This has been described as the antidepressant era. And you might well wonder if England is a nation on antidepressant meds.
Well, the National institute for Health and Clinical excellence (NICE) have recommended that GP s should only prescribe antidepressant medication for severe cases of depression because it is not cost effective otherwise.
Indeed, the research data do not support the use of antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression because they are not very helpful at all.
But clearly GPs feel the need to give a patient something that may have the potential to be useful which has led to this being dubbed the antidepressant era. But of course hope of a treatment through placebo effects is not the best clinical strategy. The NICE guidance is that a talking therapy or a self help tool such as Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) be offered.
The Antidepressant Era: How common is depression
I looked into the whole issue of the antidepressant era a bit further so I could lay the bigger picture before you. The lifetime prevalence of mixed anxiety and depression for men,aged between 16 – 74 is estimated to be 9.1% of the population while for women it is 13.6% of the total population (source: Depression: The treatment and management of depression in adults: National Clinical Practice Guideline 90 NICE 2010, p.22).
Yet the level of antidepressant medication prescribing in some cities and towns is far above what might be expected based on these data. GPs are massively over-prescribing antidepressants we know this because the NICE guidance says don't prescribe unless the depression is severe and we know from the data collected by the National Comorbidity survey that there are many less severely depressed people that prescriptions for anti depressants issued monthly.
Therefore GPs are prescribing antidepressants in preference to the treatment that is supposed to be offered. That is either computerised CBT or talking therapies. I hold the view that GPs are well meaning and committed to the well being of their patients. Therefore they must be over prescribing because they feel they need to, probably through lack of effective alternatives.
The Antidepressant Era: Is the doctor always right?
As a member of the general public I rely on my doctor to know what to do if I have a medical problem! I am generally a well informed person (especially about matters psychological) but when it comes to skin problems, or cancer, of heart problems then I am no better informed than the general layman. I reply on my GP. But if the GP cannot offer what is recommended and known to be effective then this reliance is misplaced.
Some primary care trusts in the UK have tiny levels of therapists trained and ready to offer you CBT therapy should you want that as an alternative to antidepressant meds. If you live in one of the poorly provided zones for face to face therapy such as Hillingdon, Croydon, Stockton on Tees, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, Luton and many others then you need to take a degree of control over your own mental health issues. There is no alternative if you want to feel better any time soon.
Suppose your GP was doing their best but only had poor options to choose from! In some places in the country there is very little in the way of face to face talking therapies. There are no viable alternatives on offer from the NHS other than a long waiting list. Not a very attractive option when you have a pressing need for help with depression and anxiety.
The Antidepressant Era: Take responsibility for your own mental health
I believe that it is time to take more responsibility for your own mental health care. For cancer I probably say leave it to the doctors and the same with broken bones. But where your own well being, happiness and satisfaction with life are concerned; take more control.
My research, some of which is recently published in the journal Primary Care Today (Autumn 2013, pp28-29 Treating Depression - Are Therapists Out of Date?) shows that when you take control over your own depression or anxiety treatment you can finish with antidepressants, achieve good mental health and remain well.
Data from the article showed that Blues Begone was able to remove 60% of users from the clinical depression category (they were cured) and 50% of users from the clinical anxiety category (cured of anxiety). In addition it helped others make substantial clinical gains.
When we use the broader definition of clinical outcome favoured by the IAPT Talking Therapies organisation then we can state that with Blues Begone 70% of depressed users achieved clinically significant change and 60% of anxious users achieved clinically significant change.
There is a power in committing to and taking control over your own well-being that puts your efforts into stellar orbit. What you can achieve is only limited by your commitment to the process of feeling good again.
The Antidepressant Era: Blues Begone
Blues Begone is a computerised CBT program that delivers 30 sessions of CBT therapy to you over a periods of 8 - 12 weeks. Blues Begone is usually delivered on a DVD that holds the program. You install it once and then it starts to learn about you. Blues Begone creates a unique treatment Roadmap to Recovery that takes you all the way from depression to wellness.
All you have to do is a little bit every day. Furthermore Blues Begone is engaging and interesting. See the comments of users who were interviewed after completing the program. They really enjoyed using Blues Begone while at the same time recovering from depression and anxiety.
Blues Begone offers a unique money back guarantee. Feel better or your money back.
References used in this article