By phasing out lamotrigine, known more widely by the trade name Lamictal, and other antidepressants, I have recently ended 18 years of uninterrupted medication use to treat depression. It’s been a rough ride with 20 different psychotropic drugs. I had a few good periods with their help, but for the most part the results have […]
Trying to get a balanced view of antidepressants is becoming harder by the day. Supporters of antidepressant use shoot down the statements of those activists who reject the use of psychiatric medications. Those activists, in turn, debunk the simplistic claims that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, describe the drugs as useless or worse and go after the pervasive influence of the pharmaceutical companies.
Those who’ve used medications for years are taking sides as well. If your life has either been saved or shattered by these medications, you’ll talk and write passionately about your experience. You want others to get the information that’s guided you, but misinformation is everywhere.
The more I get into the research on antidepressants, the more questions I have. In the last post, I raised issues about the endless search for the right medication; the discouraging record of relapse after becoming symptom-free; and the puzzling primacy of antidepressant treatment for an illness with complex causes that go way beyond biology.
Those questions are only the starters. I have even greater concern about long-term antidepressant treatment. Most psychiatrists consider it necessary for severe, recurrent illness, but others – apparently a small minority – are speaking out about adverse effects of using these drugs for prolonged periods.
If you’re depressed, you will get a prescription for an antidepressant, sooner or later. In fact, medication is likely to be the first treatment you receive, perhaps the only one. Most people are fine with that. They want to feel better fast, and medication seems like the best route. Primary care physicians and psychiatrists prescribe […]