Healthy people who take antidepressants are twice as likely to become suicidal and violent, researchers claim.
The first ever review of trials of antidepressants taken by healthy adults, who have no signs of a mental disorder, concludes the pills doubled harms related to suicide and violence.
1 in 11 people in the England take antidepressants and their use has nearly doubled in the last decade, from 29 million prescriptions in 2004 to 57 million in 2014.
The new analysis, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, examined 13 previous trials of antidepressant drugs, and the researchers, from the Nordic Cochrane Centre and the University of Copenhagen, claim the original papers UNDERESTIMATED the risk of suicide and other harms.
“The reporting of harms in drug trials is generally poor”
“It is well documented that drug companies under-report seriously the harms of antidepressants related to suicide and violence, either by simply omitting them from reports, by calling them something else or by committing scientific misconduct,” said lead author Professor Peter Gøtzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre.
He added that: “The reporting of harms in drug trials is generally poor. Our review established the trials did not report much about their methodology and the reporting of adverse events was generally inadequate.”
Some other experts disagree.
Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Overall, medications used in any branch of medicine do good can also do harm. The same applies in psychiatry. Current evidence from large scale studies continues to show that for antidepressants the benefits outweigh the risks.”
My personal experience with antidepressants was mixed. Although I had short periods where their use appeared to help alleviate my symptoms, longer term use lead to side effects.
It reached a point where I was so dependant on my happy pills that forgetting to take them would cause physical withdrawal.
I felt I was becoming a junkie, hooked on my prescription, but I had no choice…
The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that 50-65 per cent of people treated with an antidepressant for depression will see an improvement. Using antidepressants did give me some temporary relief, but the thought of being on them for life (I felt strongly addicted) made me more depressed and stuck in a mindset of “why me?”
There is another way
An new American study, by researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has now found that two sessions combining meditation and aerobic exercise per week for two months can reduce the symptoms of depression by 40 per cent.
The researchers followed both students suffering from depression and mentally healthy students for eight weeks, during which time they attended two sessions per week including 30 minutes of meditation and 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.
The students were also told to refocus on their breathing if they found their thoughts drifting to the past or the future, to help the depressed students accept moment-to-moment changes in attention.
40 per cent improvement without negative side effects!
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