Things To Consider Before Taking Anti Depressants

Things To Consider Before Taking Anti Depressants

by Dr Emma Gray - 1st October, 2014

1. The Underlying Theory is flawed.

Anti depressants (e.g. Citalopram, Sertraline, Paroxetine, Fluoxetine) assume a physiological basis to depression, which as yet, has not proven. Some studies have found differences between the brains of individual with and without depression but these differences can be just as easily explained as being due to depression as well as being a cause of it.

The fact that antidepressants do not work for everyone, do not prevent relapses of depression and that when the course of medication comes to an end symptoms return adds to doubts to theories that suggest depression has a physiological basis and so can effectively be treated by a drug designed to alter that physiology.

2. Advisable as an Adjunct to Therapy Only

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) suggests that depression is not a physical illness but an understandable and natural response to a set of inaccurate and unhelpful thoughts (or cognitions). Research indicates that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is currently the most effective treatment for depression, both in the short and long term which adds weight to this alternate, psychological theory.

However, the effects of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) are not immediate and it requires independent work in between sessions to develop skills to eliminate depression, this requires motivation and concentration, two things that are often in short supply in those with moderate to severe depression. In such cases a short course of anti depressant medication may be advisable as an adjunct to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to facilitate this more effective, long lasting talking therapy treatment.

3. Anti Depressants Provide no Protection Against the Relapse of Depression

Anti depressants do not prevent depression reoccurring. The only treatments that have been shown to reduce the risk of relapse are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MBCBT).

4. Side Effect of Anti Depressants

Due to the excess serotonin that is produced in the brains of individuals who take anti depressant medication, there are a variety of uncomfortable side effects that result from a course of this treatment for depression including anxiety and insomnia; these may be especially bad in the first four to six weeks of taking the medication. The side effects of anti depressants are the most common reason for sufferers to stop taking their prescription.


Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleague once described me as natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.


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