Moodscope's blog

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August


Prozac nation. Monday August 5, 2013

Last Tuesday I read an article which reported a 460% increase in prescriptions for antidepressants such as Prozac in the UK since 1991. 50 million were prescribed in England alone last year.

I know many are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the economic factors which have been impacting on people's lives over the last few years.

But are antidepressants the answer? And are they really being handed out to the right people after a proper diagnosis?

Why might I think this? Well, three people I know have had their doctors suggest they're suffering from clinical depression when it seems likely they're not.

The first was a 16-year-old girl who'd just started her menstrual cycle. She was quite tearful and didn't know why, so went to the doctor. Obviously her hormones were playing havoc with her emotions and I'm sure they would have settled down over time, but she was told she was depressed and prescribed antidepressants on an ongoing basis which she's now taking.

The second was my friend's mother who has diabetes. Because of her condition, the National Health Service has been providing her with free foot care for many years. This has now been cut back. Not surprisingly she's quite upset about this, so was letting her feelings be known to the doctor. He suggested that she was depressed and needed antidepressants. But she wasn't depressed. She was just having a moan.

Lastly, my husband went for a blood test for a suspected liver complaint. You guessed it: "I think you may be depressed, I'll prescribe some antidepressants."

No. He was just anxious waiting for his results.

If I didn't know better, I might be tempted to believe that doctors are being evaluated on the number of antidepressant prescriptions they hand out. Maybe to boost the UK government's 'happiness index'?

What do you think?

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

http://moodscope.blogspot.com/2013/08/prozac-nation.html


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Comments

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 6:49am

Medications are simply lifesaving for a number of people, including myself. It is incredibly irresponsible to suggest that "antidepressants are not the answer." You are not a medical professional, and you are not qualified to evaluate whether someone has depression or not. Nor do you necessarily have the whole story on these folks. I find this post incredibly offensive and I'm going to have to leave Moodscope now.

ursus Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 7:37am

Agreed! I was also shocked to read such a one-sided and potentially dangerous email from Moodscope this morning. Whilst I do not agree with unnecessary or hasty prescription of antidepressants (and it seems from the facts presented to us that antidepressants were not the right course of action in the 3 patients described BUT neither we as readers or the writer of this article are in possession of all the facts), I think that it is highly irresponsible to give such a one-sided view to the Moodscope population, who may well be in need of medication yet are simultaneously struggling with ideas of this being unnecessary and that they should just 'man up' or try harder and that relying on antidepressants is lazy and indulgent.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:01am

....your email touched on the issue of possible inappropriate prescribing of anti depressants...the people who you mention went to their doctor with symptoms and the doctor probably listened to them describe their symptoms and then asked appropriate questions to clarify the situation...the doctor probably discussed options with them..it is possible that given their situation a supportive discussion/mini counselling by the doctor and time might resolve their symptoms however it is possible that the use of antidepressents in these situations might resolve their symptoms more quickly...and the patients may have expressed a desire to try this course of action after the pros & cons were explained to them by the doctor...patients have choices and what's appropriate for one patient in a given situation might be deemed inappropriate in a similar situation....of course doctors are working in a time-pressure situation and may not have enough time to fully explore the pros & cons of all the possible options available to help resolve the patient's symptoms as quickly as possible...but that's the NHS for you...

Unknown Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:08am

I agree with your post. Meds are prescribed way too much. Logically, depression should have been declining over the past 20 years as prescriptions have quadrupled, but the opposite has occurred! Explain that?

For mild to moderate depression there is no evidence that Meds are any more effective than the placebo. Several years ago a study compared moderate exercise to Zoloft and found the exercise to be more effective in alleviating depression.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:14am

I have to say, this is an interesting perspective but I'm not sure if it was an appropriate message for the daily moodscope email. A lot of people who read them do so for support and encouragement and hope. They don't want to read it and feel even worse by the end of it, because someone suggested the medication they are taking was given to them without a second thought.

I was on anti-depressants for a year, and I can say for definite that they completely helped me. I went into hospital and was a huge risk for myself a year and a half ago. Today, I am preparing to go to university in a month or so. I am better because of the medication I received, and now I can continue with my life and achieve my dreams. Without those anti-depressants, this would definitely not be where I am sat today.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:19am

For a small percentage of people medication is a lifesaver and nothing else helps. However many people can learn to manage depression and improve their coping and even learn to thrive through the skills learned in therapy. It seems that with managed healthcare it is easier and cheaper to give medication than prescribe therapy which will teach people how to manage their emotions. Any unhappiness that has continued for two weeks is called depression if it affects any area of functioning. It is normal to grieve when your life changes suddenly or you are suffering severe financial problems or in a bad relationship where you feel trapped. It is normal to feel sad when you are worried and anticipating a life-changing outcome or event. Many people also just want to feel better rather than take steps to deal with their emotions but over time it does not work - I have always told my clients that you cannot fool the body and soul forever and eventually the medication does not work if you really should be doing something to change your life. There are however, times when short term medication helps a person to be able to deal with therapy once it has raised their mood and energy a bit. Sleeping tablets are another area of concern regarding medication especially for people who have gone through bereavement or once off trauma. There are many good and very short term therapeutic methods for supporting people through trauma and bereavement and teaching them how to cope with negative emotions. Our emotional wounds are also our potential area of personal growth.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:27am

This post has started an interesting debate - I think the wording could have been more neutral ie antidepressants may not always be the answer. I have taken antidepressants - after my Dad died I really struggled and medication did help me get myself together. However I've just gone through cancer treatment and at no stage felt I needed any pharmalogical help to cope - mind you, my body was full of so many poisonous drugs it probably wouldn't have noticed 'nice' antidepressants!

