The folly of anti-depressants

As long time readers will know I suffer from depression. Due to the length, severity and re-occurrence of my depression over the past few years I know now that it will be with me for life. I am not talking about “feeling a bit sad today” depression, I am talking about the black dog that is severe depression. If I am not vigilant then down into the darkness I will slip. No one chooses depression, it certainly isn’t the box of laughs that the left-wing likes to think it is for me in particular.

At present my depression is held at bay but not through anti-depressants, rather through hard physical exercise and some techniques I picked up along the way through 6 long years of hell. For the first time in a long, long time i am working again. That has challenges in itself that can affect my control over my depression but it is a start.

The best thing I ever did is ditch the medications that doctors and insurance companies forced down my throat in the interests of getting “better”. For me getting well involved ditching the drugs and I will never let them past my lips again.

There also appears to be growing evidence that the pills don’t work.

Anti-depressants can cause worse long-term health effects, and may have an adverse effect on suicide rates in youth, says an award-winning American medical journalist in Nelson this week.

Robert Whitaker, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of several books, will be speaking in Nelson tomorrow night on the effects of psychiatric drugs on the brain and how anti-depressant medications shape long-term health outcomes.

He will discuss his research in the United States which found the increased prescribing of psychiatric drugs to youth led to a sharp rise in the numbers diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the numbers on sickness benefits.

After examining data from several countries, Whitaker also found increased prescribing of anti-depressants to adults correlated with a sharp increase in disability rates due to depression and anxiety.

Clinical trials had shown anti-depressants may increase the suicide risk in youth, he said. He did not have data on whether increased rates of prescribing was linked to suicide rates at a national level.

Anti-depressants made my life worse not better. But a combination of medical experts and insurance company policies means that there are many people like me that would have got well sooner if alternate treatment policies were followed or even allowed. Even ACC and WINZ follow the same policies, and so it isn;t really any wonder that we have burgeoning mental health issues caused by strict adherence to shoving pills down our throats.

It is my belief that the drugs just paper over the cracks. They are not a solution, they are a temporary salve with long term serious side effects. Even then they aren’t all that effective.

Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, had been attacked by some health professionals, but many had responded in a thoughtful way.

I just bet he was attacked. The drug companies have got the insurance companies by the shorts. Meanwhile the sufferers suffer.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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