Antidepressants can save lives. At best, they work. At worst, they are a sticking plaster, hopefully enabling people to hold it all together until they get other help in the form of talking therapies. Either way, they are not supposed to be long-term medication. NICE guidance anticipates people will usually stop taking taking them 6 months after the depression has lifted. Often, however, they are prescribed for long periods of time. [See footnote]
Whether depression is now better diagnosed or we live in sad times, more and more people are taking the pills and the weeks extend into months and years. In some cases, the users find they can’t stop.
“I am currently trying to wean myself off,” one told researchers, “which honestly is the most awful thing I have ever done. I have horrible dizzy spells and nausea whenever I lower my dose.”
“The withdrawal effects if I forget to take my pill,” another reported, “are severe shakes, suicidal thoughts, a feeling of too much caffeine in my brain, electric shocks, hallucinations, insane mood swings … Kinda stuck on them now cos I’m too scared to come off.”