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:28am

Of course the issue of anti-depressants is a touchy subject. Not surprising that many moodscopers will have been coping with an illness related to depression and will be relying on antiptressants over time. The other side of the story is there is an awareness that the need for and use of antidepressants has increased to the point of no return. Some knowledge of natural supplements like Omega oils to supplement the bodies depleting stress management resources could be helpful. As a massage therapist and smoking cessation counsellor my stress levels are easily depleted when I push myself to work at the level required to keep on top of things. I feel fortunate that I have used natural 'adaptogenic' remedies effectively over the years for myself knowing that my mother's psychiatric illness and heavy dosing means I also have to take care.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:33am

I first discovered that I was prone to serious depression about 40 years ago. Fortunately my wonderful Doctor prescribed me some anti-depressants and within about nine months I had recovered enough to stop taking them. I also changed my lifestyle completely to try to avoid the situation which was causing the problems.
Unfortunately, about twenty years ago I found myself embroiled in a situation which was beyond my control or indeed comprehension. I had become unwittingly caught up in an ongoing financial deception started by my then Bank Manager and continued by various white-collared 'crooks' also part of the so-called 'professional establishment'. (five in total).
Fortunately, because of my previous experience, I recognised the signs of depression and insisted that my Doctor prescribed me Prozac. I have been on them ever since and can honestly say that they have enabled me to continue and try to rectify a situation that wrecked every part of my career and personal life.
Prozac has been an absolute life saver for me, and I feel so privileged that they are available to help people like myself.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:36am

Your email has the tone of a chat show radio Doc who wants to take a view that will cause a shouting argument and is not what I would have expected from Moodscope in its original form. However, in my experience very few GPs understand the benefits of or the impact and side effects of antidepressant medication. Often the side effects can, especially in the early stages have a very debilitating effect. If the is not understood and planned for the patient may well deteriorate and might often stop taking the med.. Other options may need to be examined e.g. vitamin supplements such as B12 and Vitamin D may help. Exercise is an option but if the individual is in a state of depression, getting out of bed is the first target not running on a treadmill. Talking therapies might help but not always and the delivery of these is a game/business in itself. The GP often has little knowledge (particularly older Doctors), always has limited time and the support that might otherwise be offered is a box ticking process that is not fit for purpose. Self help when the energy returns is often the most beneficial route and this site has helped greatly with that but unfortunately the tone of your email suggests no understanding and no actual experience of depression but it might have provoked a discussion. It is however well below par for Moodscope of old.

Sarah Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:51am

I write posts regularly for Moodscope (I did last Friday’s) and am shocked by such partisan opinions being sent out this morning. I have been a user for over two years, and offered to write the emails from time to time when John left as I thought they were a way of connecting with people and supporting those like myself. I realise it's probably a glitch in the system and that Moodscope is run by volunteers, but I fear many of those turning to the message for a daily boost will feel confused and upset. Here 'facts' such as the increase in the number of Prozac prescriptions are validated by totally subjective anecdotes about three people known the writer. But SO much detail is omitted. Prozac and SSRIs were not even readily available within the NHS in 1991 - Prozac wasn’t launched in the US until 1988. They may not be right for everyone, nonetheless they were the first antidepressants that didn't, for many, come with a lot of physical side effects. So it’s little surprise their usage has increased in the time since. Of *course* there is a place for therapy – and it would be splendid if GPs were able to prescribe it – but in their hands are often tied. Why? Because therapy costs up to £50 an hour. A month’s supply of antidepressants is far cheaper. And we have an NHS that’s being cut by the government. We can all to the maths. And so it goes on. But please, if anyone is considering leaving Moodscope because of this post, don’t. It really is a great tool, and this is just one ill-informed message out of hundreds. Indeed, I’ll email Caroline right now and offer to do a more sympathetic message which I hope the system allows her to post tomorrow!

Sarah Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:58am

Hi Anonymous, I'm Sarah, and I've replied more fully below. I agree this is a very unsympathetic email and it shocked me too. However I write emails regularly for Moodscope and believe this to be one bad apple and it would be a shame if it spoiled the whole bunch for you and you left. It isn't, I believe, typical of those sent out usually, and it doesn't, I am sure, reflect the opinions of the Moodscope team per se. Moodscope is a great tool - both the daily messages and the charts - but it is run by volunteers. Glitches happen, and this message was one of them. Hopefully future emails will resonate with you more.

Julia Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:58am

When I first read the blog, my reaction was similar in that it was a fairly political blog and also one sided... until I saw that Caroline wrote it. Leaving aside the content of the blog, I wanted to say that Caroline took on Moodscope from Jon a while back and continued it in a very successful way, adapting it slightly where necessary but largely leaving it as it was when Jon Cousin's great idea started. Please do not leave Moodscope.. for your sakes. Just because one blog didn't strike a chord or worse, doesn't mean that you have to give up something which is in my view 100% helpful. Even getting in a rage about a blog is good! I often get in rages about the blogs but see it as quite intellectually challenging.
My thoughts on this blog are that the NHS are in fact offering more counselling now and in my experience I was not allowed to start anti depressants without a commitment to start a course of NHS counselling. In the end neither did much for me. I even thought the Prozac was a dodgy import from abroad or a Placebo as I felt no different taking it. The counselling was OK but not brill. However it was a good attempt by the NHS to get things going in the right direction.
Anti depressants help some people and not others. This is true of any prescribed drug. So those moodscopers on anti depressants or currently thinking they feel so low they must ask their Dr to perhaps prescribe some, don't worry. Even different brands of anti depressants help some and not others. GPs are gearing themselves up nowadays to deal more circumspectly with depression but at the same time anti depressants are a wonderful way to give a depressed patient immediate hope. To kick start them into feeling happier.
But please, Caroline is working so hard on our behalf, she is a good caring person; don't give up on Moodscope just because you don't agree with one blog.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:02am

Hi there, thanks for your comments. I absolutely agree that medications are lifesaving for a number of people and wasn't for a minute suggesting that they are not. I was relaying some recent experiencing of people I know who were quite upset that they were being offered anti-depressants for what they thought was no apparent reason. I haven't posted this blog to upset anyone, just to raise the issue and see what other people's views are. From previous blogs I've seen some excellent and informative feedback from Moodscopers and was hoping this would happen once again which it is. I do hope you don't leave Moodscope because of this post.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:06am

I thought it was a great blog.
Jake

Caroine Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:16am

Hi Ursus, please see my reply above. I'm not really sure why you think this email is dangerous. I am only talking about people being offered anti-depressants when they don't have any symptoms which the people involved thought was a little odd and so did I. I know how important anti-depressants are for some people and wasn't for a minute suggesting they should not be prescibed or that those that take them are lazy or indulgent.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:24am

Hi there, I agree with what you are saying but sadly this wasn't the case with at least two of the people I am referring to. If the lady with diabetes and my husband had gone to the doctors with symptoms of depression I could understand it, but to be offered anti-depressants when going for a blood test and a diabetes check up seems a little strange to me and to them.

