Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit


From The New York Times: Global prescription rates and long-term use of antidepressants are rising rapidly. One unanticipated consequence of this trend is that more people are experiencing severe antidepressant withdrawal effects.

“In interviews, dozens of people who had experienced antidepressant withdrawal recounted similar stories: The drugs often relieved mood problems, at first. After a year or so, it wasn’t clear whether the medication was having any effect.

Yet quitting was far harder, and stranger, than expected.

‘It took me a year to come completely off — a year,’ said Dr. Tom Stockmann, 34, a psychiatrist in East London, who experienced lightheadedness, confusion, vertigo and brain zaps, when he stopped taking Cymbalta after 18 months.”

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  1. I just looked through the comments on this in the Times. It is unbelievable. There are so many people writing in, from first-hand experience, saying what wonderful, indispensable drugs they are. While I’m willing to bet a lot of that is because of placebo effect, I do think we need to take people’s personal stories, from both sides of this, seriously. But there is still the endless refrain on chemical imbalance and the diabetes metaphor. You read through it and just want to bang your head against the wall. Or maybe someone else’s! The endless circulation of long-dead pseudo-science propaganda. Well, thank God we live in the modern age of corporate media and miraculous electronic communication, where truth always rises to the top!

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    • We just have to write in our comments as well. I did write one on that article. It was actually the first mainstream news article I’ve ever seen that addresses the issue of adverse effects seriously. Too bad some of the commenters didn’t appear to read it!

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      • Yes, it is progress, at least. I’m not sure how many people even read the print version any more, but letters to the editor might be worthwhile also. I did notice that among the “NYTimes Picks” in the comments every single one is pro-drug, so it looks like someone low on the totem pole (I always wonder who has to review the comments all day long) is taking a side, whereas I think letters to the ed may get more careful attention.

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    • comment at the article THAT IS A LIE
      Kim Murphy Upper Arlington, Ohio

      Why would someone with depression stop taking antidepressants? Are they cured? Of course not.

      Medications such as Zoloft, in short, regulate seratonin. A shortage of seratonin causes depression. If you’ve not magically started regulating your seratonin production and reuptake on your own, your mood is going to be precisely what it was when you were prescribed the medication, if it was appropriately prescribed to start.

      We don’t expect diabetics to wean themselves from insulin. This is no different. Self-tweaking meds is irresponsible and harmful.
      They say the drug is a medicine. I could say cocaine is a medicine and I need a bit every day for my brain chemical imbalance.
      They are justifying their drug use by believing and claiming it is science.

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      • Indeed. What I realized after spending some time reading through those comments is that there is a range of views, but the top “readers picks” are all pro-drug. The one you quote was I think the highest on that list, got the most votes. What that says to me is that there are a TON of people who’ve swallowed the coolaid but perhaps on some level realize it and so get very defensive and “vote” those comments to the top of the list. Still, the article itself is what most people will see, and as Steve says it is progress.

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