Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 20, 2014

Important Differences in the Ways Men and Women’s Bodies Process Medication for Depression, Anxiety, Sleep, and Pain

6/20/2014 From Donna Cunningham, MSW

 This is a bit off-topic from suicide, but, then again, perhaps it’s not. I subscribe to Scientific American Mind, a magazine connected to Scientific American, but focused on emotions and psychological principles.

In the July/August 2014 issue on page 15, I found an article reporting on several important research studies into the ways that women’s bodies react differently—usually more strongly—from men’s bodies to medications for things like depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and pain. The side effects of these medications on other bodily functions are much more likely to be toxic or overly strong when women take them.

For instance, with sleeping pills of one kind or another, women typically have more of the drug left in their system the next morning than men do, creating problems in being alert for work and driving.

I recently got a much-needed new printer (Hewlett-Packard) which not only prints beautifully, it also scans well. Therefore, rather than trying to re-create the entire article about the side effects of various pharmaceuticals on women, I scanned it and it came out really well. You can download it at this link: gender differences in psychotrophic meds .

(The vocabulary is a bit more difficult than even Psychology Today, but there are lots of important research study reports. If you’ve been taking one of these medications and find the vocabulary too hard, ask your care provider to explain.)

If you feel the information would be important for professionals (including astrologers) or for women who are taking the medications described there to know, pass this link along.

Readers: do you or those you are close to have any experience with the medications covered in this article, and did it have any of the effects noted there? Leave your observations in the comment section.


  1. Ah, this makes so much sense! Back in 1994 or so, when transiting Neptune was hovering over my natal Mercuery in Capricorn, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and prescribed Prozac. I couldn’t abide it; even at a dosage that my physician classified as “low” I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. Sleeping at night was difficult, as even the slightest noise would send me into hyper-alert mode.

    I stayed on the medication for almost a year before I transitioned off, with the help of herbal remedies, yoga, and amino acid supplements. (Transiting Neptune conjuncting my Mercury…if only I knew then what I know now!)

  2. Heck yes…1st house Cancer Sun/Merc conj 13degs..evry FM I cannot sleep and take 1/2 sleeping tab but always feel extremely “hungovr” nxt day so can nva take it two days in a row.I am female btw (Gem Rising) natal Scorpi Nep H5.

  3. I’m always concerned with my sister, who has jupiter conjunt AC cancer, and Mars and Venus conjuct DC (capr). Add o that a Scorpio sun in the 5th to help the drama. From time to time she tries antidepressants and anxiety medication but the side effects take a heavy toll on her and she barely sees any good effects. Oh, and besides what the astrology community says about Jupiter house 1, she has never been fat. Her image for a lifetime is a gorgeous “wow” as only Jupiter can be.

  4. I would like to Mention the tiny issue that that article seems to forget. approx 50% of the public also has a Genetic Mutation DNA SNP called MTHFR that effects ALL of your body’s Many Methylation Pathways and how to Process things. In addition, it does NOT Take into consideration women that do NOT Menstruate any long either due to surgery or menopause. Additionally, I can also verify that if you had ADD you system will process things totally differently EX: that is why Uppers like Ritalin are actually CALMING for people with ADD. I can also state that the 50% of the Women that do Not KNOW they have MTHFR, these Opinions about how these meds effect women would NOT APPLY until they took *Corrective measures* to take the MTHF< etc necessary to circumvent the mutation and get everything working correctly downstream. EX: After a car accident that gave me a real whiplash they gave me Valium and it made me Hyper. Ritalin makes me CALM. After doing the DNA SNP test and learning of the MTHFR I had, once I started taking the MTHF and got up to proper dose levels for me, I automatically KNEW when my sleeping med was TOO STRONG and I cut it in Half BEFORE this article even came out.. It's called KNOWING your Body and Playing ATTN.
    Women Please Learn about MTHFR, esp if you or anyone in your family tends to have miscarriages, early births, Hello, it's been passed down in your family and it can Be Helped Easily. Education is Power to HEAL. *Hugs*
    PS: Strong AntiDepressants can also cause Heart Damage, so I would try EVERY single different alternative natural things I could First. I also have Saturn Opposite Major things, it just transited my MC and it's MY Chart Ruler.
    I refuse to *Give IN to Depression* cuz it is not practical and does not help me fix, cure or Help anything or anyone.
    IN the Final analysis, if it was NOT his time to go, His attempt would have FAILED. I have too many friends that have succeeded. I pray he is making them Laugh in Heaven and I'm sure my friends that committed suicide were the first to greet him warmly. I've also got a Saturn transit to my Pluto coming up. But then, I LIVE with Pluto in my 7th, Scorpio on my MC, and Saturn as my chart Ruler. So I have Learned the hard way to Choose to Face my FEARs and DeFuse Old memory Buttons and Keep Going. Until I can be NO Longer of use to myself or anyone else, then it's MY decision how I choose to leave this plain assisted or not. I've also helped other thru Hospice and done nursing for 18yrs. The HHS + VA have done a Terrible Service to not only the Vets but also other people with any chronic illness and the insurance companies are also to Blame for Limiting the number of visits permitted per year. Shameful., Shameful This is NOT Proper Mental care for anyone.
    Sorry to be so long, but wanted everyone to know about MTHFR and other interactions that could also effects HOW these drugs are absorbed.
    Donna, have been loving your work since I first learned about you from John Ruskell about 25yrs ago.. *Hugs* + Blessings.

    • How could I forget what I didn’t know, not being a scientist?

      And yes, we are responsible for the terrible care our veterans are getting. CNN has been running a series on what happens to our veterans when they come home, and so many of them are seriously troubled and many are thinking of suicide. Tragic. Thanks for the update. Donna

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