I Will Never Regret Taking Prozac - Whatever Scientists Say Now

I Will Never Regret Taking Prozac – Whatever Scientists Say Now

According to the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, the prescription of antidepressants has increased by 10-15% during the pandemic. For me and others with depression, the UCL study is huge news. This goes against everything our doctors have told us historically. Patients have often been told to compare their condition with diabetes and their medications with insulin: but, unlike diabetes, there is no blood test for depression like there is for blood sugar. This hypothesis cannot be proven.

In the late 1990s, the “depression theory is a chemical imbalance theory” was gaining momentum. I was in my last year of baccalaureate and very, very sick. I obsessively washed my hands until they bled, terrified of being killed by germs in the air I breathed. I was convinced that I had to repeat sentences to support my family. I was struggling to stay in school or leave home, so my mum made an appointment with the GP. I remember it well: a Friday evening in early spring, the feeling of danger all around me. Not wanting to sit on the waiting room seats in case I got an infection. Keeping my hands in my pockets at all times. Terrified.

The doctor had a funny tie. I watched him while my mother tried to talk to him about my behavior. He told me it sounded like I had something called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) coupled with clinical depression. He said he would put me on a waiting list for cognitive behavioral therapy, that would probably be in about six months, and he would come back if things got worse in the meantime. In the parking lot, as the reality of what he said began to sink in, things got worse. I sobbed. I couldn’t wait six more minutes for help, let alone six months. So we came back and he put me on antidepressants.

“A lifeboat when I was drowning”

I’ve been on them, more or less, ever since. They have been my only constant, through breakdowns and suicidal episodes. Sometimes a well-meaning friend asks me if I ever wonder what life would be like without them, to which I can only reply that I know what life would be like without them: completely miserable. I will probably be on antidepressants for the rest of my life. Not because I think they are a miracle cure for mental health issues – I realized there weren’t any – but because stopping them now, after so long, would involve a process of hellish weaning. I don’t have the time or the inclination to go.

Although stopping antidepressants, under the supervision of a doctor, is usually not a problem for people who have taken them for a short time, it has been very difficult every time I have tried. I know the exercise: cerebral zapping, dizziness, fatigue and the return of a deep depression. It got easier, if you will, to just stay on them – after all, they don’t affect my ability to function, or my ability to feel emotions, as is so often claimed.

Research shows that even after a short time on antidepressants, up to 50% of users may experience withdrawal when they try to quit. The problems, which also include depressed mood, anxiety and insomnia, can be so debilitating that many patients end up taking years to gradually wean themselves off powerful drugs. Others are mistakenly told that their mental health issues have returned and so they must continue taking the pills for decades, researchers have claimed.

“I’ve seen patients so dizzy they’re unable to stand, barely able to sleep and suffering from panic attacks,” says trained psychiatrist Mark Horowitz, clinical researcher at the North East London NHS Foundation Trust and at UCL. “Worse still, their doctor tells them it’s their depression coming back, rather than something caused by the drugs. People can find themselves trapped for life on tablets. Some are driven to suicide by withdrawal symptoms, not by their underlying illness.

Given this new research, not to mention the physical dependence I have on antidepressants, do I regret being prescribed them when I was 17? No. I will always be grateful to them because they provided me with a lifeboat when I was drowning. Even if antidepressants only offer a placebo effect, that’s something – in fact, I’d say it’s essential when access to mental health care in this country is so poor and the supply so rare.

But I think this research at UCL should prompt us to look at other treatment models. Depression is a complex disease that requires a multifaceted therapeutic approach. Antidepressants are definitely over-prescribed because they are the only affordable facet of treatment.

“A faulty coping mechanism”

As a spokesperson for the Royal College of Psychiatrists said in response to the review: “Antidepressants will vary in effectiveness from person to person, and the reasons for this are complex, which is why it is important that healthcare patients are based on the needs and needs of each individual Reviewed regularly Continued research into treatments for depression is important to help us better understand how medications work as well as their effectiveness Medications should be available to all We would not recommend anyone to stop taking their antidepressants based on this review, and encourage anyone with concerns about their medication to contact their GP.

In his excellent book on the history of depression, A Cure for Darkness, science writer Alex Riley explores why a disease that affects 332 million people worldwide has such a poor track record for effective treatment. Riley describes the horrific ice-pick lobotomies of the 1940s and 1950s, and questions how antidepressants became the treatment of choice, detailing the aggressive marketing campaigns that led Newsweek to note that: “Prozac has reached the same level the familiarity of Kleenex and the social status of spring water.

#Regret #Prozac #Scientists

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