally stabilize. However, I am wary of this because I tried to go off of Prozac and use natural remedies to balance my mental/physical/emotional health, but it was a complete disaster. I did not have proper guidance from my psychiatrist, nor did I have the resources to utilize counselors such as the amazing women at Flo Living. Will I try this again someday? Of course. But for right now, I’d like a little more than a nod as someone with a “major mood imbalance” who’s life is saved by “happy pills.”

    I think that all women should be informed and empowered to make healthy choices, and I sincerely appreciate Flo Living’s mission of doing just that. I also think that all women should be supported and validated for where they are at, so that they can make those healthy choices in a safe way.

    • jessica says

      Hi Angela,

      Really glad you wrote in, and you can be sure your voice is heard. Perhaps the choice of the term “happy pills” was not the best option. In the aim to bring some kind of lightness to the subject, it might have come across the wrong way. “Stability pills” are an important, life-saving resource to many women, and we don’t think that it has be an either/or conversation. The natural methods that we use here at FLO can be applied and be effective whether or not you’re taking other medication.
      Please accept our apologies and know that rather than just “nodding” at you, we are embracing you and all women in whatever stage you’re in.

      with support and gratitude for you,
      jessica, on behalf of the FLO team

      • Angela says

        Thank you, Jessica! Your response was reassuring for me. I will definitely be passing this blog post along to my friends :)

  4. kate says

    Hi. Are you uk based?
    After twenty years of getting very aggressive and suicidal premenstrually i am sure i have pmdd but my gps are not willing to do hormone tests.
    i am on antidepressants and small amounts of valium which seem to be helping but wonder what i can do to support myself when premenstrual. Vitamins and evening primrose do mot seem to help. Thanks, kate.

    • Alisa says

      Hi Kate, We are based in NYC but take care of women in 216 countries – thanks to the internet! Have you had your thyroid checked? Magnesium deficiency can also trigger depression. Let us know how we can help. Alisa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *