by: Isabelle Z.
A report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that 61 million antidepressant medications were prescribed last year, which is 31.6 million more than in 2005, and 3.9 million more than in 2014. This category of drugs also noted the biggest numeric rise in prescriptions last year. The total spent each day by the NHS on antidepressants is a staggering £780,000.
What makes this figure particularly alarming, is the fact that these medications have actually been shown to be ineffective. A recent study published in the Lancet showed that only one of 14 commonly used antidepressants was more effective when it comes to relieving depression symptoms than a placebo pill in young people.
A 2010 study published in JAMA showed that SSRIs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil do not benefit people with mild or moderate depression, working no better than a placebo. Other studies have actually shown that even sugar pills might work better than antidepressants!
Studies show side effects far outweigh potential benefits
While taking medications that don’t work might seems like nothing more than a waste of time and money, the truth is that the side effects of antidepressants make this an extremely dangerous practice.
For example, a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes can be two to three times higher if they take antidepressants. A Canadian study found that women who took SSRIs were two times as likely to have a stillbirth, while another showed that they have a 40 percent higher risk of birth defects like cleft palates. The effect of the drugs on blood clotting is believed to be behind the 45 percent higher risk of stroke noted in those who take antidepressants, while overall death rates are 32 percent higher among women who take these medications.
All of these side effects are very concerning, but one in particular could have a big impact on society at large, and that is these drugs’ tendency to incite suicidal thoughts or feelings and violent behavior. This can be evidenced by the extremely high proportion of school shooters and other mass killers who were taking antidepressants or in the process of withdrawing from them at the time they committed these heinous acts. This puts not only the patient at risk, but countless others as well.
British mental health charities call for changes
The head of policy of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, Gillian Connor, said that a greater awareness of mental illnesses and willingness to seek help are likely behind the 107 percent increase in antidepressant prescriptions noted since 2005. She added that the national mental health services are overstretched and underfunded, which is why antidepressants are all too often the only treatment that is available.
She told the Daily Mail: “One in 10 of us will experience depression at some point in our lives. What we want to see is people experiencing depression offered the full range of treatments available, including talking therapies.
“People have to be able to access the treatment that is right for them, whether it’s antidepressants, therapy or a combination of the two.”
The head of policy and campaigns for the mental health charity Mind, Vicki Nash, echoed these sentiments, saying that talk therapies are not available to everyone who needs them. She said that antidepressants are simply not the solution for everybody, and that they should never be used as the first line of treatment for those with mild depression.
Some people with mild depression find that getting better sleep and reducing stress can help take the edge off. The Health Ranger’s Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser can help fill your living space with the refreshing and stress-reducing aroma of peppermint, or perhaps the relaxing effects of lavender essential oil to lift your spirits and ensure you get proper rest to feel your best.