The inconvenient truth about antidepressants
After the suicide of her 16-year-old daughter, Jenny, Jenetta Bary, 60, took antidepressants for a few months. “It left me feeling suffocated and confused,” she said, “as if I had lost the ability to manage myself and something else had taken over. ”
“We don’t really know the long-term consequences of taking medication,” says Montagu. “But what we do know is that it’s not good to take a psychoactive drug, whether it’s alcohol or opioids, in the long run. It can cause the brain to change and adapt.
Fortunately, I have not experienced withdrawal. But in a 2019 study, Dr James Davies of the University of Roehampton’s Department of Psychology found that about 25% of people taking antidepressants will have a severe withdrawal reaction.
Fortunately, other approaches to dealing with mild depression and anxiety work, many of which are already prescribed by general practitioners and psychiatrists who do not automatically use their prescription pad.
Multiple studies attest to the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the therapy of choice on the NHS. Given the format of a six-week course, it could prove to be cheaper for the public purse than longer-term use of antidepressants. There is plenty of research showing that mindfulness can be very effective, although Telegraph columnist and mental health advocate Bryony Gordon is skeptical: “Mindfulness and meditation are great tools for maintaining well-being. mental, but these are not solutions for mental illnesses, ‘as it says here,’ she said.
More holistic methods are emerging. Nutritional psychiatry and the power of food to influence our mood is something I found powerful enough to talk about in my book, The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food.. Dr Carmine Pariante, professor of psychiatry at King’s College London, has studied the effect of omega-3s in helping people with mild to moderate depression. I also found that there was a lot to be said for the healing power of poetry, often as good as any self-help book. Such alternative approaches have given me back a sense of autonomy and agency. I was able to crack and take care of my psychological health without waiting to see my GP.