July 24, 2019
Patients coming off antidepressants too quickly are suffering from withdrawal symptoms, suggested a recent study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The researchers said that patients who have been taking antidepressants for a long time are experiencing serious side effects which require immediate support and help.
Antidepressants are medications prescribed by mental health practitioners to treat depression and other mental health conditions. They treat the mental disorder by balancing the chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain that affect emotions and moods.
Prescriptions for antidepressants doubled in 10 years
The study observed that the number of prescriptions for antidepressants in the UK have increased by nearly two-folds between 2007 and 2017, with the number of prescriptions increasing to 82 million from 40 million. Further, the period between 2015 and 2018 witnessed an increase of 15 percent in the number of antidepressants prescribed to treat depression amongst children.
According to the best practices of medicine, a normal course of antidepressants should last for about 6 months. For patients with a high risk of relapse, the course of medication may continue for up to 2 years. However, patients were prescribed antidepressants for a longer time period than needed.
The study also highlighted other startling revelations. The National Healthcare System (NHS) data showed that prescriptions for conditions like anxiety and depression had doubled from 2008 to 2017. A spokesperson from the NHS said that though antidepressants did help, prescribing pills for every disorder was not the solution as this led to patients taking unnecessary medicines and the taxpayers’ money being spent on avoidable prescriptions.
Another review by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence indicated that more than a million people in the UK suffered from severe side effects and experienced withdrawal symptoms while coming off antidepressants.
Guidelines of drug prescription need upgradation
Currently, the national guidelines of drug prescription are being updated. Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that the updates should be made on the basis of feedbacks received from the patients; especially about the range of side effects they experience while coming off a drug. In addition, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has also made the following suggestions while updating the guidelines:
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which is in charge of updating the guidelines, has said that the final guidelines will provide depression patients with more options of treatment and also with choices that will help them decide their treatment programs. NICE further added that it was important that they conducted a comprehensive assessment of all evidence available to understand the consequences of the serious and devastating side effects patients go through while coming off antidepressants.
Contradictions to antidepressants use
It is important to seek treatment for severe depression. Antidepressants may be useful in the treatment of moderate to severe depression along with therapies but like any other drugs, they also have side effects.
Dr. Adrian James, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that depression caused a great amount of suffering which is why it is important that patients are provided with opportunities to discuss the effects of coming off antidepressants with their doctors.
Seeking treatment for depression
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders as it’s identified by the sense of feeling low and having lost the sense of pleasure and happiness in life. According to a health report, more than 300 million people suffer from depression all over the world. Major depression leads to suicide which is one of the leading causes of death not only in the world but also in the U.S.
Treatment for mental health disorders is available at various reputed and licensed inpatient treatment centers across the country. If you or a loved one is battling a mental health disorder and is looking for an inpatient rehab for depression, get in touch with the Invictus Health Group. For more information about inpatient programs for depression, call our 24/7 helpline 866-548-0190 and speak to a member of our admissions team. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.