Antidepressants are bad enough for most people -- but a new study shows that they're even worse than we thought for older women.

Researchers found that post-menopausal women who take those popular SSRIs -- drugs like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Lexapro -- have a 45 percent increased risk of stroke, and a 32 percent increased risk of death from all other causes.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, used data on 136,293 women between the ages of 50 and 79, who were followed for an average of six years. Women on tricyclic antidepressants faced similar risks.

Not exactly comforting... especially when you consider the large numbers of women who are given these meds off-label to deal with the symptoms of menopause in addition to the millions who take it to beat the blues.

"Women should not stop taking the medications based on this one study," Dr. Jordan W. Smoller, one of the authors, told Reuters.

I agree. They shouldn't stop taking the medications based on this one study -- they should stop taking them based on the massive and overwhelming body of research that shows how dangerous and ineffective they really are.

These meds have also been linked to sudden cardiac death in women, an increased risk of suicide in teens, and nausea, insomnia, diarrhea and sexual side effects and men and women alike. Some of these meds are even addictive -- which means withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking them.

Still, despite all that, the researchers seemed almost determined to apologize for their study... lest they anger their Big Pharma friends. They were also quick to point out that a woman on antidepressants has only a 1 in 200 chance of a stroke in any given year.

Those aren't exactly remote odds. And when you consider that many people take these meds year after year, it adds up to a few too many rolls of the dice for comfort.

The right natural treatment for your depression will depend on the cause, but nutritional imbalances are often at the heart of the condition. Deficiencies in amino acids (especially tryptophan), B vitamins and essential fatty acids can all lead to depression. A physician experienced in natural healing methods can customize your supplements to your needs.

In addition, numerous studies have found that everything from exercise to simple talk therapy can match or beat antidepressants -- with none of the side effects. You might also find some immediate relief from a proven herbal remedy such as St. John's wort.