I have to say, although our doctors are working in a time-pressure situation and it's not ideal, we are very lucky having the NHS.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:33am

Hi there, as I've said previously, I am not suggesting anti-depressants are not appropriate in the right circumstances and I know they help many people. It sounds like they really helped you - that's great to hear. I hope university goes well for you.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:35am

Thanks for this. I also agree therapy is extremely helpful, unfortunately I'm not sure how available it is for some people.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:44am

Well, I tend to agree with Caroline - I've been to the docs this week with anxiety following an illness while I was on holiday in spain, I wasn't listened to, nor examined fully, the doctor told me she was in a hurry and suggested two options, anti-depressants or beta blockers and got quite impatient with me when I declined either option.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:55am

I thought it was a great blog too. I am very worried about the amount of people who are put on antidepressants when they are just reacting normally to life events.. There is most certainly a place for ad's but I also feel that lots of people particularly youngsters are put on them far too soon.

ontheaxis Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 10:01am

This is a hugely unhelpful blogpost. Unless you are the GP or Psychiatrist prescribing, who cares what you think about anyone's anti-depressant prescription except your own?

Anti-depressants may be over-prescribed. The ways to deal with this might include improving medical education so as to improve the quality of the doctor-patient dialogue and ethical behaviour by pharmaceuticals companies.

But I see no place for this blogpost as either contributing to better practice or supporting those with depression.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 10:02am

The message taken from this blog is: think carefully about anything your doctor is suggesting in the way of pharmaceutical drugs and make your own informed decision. Unfortunately, there are many doctors out there who know very little about health and healing. Many have minds that are closed which is dangerous given that their science isn't even that up to date. I hope all of you have a thoughtful and balanced doctor....but you might not.

Brian Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 10:16am

Surely to leave moodscope because you don't agree with one email is to cut off your nose to spite your face. I'll probably be in need of antidepressants for the rest of my life but it doesn't mean that I can't see where today's email was coming from.

Doctors used to prescribe antibiotic's willy-nilly, even for viruses, which, as we know now, can't be treated by antibiotic's. So it is today with antidepressant's.

And actually, even for those who are mildly depressed and in need of aid to lift their mood, I hope the future offers a more diverse and multi-pronged strategy as opposed to the carte blanche prescribing of drugs.

Yes, it is very apparent to me that today's post was NOT intended for those who are in need of anti-depressants.

Thank you to all at Moodscope for all your hard work and ongoing efforts.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 10:22am

I think we can be pretty certain that doctors are not being evaluated on the number of anti-depressant prescriptions that they hand out in order to boost the UK government's 'happiness index'. What a crazy notion! - the government are trying to reduce spending not increase it by handing out unnecessary prescriptions.

It is however a truth that there is much debate amongst professionals and patients regarding the effectiveness of anti-depressants and it is right that questions should be asked if they appear to be being prescribed for people who don't really need them.

Three months ago I was severely depressed, my brain was not working, I could not communicate, interact with loved ones or friends. I could not work or think straight (apart from dreaming up ingenious ways to kill myself)......my GP prescribed Citalopram...it was a long slow haul to where I am now, but without anti-depressants I would probably not be here today.

I am one of the lucky ones, anti-depressants work for me and I am extremely thankful that I live in an age where science at least has some understanding of depressive illness.

General Practitioners have a very difficult job, they are expected to accurately diagnose every case that walks through their door. Doctors are human, they cannot work miracles and like all of us they can make mistakes. Just as Caroline has with this email, which we can be sure was drafted with every good intention but which perhaps might have been a little more sensitive to those of us for whom SSRI anti-depressants are quite literally a 'life-saver'.

Keep up the good work Caroline. Even if you cannot please all of the people all of the time, the majority of Moodscope users are extremely grateful for what you do for us.

Perhaps those who have got so hot under the collar could be a little more forgiving....they may feel better as a result.

love and hugs

Phil G :-)




Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 10:39am

I think the comments suggesting this email is irresponsible are missing the point and obviously have never suffered witht he side affects of taking or coming off of prozac. Taking it nearly ruined my life, it made me have massive mood swings, increased my suicidal thoughts, gave me a 'fuzzy' head constantly and I didn't know which way was up. Above all it made me totally numb. I understand for some people medications work but I think the point of the email was that they are prescribed much too easily, for instance it has taken 4 years of me seeing doctors and therapists to finally have been referred to CBT sessions which have been the most helpful thing I've ever done to combat my depression.Medication is a fine short term fix but in the long run I think it is just plugging the 'wound' of the problem rather helping the heal it

Julia Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 10:39am

Such a great post Phi G
Citalopram worked for me too but Prozac didn't. We all react differently to drugs just as we react differently to blogs. Which IMO makes it all the more difficult for GPs to prescribe the correct treatment.
But Moodsope caters for all!

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:15am

I believe the email is irresponsible because it does not present a balanced viewpoint admitting that medication is an important part of a overall plan to help people with mental health issues. It is also anecdotal, when the point of view of the poster would be better served to present supporting facts to her argument.

The irresponsibility is doubled for bipolar patients, who are tempted to go off their medication and don't need anecdotal and unproven assumptions to encourage them, or rather me, to go off their meds. I stick to my meds and routines. There are other patients who will take this email to justify coming off their meds.

