Concerns over rising antidepressant use. Professor John Read et al in The Guardian

Concerns over rising antidepressant use.

 

Prof John Read and others on the news that antidepressant prescribing has passed 70 million in England.
A doctor writing a prescription

‘What level of prescribing will persuade the representatives of GPs and psychiatrists that this epidemic of overprescribing is inappropriate?’ ask the signatories of the first letter below. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

 

So, antidepressant prescribing passed 70 million in England last year (Report, 29 March). We also know that 16% of adults receive one or more prescriptions annually – one in six of us.

 

It’s even higher for women and in deprived areas. The president of the Royal College of GPs says doctors “only prescribe medication to a patient after a full and frank discussion with them, considering their unique circumstances”. In 10-15 minutes? Really? What is the evidence for her claim? She adds that “it’s really important that increasing numbers of antidepressant prescriptions are not automatically seen as a bad thing”.

 

Antidepressant drugs are only marginally better than placebo and come with many risks, including emotional numbing, sexual dysfunction and protracted withdrawal effects. What level of prescribing will persuade the representatives of GPs and psychiatrists that this epidemic of overprescribing is inappropriate? One in four? One in three? Seven out of 10?

 

The main reason prescriptions are going up is not because of reduced stigma, increased levels of “depression” or Brexit anxiety. It’s because more people are dependent, and take them for longer, and can’t get off. It’s time for some leadership in the public interest rather than defending an indefensible situation.

 

Prof John Read Clinical psychologist, University of East London, 

Stevie Lewis Antidepressant dependence sufferer, Chepstow, 

Dr Joanna Moncrieff Psychiatrist, University College London, 

James Moore Antidepressant dependence sufferer, Monmouthshire, 

Prof Peter Kinderman Clinical psychologist, University of Liverpool, 

Dr James Davies Medical anthropologist, Roehampton University

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/05/concerns-over-rising-antidepressant-use

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