U.K.’s Guardian Survey: “Your Experiences of Antidepressants”

Kermit Cole
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The U.K. newspaper The Guardian asked readers of five newspapers in the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Italy to talk about their experiences of being on antidepressants.  The results, which draw on 3,000 responses as well as other sources, is presented in a series of articles including “Your Experiences of Antidepressants“, “Medicalisation of Misery to Blame for Soaring Use of Antidepressants“, “Antidepressant Use on the Rise in Rich Countries, OECD Finds“, “The Drugs Do Work, But They Can’t Cure Unhappiness“, and “China Starts to Turn to Drugs as Awareness of Depression Spreads“.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

4 COMMENTS

  1. “China Starts to Turn to Drugs as Awareness of Depression Spreads”

    Its more than that.

    GSK’s and its management team in China left in disarray by Chinese police allegations in July that it funneled up to 3 billion yuan ($490 million) to travel agencies to facilitate bribes to doctors and officials.

    Other multinational drug companies are also being investigated but GSK has suffered the most damage from the scandal as many Chinese doctors have shunned its sales representatives.

    Do they have a pharma front like NAMI in China now to push drugs ? Sounds like it.

    I see America’s NAMI is in the U.K now.

    In 2004, NAMI opposed the placement of “black box” warnings on antidepressants determined to cause suicide in under-18 year olds, and in 2006 opposed black box warnings on ADHD drugs causing heart attack, stroke and sudden death in children in 2006. Despite overwhelming evidence of serious adverse cardiac events and sudden deaths caused by ADHD drugs, in 2006 NAMI took the position that the “black box” warning on ADHD drugs was “premature. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/National_Alliance_on_Mental_Illness

    These dirtbags don’t care about anyone’s health.

  2. The word “anti-depressants” is a nonsensical marketing term. The validity of this term is left unquestioned and is, therefore, tacitly endorsed in this article.

    For most of the time I was taking SSRIs (another marketing term, since they are neither “selective” nor “serotonin-specific”), I was convinced that they were helping me somehow. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have kept taking them! Meanwhile, they were killing me. So, the survey this article is based on seems rather useless to me.

    There is a lot of money fueling a propaganda campaign to convince people that these drugs are somehow helpful, despite all the evidence that they are harmful. If my so-called doctors had given me adequate information about the risks of taking these drugs, then I never would have taken them.

  3. The SSRIs produced dangerously bad side effects for me. Paxil, it was “extreme apathy”; Prozac, prompted me to self-injury (cutting); Zoloft, caused that extreme agitation (I forget the psycho-speak word for it) but that was the worst of all! Maybe these pills work for some. I’m very sensitive and would probably have died or worse if I’d stayed on them. My depression at this point is like an old acquaintance. I strive to remember that it, too will pass and I ride it out. Creative activity helps me. I don’t freak out anymore like I’m supposed to be glowingly happy with the thrill of life, like young people do sometimes. They want it to MEAN Something Right NOW! I had a inquiry mind an wanted to squeeze life like a big lime, but it never filled my glass or quenched my thirst. As I got older, I understood, gee, it’s not just me, life is like this! Not all rainbows, unicorns, and filled stockings. Sometimes, I miss the delusion more than I like the reality. Oh Well. I am a better “me” off psych drugs. Much, much better!

  4. I looked at a few of these articles. “The drugs do work…” is by Tim Cantopher, consultant psychiatrist, Priory Hospitals Group – a private hospital and rehab made famous by rich clients recovering from drug and alcohol binges.

    In his article he writes, “antidepressants usually work, but only for real clinical depression, the type involving a chemical disturbance in the brain, with a full range of characteristic physical symptoms”

    I responded by pointing out that there never has been a test for any chemical disturbance of the brain. So he is acting on a guess. He does not state what kind of chemical imbalance, but if he thinks it is the serotonin imbalance theory of depression then there is no proof that is true and some evidence that it is not true. The drugs work for some for three reasons, 1 placebo, 2 enhanced placebo, 3 the person likes the drugs effect – but it is not correcting an underlying imbalance that we know of. The drugs also harm. But we do not know what the ratio of help to harm is.

    If the Dr is giving the drugs to those who he think have a chemical disturbance of the brain which cannot be measured then he is relying on his clinical judgement that the drugs help. Spiritual healers, herbalists and all sort of other alternative health practitioners rely on their clinical judgement too. I want more for a drug to be licenced and prescribed than that.

    He then goes onto say, “Except for people suffering from recurrent depression they are only first aid, buying you time to sort out the issues that caused the depression in the first place.” Which I think contradicts his first statement, unless he is saying recurrent depression is proof of an underlying chemical imbalance. That would be a theory for which he would need proof. unfortunately recurrent depression is not treated very well by anti-depressants (I can’t be bothered to dig the study out). For a lot of people it still reoccurs even with the drugs.

    There was a test developed for married women who are depressed to see if they are likely to get better and stay well. Ask them if their husband is supportive. It’s such a pity that this sort of research wasn’t published in these articles.

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