I am surprised this email made it through. There must not be any legal, medical or ethical guidelines in place at Moodscope to allow this post through.

smoothrider Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:22am

Your views on anti depressants are not controversial, there has long been a debate about their effectiveness. So why all the heat? I gave them up years ago, despite recurrent onsets of low mood (often mistakenly called depression) which I have learned to deal with in other ways or forestall by lifestyle changes. See Bipolar UK website for example. I continue to to take Lithium, mostly effective as prophylactic for mania. People who rely on 'I took them for six months and it helped me' can never of course tell you what would have happened had they not, or tried other approaches.

Soraya Tate Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:42am

I think today's email is dangerously controversial. You need actual proof before you suggest that a)you know better than a doctor and b)you push a popular conspiracy theory

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:47am

Hi Caroline,
I haven't posted on here for ages, but was moved to do so this morning as I agree with some of the others who say your post is potentially dangerous.
I was shocked when I read it. People with depression can be very very vulnerable and can be at risk of suicide. To throw open a debate like this, questioning the prescription of anti-depressants, especially in such facile and simplistic terms, in my view could be very confusing and upsetting for a person in such a state, who may be just hanging on by a thread.
In my view this is a valid debate, but not for Moodscope which I thought was here to offer support and encouragement and possibly a little light relief and humour to depression sufferers - such that they can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Depression can be a very serious illness.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:57am

Hi
I agree with you whole-heartedly. I think the post shows a fundamental lack of understanding and awareness of what depression is, and what a depressed person can feel and experience, especially for bipolar sufferers - who may be at risk of suicide. A very irresponsible post in my view.

colette Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:21pm

Ridiculous post. This is the only post that has ever prompted me to dump moodscope. I can't even respond because I am speechless/wordless in response to such irresponsible and myopic suggestions. Maybe some other time I can muster enough intestinal fortitude to reply with grace.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:35pm

Hi there, sorry about the tone of the blog, it wasn't intentional.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:41pm

Thanks Julia. I think it's horses for courses and I support any of the many different solutions on offer if they help someone.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:46pm

Hi there, I care about their welfare as these people matter to me. I thought the discussion might be of interest to others but perhaps this was the wrong platform.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:46pm

Thanks.

Julia Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:47pm

Colette. I think if you dump Moodscope, you will only be harming yourself. I am sorry you feel like you do. I am not part of the Moodsope team just an ordinary member who has been helped enormously by Moodscope and really want others to be helped too.
I hope your thought about leaving is just a knee jerk reaction.
BTW, you know the hard cover self interview books you mentioned in yesterday's postings. Are they available in say Waterstones or Amazon UK?

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:49pm

Thanks Brian. I'm pleased you understand and thank you for posting.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:52pm

I agree, thanks Phil.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:54pm

Thank you and it's great to know that you've found the right solution for yourself.

Julia Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 12:58pm

Dear Caroline
Actually you have provoked some very interesting discussions today and I believe it is the right platform.
I am sorry you have come under such personal attack in some cases though, but sadly that's the internet for you. Fortunately there are some very measured considered opinions expressed today and I am sure those particular ones will help other people enormously.
When those who have been a bit vitriolic in their posts, take time to reflect about your post, I am sure thy will continue to use Moodscope. We and they are an intelligent caring bunch who need Moodscope. I can almost guarantee if some do leave which is doubtful, they will re join.
You most certainly do care about the welfare of others otherwise you wouldn't be working 7 days a week and on holiday, for us all.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 1:27pm

Hi both, sorry you think it's irresponsible but I think you have misunderstood my point. I was just asking why anti-depressants were being offered to people that weren't depressed. I think medication is right for many people and was not suggesting that people should not take it.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 1:30pm

Hi there, I definitely didn't mean it to be dangerous in any way. I think you might be right that this was not the right platform. I do understand that depression is a very serious illness.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 1:39pm

Hi, no, we are just pointing out that when you say 'are anti-depressants the answer' a bi-polar person is likely to read that as 'maybe I ac come off the pills' and a fragile, depressed person could get very upset and confused about whether they are doing the right thing in taking their medication. I am speaking from personal experience. Your post is not helpful for a depressed person - depression affects your thinking and reasoning abilities, which is why I'm wondering if this is the right forum for a debate? I dont think that's what most Moodscopers are needing.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 2:52pm

I DO agree, sometimes I feel this world wants to have everyone walking around like zombies. I DO ALSO know that some of US do need help with the antidepressants, mood stabilizers etc. But I have also seen and heard dr's doing this. its like they don't really try to find the root of the problem.....just... "your depressed so take these"
I for one do NOT take things like emotional, mental and physical problems lightly. I have my own battles. But Of course I serve the Conqueror who is Lord over these bodies. But HE did give us a brain to take care of them. lol

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 2:54pm

....oh I was agreeing with Caroline. lol

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 3:09pm

Who is the conquerer? Caroline perhaps? I don't think any of us want to SERVE someone!

Lostinspace Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 3:09pm

Hello? Has everyone gone mad as well as depressed? When I read this I thought oh yes absolutely they are sometimes being handed out too freely but I am not one of the three people Caroline talks about and I take anti-depressants. It's going to turn out to be a very good post because it should make us think about any of our nearest or dearest who are prescribed medication when an alternative might be effective. I don't know what the percentages are but I think perhaps a significant proportion of the people who use Moodscope are severely depressed in a clinical way and track their mood but I know many people who like to only read the posts and never bother to "track", this could be a really good one for them - Moodscope helps them if they don't need pills.
As for shock and outrage, I save that for Syria and Iraq and the whole shower of other horrible things happening in the world.
How about according Caroline the same care and attention she daily gives to us and if you think she is mistaken is that a reason for shouting at her?

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 3:20pm

Hurray for Lostinspace! Well said. Quite right.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 3:33pm

Hi, I'm sure no one is making any kind of personal attack on Caroline, after all we don't know who she is! But we can be honest about what we think and how we feel about her post, but that's nothing against her as a person.

