Study shows psychological, interpersonal effects of antidepressants have reached bizarre levels

Over the last few posts, I have been advocating strongly a more holistic approach to mental health care. In this scenario, all of the resources available are considered in a multi-faceted game plan that best suits the patient. As we all know, this is not currently the case and might take a quantum change in thinking for this to happen. The folly of following a one dimensional method is highlighted in a new study on the psychological effects of taking anti-depressants over a long period. A researcher at the University of Liverpool has shown that :

” thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties and emotional numbness as a result of anti-depressants may be more widespread than previously thought.”

In a survey of 1,829 people who had been prescribed anti-depressants, the researchers found large numbers of people – over half in some cases – reporting on psychological problems due to their medication, which has led to growing concerns about the scale of the problem of over-prescription of these drugs. Psychologist and lead researcher, Professor John Read from the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said: “The medicalisation of sadness and distress has reached bizarre levels. One in ten people in some countries are now prescribed antidepressants each year. “While the biological side-effects of antidepressants, such as weight gain and nausea, are well documented, the psychological and interpersonal effects have been largely ignored or denied. They appear to be alarmingly common.”

The survey participants were asked to fill in an online questionnaire which asked about twenty adverse effects. The study was carried out in New Zealand and all of the participants had been on anti-depressants in the last five years. The survey factored in people’s levels of depression and asked them to report on how they had felt while taking the medication. Over half of people aged 18 to 25 in the study reported suicidal feelings and in the total sample there were large percentages of people suffering from ‘sexual difficulties’ (62%) and ‘feeling emotionally numb’ (60%). Percentages for other effects included: ‘feeling not like myself’ (52%), ‘reduction in positive feelings’ (42%), ‘caring less about others’ (39%) and ‘withdrawal effects’ (55%). However, 82% reported that the drugs had helped alleviate their depression.

“Effects such as feeling emotionally numb and caring less about other people are of major concern. Our study also found that people are not being told about this when prescribed the drugs.

“Our finding that over a third of respondents reported suicidality ‘as a result of taking the antidepressants’ suggests that earlier studies may have underestimated the problem.” Professor Read concluded.

Source : University of Liverpool

Dr Nicholas Jenner is a Counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals,couples,  groups and companies globally. Online therapy is, in his experience, effective for treating a number of major conditions. Are you having issues that you need to talk through? He has a range of plans that can help you get the help you need.  Online Therapy details : Here ……

  13 comments for “Study shows psychological, interpersonal effects of antidepressants have reached bizarre levels

  1. Sam Joines
    March 7, 2014 at 7:22 am

    yeah I was on effexsor, lamictal, Xanax, and I think 3 more when as a walking zombie I tried to kill myself. Thankfully, I failed miserably and am now antidepressant free. I still fight depression, but not on a level even close to zombieville.

  2. March 7, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I have felt this way for years. I take the position on my blog that mild to moderate depression should not be treated with anti-depressants as the “first and only” line of defense. There’s so much withiin us that can be tapped into. Keep up the good work.

  3. ocdjm
    March 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    As a sufferer of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression I find that medication is a great help. It took 3 tries to get an ssri to work with very minimal side effects. My anti-anxiety meds work with no problems. Tried the natural route and had a breakdown.

    • March 8, 2014 at 4:45 am

      That is very good news. Please don’t think that I am stating that medication is not useful or that natural medicine, therapy, life coaching should replace it. I am calling for primary care providers to be open to more than just medication.

      • ocdjm
        March 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

        Good point. I would agree with you.

  4. March 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Antidepressants should be last resort as the dependency on these can hinder a patients progress. The fight should come from within or else all such treatments are basically ineffective.

  5. March 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Reblogged this on The Aztlan Blog by juan blea and commented:
    This article reflects a big concern with antidepressants as a long-term treatment for depresion. Eye-opening.

  6. March 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    This is eye-opening for me. I’ve always susp[ected that antidepressants are not understood well enough to be a long term solution. Thank you. I’ve reblogged this as I think it’s quite important to share.

  7. March 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I was reading a book last night in which a woman talks about being prescribed anti-depressants for menopausal symptoms. She refused to stay on them for longer than three months and sought assistance from other avenues. However it brings to light the fact that anti-depressants are over prescribed.

  8. ThoughtfulDauntless
    March 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    I will one hundred percent attest to the fact that antidepressants ruined my life, or at least, ruined the life I had, and caused me to now be living a new one. I felt happy, ecstatic at times, however there were also wild swings into soul-crushing depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts so strong I’m not sure how I made it through. My then-husband was no help at all, but that didn’t matter because I no longer loved him.
    I am now completely drug-free; I no longer take anti-depressants or birth control hormones, and for the first time in more than a decade I finally feel like myself. I will say this: the lack of feeling for my husband made me realize what an emotionally abusive personality he is, and let me free myself from a bad relationship. I now try to build myself from square one.
    Thank you for this post, and for everything you do. It helps.

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