Alison Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 3:58pm

Hi, Caroline... I think with all of this, perhaps the take-away is to remember the audience. Moodscopers are a bunch of people who do struggle with this, or we wouldn't be here. I agree with your message, and it's these doctors that prescribe antidepressants willy-nilly that give it such a bad rap. But it was also thoughts like this that held me back from trying them for TEN YEARS. Earlier this year, I finally took the leap, and it has improved my quality of life so much. I regret being so afraid earlier. Even though intellectually, many Moodscopers can agree with what you were saying, I think emotionally that's not the case. We're fragile when it comes to things like this. I appreciate your writing for the daily messages, but please remember who you're writing to. Best to you.

Gail Campbell Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:16pm

Hello Everyone,

I think the above comments illustrate the dangers of 'back seat prescribing'. The title 'Prozac nation' is tendentious and clearly slanted. I have been taking psychotropic medications for a serious mental illness (bipolar disorder) for years now. I also follow developments in the mental health arena very closely. I am aghast that this blog-post is second-guessing medical professionals. Certainly, mistakes are made in prescribing medications for all conditions - but what are you suggesting? That the random sample named above is a typical representation of prescribing practices? How could you possibly know this? The number of anti-depressants prescribed is a meaningless number without any statistical context whatsoever. This, alas, is a common refrain - blanket statements which are empirically meaningless...If I said the national debt is £1.2 trillion, it is meaningless out of context. What about the millions (7 billion on earth now) whose lives have been changed by medication for depression and other mental illnesses? If there is to be a debate, can it at least be informed.

Julia Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:31pm

Hi Gail. As Caroline has said above, she gave 3 examples where anti depressants had been handed out to people who had visited their Dr for reasons other than depression, one was a girl with menstrual problems, the 2nd, Someone with diabetes and the third wanting the results of the blood test..Nowhere does she suggest that "this random sample is a typical representation of prescribing practices"
She also states in other replies that she agrees anti depressants are life saving for many people.
There are so many posts today, it's not surprising points are missed!

Ginny Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:34pm

I am sure that depression etc could be managed without anti-depressants, but once you are in the cycle of meds it is very difficult to get off them, mainly because of the side effects and also if you relapse. I am now on mood stabilisers as I have bi-polar and I know they keep me well.

Ginny Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:36pm

i meant withdrawal effects, not side effects

Bill Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:38pm

Today’s post and the replies have prompted me to write a rather long reply myself. Please feel free to skip it or ignore it if you feel it is too long. I write it with the very best of intention. Because of it's length it has been split over a few comment boxes.

Thanks,

Bill

Bill Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:42pm

I do not at all profess to be any sort of expert but I write this with some knowledge about the subject. As a dentist, I have a considerable medical training. As a trained Human Givens Therapist and a practitioner and supervisor of other practitioners, I have 10 years experience of treating clients with depression. I have done considerable research and continuing professional development training around the SSRI area and have taught a course titled ‘Drugs, Psychotherapy and Side-Effects’. Finally, I myself have a psychiatric diagnosis of bi-polar disorder and take a psychotropic medication that I believe helps me. However, over a 16 year period I took many other medications that most definitely did not. These included different SSRI drugs amongst others. I’ve been using Moodscope since 2011. I’m writing this post by making comment on Caroline’s post.

Bill Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:43pm

“Last Tuesday I read an article which reported a 460% increase in prescriptions for antidepressants such as Prozac in the UK since 1991. 50 million were prescribed in England alone last year.”

This is correct.

“I know many are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the economic factors which have been impacting on people's lives over the last few years.”

This is probably correct.

“But are antidepressants the answer? And are they really being handed out to the right people after a proper diagnosis?”

This is simply asking whether they are the right answer for, presumably, the…
“many are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the economic factors which have been impacting on people's lives over the last few years”…

Furthermore, it suggests that they should be handed out to “the right people after a proper diagnosis”…

“Why might I think this? Well, three people I know have had their doctors suggest they're suffering from clinical depression when it seems likely they're not.”

This is the basis of Caroline’s wonder, based on her direct knowledge of the people she knows. Surely, she is allowed to wonder.

Bill Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:44pm

“The first was a 16-year-old girl who'd just started her menstrual cycle. She was quite tearful and didn't know why, so went to the doctor. Obviously her hormones were playing havoc with her emotions and I'm sure they would have settled down over time, but she was told she was depressed and prescribed antidepressants on an ongoing basis which she's now taking.”

Well, fair enough, here I guess Caroline is making a judgment and a GP might know that an ssri could help the girl with her problems. But, it still, for me, raises some interesting points.

• SSRI drugs are what they say they are, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Over 90% of the serotonin in our bodies is NOT in our brains. It is mainly in our intestines. SSRI drugs have a very wide reach in our bodies. Many males (and some females) will know this because of interference with sexual function. So, really, while these drugs are commonly called ‘Antidepressants’, in fact this is only 1 of their many areas of action.
• Depression as a diagnosis is a sort of ‘catch-all’. The term ‘Clinical Depression’ has a grave sound to it but it is based on a check list described in the psychiatric diagnosis book (Called DSM for short) where if one has either/or/and of various different observed elements (e’g. low mood, lack of interest in things one is usually interested in, upset sleep patterns, too little or too much eating. etc. etc.) then one arrives at a diagnosis. But, as yet, there are no biological markers for depression. There are no blood tests or urine tests, there are no genes identified, although there is some suggestion about the role of genes in predisposing certain people to depression. In spite of approaching 80 years of effort to find a biological basis for it this has yet to be identified. This does not mean that it won’t but the science is not there yet. The commonly used term ‘Chemical Imbalance in the Brain’ has no actual basis in fact but it was popularized by Merck, the pharmaceutical company, when promoting Imipramine back in the 1960’s. Clearly, there is something going on biologically in depression, as there has to be in everything else, as we are biological creatures and all of our experience has to be mediated through our biology, but it is still not properly clear exactly how SSRI’s work. For instance, the rise in serotonin following taking the drugs is instant but it is very common for about a month to go by before the drugs impact depression.
• Having said all of that, it does seem definitely the case that some folk have a predisposition for depression, that it sometimes runs in families (as bipolar does in my own), that it can be devastating, that it ruins lives and represents a massive cost in every way to our society. Anything that helps to relieve such suffering surely should be welcomed and there are definitely people who are helped by these drugs.
• However, the individual experience is not the same as the aggregated experience of many. In other words, ‘some people are helped some of the time’ but it’s difficult to know ‘a priori’ who will be helped. In fact, the largest well conducted randomized clinical trial into the treatment of depression found little to no differences between drug treatments and different forms of talking therapy treatment. Further large studies found little difference between active SSRI drugs and placebo (sugar pills with no active drug). But all of these studies are about aggregated data, the ‘crowd’ as opposed to the ‘individual’. Some ‘individuals’ will have benefited more or the same as others through taking placebo and visa versa. This makes the research confusing.

Bill Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:45pm

“The second was my friend's mother who has diabetes. Because of her condition, the National Health Service has been providing her with free foot care for many years. This has now been cut back. Not surprisingly she's quite upset about this, so was letting her feelings be known to the doctor. He suggested that she was depressed and needed antidepressants. But she wasn't depressed. She was just having a moan.”

Again, here it’s hard to say if the actual person herself felt she was having a moan but Caroline’s subsequent clarification suggests that this was so.

“Lastly, my husband went for a blood test for a suspected liver complaint. You guessed it: "I think you may be depressed, I'll prescribe some antidepressants."

No. He was just anxious waiting for his results.”

Well, I’m sure Caroline has a good idea what her husband thinks. But, of course I may be wrong about that.

Bill Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:45pm

“If I didn't know better, I might be tempted to believe that doctors are being evaluated on the number of antidepressant prescriptions they hand out. Maybe to boost the UK government's 'happiness index'?”

Well, Caroline suggests that she does no better but in any case this is rather complex. The Quality and Outcomes Framework in the GP contract encourages GP’s to screen for depression, particularly with coronary artery disease and diabetes but also in the general population attending the GP. The system of payment actively encourages the identification of depression, commonly screened for using a measure called the ‘Patient Health Questionnaire’ a questionnaire created by Pfizer Chemicals, who manufacture Zoloft, an SSRI.

But, of course, the really sad part of the story is that in spite of this massive increase in prescriptions of SSRI and other medications for depression we do not seem, as a nation, to be becoming less depressed. In fact, depression continues to rise. What’s more, the prevalence of depression is greater in more westernized nations, with some opinion suggesting that our more individualistic style of our culture is a contributor.

In conclusion, there seems no doubt that some individuals who demonstrate a predisposition for depression (whether genetic or otherwise – the jury is still out on this) can benefit enormously from drug interventions. There also seems little doubt that others at times of crisis can sometimes benefit to help cope and to have the energy to engage in the many other helpful things one can do to assist in managing depressive episodes (Talking therapy of course may be a huge part of this but ultimately it is what the individual does or how they change perceptions as a result of the talking therapy that matters. Exercise doesn’t help unless you do it. Socialising with others can’t help unless you do it. In fairness to the Government, lots of funds have been put into making talking therapy, at least of mainly 1 variety, available through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy programme www.iapt.nhs.uk). But it is also true that some individuals have been severely damaged by these medications, there is some evidence (not accepted by all experts) that some have even lost their lives through suicide. Others remain trapped on the drugs due to debilitating withdrawal problems. Others again take the drugs without being able to observe any notable benefit. Furthermore there has been much in the way of suspect practice in research, with hiding of drug trials that failed to demonstrate a satisfactory drug effect. (See ‘Let them eat prozac’ by Prof David Healy). So, it’s a highly complex story. In the end, unless a person is sectioned under the mental health act, we all have volition about what we choose to imbibe. If we derive benefit, well, of course it makes sense. But there is much else we can also do to help with our depressive tendencies and experiences, whether genetically predisposed or not, including using ‘moodscope’.

Whether the post was appropriate for Moodscope, well, who really should be judge and jury on that? We do not live in a perfect world. Not every post will help everyone. I have absolutely no doubt that Caroline’s intention was completely sound and she had no wish whatsoever to upset anybody. She and the others who keep Moodscope going are doing all of us that derive benefit a great service. I hope nobody leaves or gives up Moodscope because of this post. Also, well meaning and respectful posts written with the best of intention that prove controversial provide us all with the opportunity to investigate our own opinions and we can learn from them.

That’s what I think.

Best wishes,
Bill

Peter Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:50pm

Hi Caroline
I too took the email the wrong way - although there is a good debate to be had - but having read the above just wanted to say how much I appreciate all the hard work that you so kindly do for our community.
Peter

Julia Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 4:56pm

Bravo Bill. You should have a well deserved drink now!
Being in France, sort of on holiday I have had time to read everything today including just now your posts.
Thank goodness for reason and kindness. And information. Lots of very valuable facts in your posts which are new to me and much appreciated.
Thank you.

Gail Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 5:02pm

Hi Julia

I beg to differ.'Are anti-depressants really the answer? Are they being handed out to the right people after a proper diagnosis? Why might I think this...' Seems clear enough to me that the aforementioned remarks are related to the three examples given. This debate is very complex and my understanding was that comments and opinions were invited. Mine is that 'a magazine article stated..' is not a solid basis enough to establish a premise let alone develop a case.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 5:09pm

Thanks Bill for taking the time to comment so fully. I found your thoughts interesting and informative.

Julia Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 5:18pm

Hi Gail
I do understand where you are coming from. And I agree of course with your last sentence. Maybe my posts have been slightly biased as I like Caroline and think Moodscope is such a wonderful tool. I think she works very hard for us all. I think she was making a valid point but not one I necessarily agree with. However her 3 examples did serve to illustrate the point she wanted to make but not in a statistical valuable way. You are right, the debate is very complex. as far as I personally am concerned, the jury is still out on the value of antidepressants. I had a wonderful 6 months on Citalopram last year but suddenly they stopped working FOR ME. I would give anything to have that 6 months of blessed relief again. I keep hoping a drug will be developed which will help me long term (and others of course).Oh dera so complex!

Lostinspace Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 6:33pm

Thank you Bill, fascinating stuff - really appreciate the information.

Unknown Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 6:58pm

I think it(misdiagnosis) is caused/exacerbated by the base rate fallacy. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy. For some reason the medical training doesn't seem to bother training or educating the professionals about dependant probabilities and their effects on diagnosis. I think that gap is what is showing up so often.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 7:07pm

OK... I fully understand and backup this post, thank you Caroline, I was nodding the whole time. And was surprised/shocked to read such fierce replies. I find that these cases are very dependant on your relationship with your doctor. In my honest opinion I think that prescribing anti-depressants at the first appointment is a bit to hasty, but I don't know if that's the case in these examples. I do not think that taking anti-depressants is bad. I do think doctors should listen! Because someone who listens can in some cases already be the helper/healer you need.
What I would like to know is how we can focus on making ourselves happier instead of making ourselves less sad! Some positive psychology please!

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:22pm

Me too, great blog Caroline.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 8:27pm

It has taken me 30 yrs of antidepressants and a GP who isn't interested in mental health to discover Mindfulness meditation which along with Vit D supplements have enabled me to stop taking my meds-and I feel great! Thanks Caroline for your post.

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 9:17pm

can you say more about Vit D and effects

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 10:58pm

I'd just like to say that I read the article in a national newspaper, not a magazine for what it's worth and that it was the Labour MP Chris Ruane who questioned the 460 per cent increase in a parliamentary question. It is a complex debate and everyone's opinions are always welcome.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:02pm

Hi there, thank you. I also didn't expect such fierce replies! I also do not think that taking anti-depressants is bad. We'll focus on positive psychology from now on. Promise! :-)

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:07pm

I went to the doctors with classic symptoms of a brain tumour and they told me I was depressed - turned out to be a sinus problem (after I had a private non-referred scan), so I was closer to the mark than they were. Absolutely scandalous!

winterpurrs Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:13pm

I'm dismayed at myself that this is the first post I've ever followed from my email to this blog. I was re prescribed just over 2 weeks ago for the first time in 3 years, after promising myself I would never reach this point again, and being persistent with my GP many years ago that I never would take anything in the first place. I've never managed to access any form of talking therapy to date, and this GP again tried to sign me off work. Work of course being the one thing that keeps me in daily contact with other human beings and distracts me long enough not to want to end myself, gives me a reason to shower and dress nicely and provides a structure, however hard it sometimes feels, to the endless unstoppable days of life. So I felt particularly brave this time, going and asking for help, as I was so ashamed to do it, and my high horse was rocked a bit by this post.

Yet I agree with it. I always have. I've been maddened over the years by my mother's long term prescription, and that she's used it as 'proof' she's ill for as long as I can remember, and many times I've just wanted to tell her to 'get a grip', and wondered, if she really wanted to get better, why she doesn't try and change anything...

But I've stopped myself. I know what it feels like now, and I know that even if I drag myself in to the gym today I may still find myself cowering under the covers tomorrow with a freshly knitted scarf and heap of empty chocolate wrappers. I know how important positive reinforcement of normal life is.

So, Caroline, I have no idea what your story is, I'm sorry, but as annoyed as I was with your post at first, I'm so glad you posted it. The most helpful people to me when I'm like this haven't been the sympathisers, they've been the logical thinkers who remind me what my normal thought process would be like if I wasn't depressed. The community Moodscope is really doesn't have much of a justification for hammering you the way they have, and I hope you retain the strength of mind tomorrow to continue for everyone, including the people who've been so acidic. As much as we miss John (who was by no means perfect!) we all have to learn to cope with changes in relationships. Given the often bad effects internet blogging has on the mood of so many, perhaps we as Moodscopers need to take a more responsible approach when giving feedback as well.

Please don't give up :-)

Anonymous Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:31pm

As someone who has found considerable relief (after 30 years of depression) when taking citalopram I speak as an interested party.
Moodscope has been useful to me in monitoring my state of mind - having been for some time as low as 8 and now around 45 I have seen improvement in my mood. I have been prompted by Caroline's email to make 2 entries to this blogg having never previously responded. For the most part Moodscope initial emails have been supportive and uplifting. This entry was not. It was potentially harmful to those who might be in depression. This site has, over the last 2 years, prompted me to evaluate my state of mind not defend it. The initial email was not intended to offend but it has. It will have offended and upset not just those who replied but many who will not have replied because they will not have the energy. I suggest a simple apology to those offended might be offered not an endless attempt to justify the statement.
As for the issue of medication, in my own experience it has helped but that was after considerable support from people on a related site "No More Panic". Were it not for support there, I would not have understood the massive impact of side effects which initially made me much worse. The specific issue is/was the dosage, which if too high can totally disable an individual. Fine tuning is essential and Moodscope was/is an essential measurable tool which helps me monitor my state and allowed me to customize the dosage to my requirement. I will continue to use Moodscope and I thank all contributors to and supporters of this site but tone and empathy are important when in the midst of depression and I ask that that is remembered by all. I remain anonymous because there are still many who will never know that I suffer from depression and that is a shame in many senses of the word

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:31pm

Hi winterpurrs. Thanks for your comments.

Caroline Ashcroft Mon, Aug 5th 2013 @ 11:55pm

Hi there, sorry if my post has has offended you. I agree perhaps it wasn't uplifting and supportive and I do apologise for that but I don't understand why it is potentially harmful to those who might be in depression. I am referring to people who are not depressed being offered anti-depressants.

If I didn't have any empathy with those that do suffer I wouldn't spend all my time working on Moodscope. I don't get paid for it. I do it because I know it's helping thousands of people and I hope it helps many more.

Caroline Ashcroft Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 12:00am

I also have a friend that went to the doctors with classic symptoms of a brain tumour and was told she had depression and was prescribed 3 months of anti-depressants. They got a second opinion and a couple of days later she was actually diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 12:28am

you are still defending the indefensible. You do not understand depression. You have demonstrated that again in this reply.
"I am referring to people who are not depressed being offered anti-depressants".
But you are writing to many who suffer from depression and you show again no empathy but plenty of self justification.

Caroline Ashcroft Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 1:01am

I'm sorry you feel this way, no offense meant!

Anonymous Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 1:47am

What a relief to read the original sentiment that we should consider whether or not anti-depressants are too readily prescribed. I am very glad modern anti-depressant medication has been developed, is available and many have been helped by it. However, there are many people who have been prescribed such medication, have not experienced benefit and find themselves in a worse position when after some time they try to stop taking them. I also know people who have got their lives back despite this through such things as therapy, self help groups and other community resources. It is true many cannot afford therapy and learning to understand your own personality, manage your moods better, get support and change your lifestyle is not an easy option - yet it is the only way for some. I think this is an argument for balance between self mastery (an unpopular concept today) and the valid place of anti depressants medication.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 3:48am

I visited the GP about acid stomach reflux. Running late I waited for 1 hour. When I saw the GP who was a stranger to me, she ignored what I was saying, said are you angry, thought about killing your parents?, I was shocked and burst into tears, she promptly issued a prescription for Prozac. 2 minutes, that is all my appointment lasted. Legalised drug dealer, is all she is.

I went to the chemist about my acid stomach reflux, which I still suffer with and bought over the counter medicine.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 9:34am

You don't understand why its potentially harmful to people in depression?
Someone with bipolar may respond by not taking their meds. With bipolar this can have disasterous and potentially life-threatening consequences including hospitalisation. A badly depressed person may be very upset at having to take medication, and may have had a terrible time coping with frightening side- effects. So to throw into question the need for taking anti- depressant medication could be very disorientating, confusing and upsetting for a badly depressed person. Classic symptoms of depression include inability to think clearly and rationally, or make decisions, emotional fragility and instability, suicidal thoughts, lack of self- worth and even suicide - which is a very real risk for many. In my view, to open a debate about the necessity for anti- depressants and a possible conspiracy situation is not suitable reading for people who may be deeply depressed, suggestible and vulnerable which I expect is the suituation for many Moodscope readers who may come here in desperation, trying to find any means of support. I am speaking from personal experience.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 10:33am

I get the point of the posting. I'm sure there are people being given unsuitable meds. In my case, I was described sexorat while being undiagnosed bipolar - not a great combination.

What is irresponsible was not presenting the anecdotal claims with hard core evidence or within the context of patients who are genuinely ill and must take their meds. These two points are technical points for writing balanced non-fiction.

The host is also irresponsible because no guidance or solutions are offered, such as sites that contain layman's descriptions of medications, side effects and original symptoms.

Some people have said they may leave Moodscope. There are other mood trackers. Given Tuesday's patronising post, I'm shopping for a new application.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 4:03pm

I'm sorry that around half the people on here are on or have been anti depressants and offended by the post. Caroline is simply stating true events of over-prescription, which has become a huge problem. Some GP Surgery Partners take home more money from profit at the end of the year if they prescribe more anti-depressants, fact.
I don't blame individuals, as everyone takes steps to earn more money. It's a symptom of the system and until us people speak up and demand change the government are powerless to make rules to restrict large pharmaceuticals and doctors collaborating in this way.

The best result from this blog here and now is that users of this site begin to understand that anti-depressants ARE sometimes over prescribed and that it is possible to overcome depressing periods by rebalancing the happy hormones in the brain through exercise, the right vitamins and minerals, stable blood sugar, good relaxation and sleep and talking therapies.

I would urge you to sign up with an organisation that speaks out against this, I'm looking into it now as well as it's a crazy situation!!!

Caroline Ashcroft Tue, Aug 6th 2013 @ 5:11pm

Thank you. Very interesting.

Anonymous Thu, Aug 8th 2013 @ 9:40am

After some days of consideration, I have concluded that I wish to leave moodscope. I had come to trust these posts to be insightful without instigating. May I suggest that knowing one's audience is especially essential if dealing with sensitive topics?
I do, however, desire to wish the best of luck to the new moodscope team. I have been grateful for their efforts! I do believe they hold the best of intentions and hope for their continued success.

Caroline Ashcroft Fri, Aug 9th 2013 @ 12:47am

Hi there, I'm sorry that you want to leave Moodscope because of one blog. I do know my audience but unfortunately I was misunderstood - it was probably the way it was written. Thank you for your good wishes.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 14th 2013 @ 10:04pm

Caroline, thank you for this post I do not find it in anyway offensive. I have friends who have used antidepressants in moderation to manage an extreme period of difficulty. My concern is people thinking that staying on medication is some kind of permanent solution to their problems. It is also unbelievable to me that people find it so hard to confront that big pharma companies make HUGE money from prescribing these drugs which have serious side effects.
I also sadly have friends who have been on antidepressants since they were teenagers and cannot now come off these drugs and do not believe they can cope without them. I am an alternative therapist and I see countless cases of patients struggling to come off antidepressants. It is a very sad state of affairs that they are celebrated as an absolute solution and handed out so freely currently in GP practices. I found the most sadening side of it is the medicating of young children.
My own personal experience is that my father suffered from terrible depression all his life, which we were all witness too. he went for treatment and I am happy to say quickly came off medication he was given because they made him feel so terrible. He has worked hard since with a nutritionist, it took two years but he is a completely different man now, stable and happy. All achieved through natural means.
Thank you for at the very least putting a question forward Caroline. If you are so shocked by it perhaps there is something in it for you to look at. Everyone should be asking questions like this. I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who are not afraid to do so.

Caroline Ashcroft Wed, Aug 14th 2013 @ 11:29pm

Thank you. I'm interested to hear that your father managed to overcome his depression working with a nutritionist.

colette Sat, Aug 17th 2013 @ 10:04pm

Finally found book, not sure if in UK but I'd imagine you could at least track down the series online. The one I was gifted is called LISTOGRAPHY:your life in lists by Lisa Nola, Chronicle Books. Good luck!!

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