‘I don’t know who I am without it’: the truth about long-term antidepressant use

‘I don’t know who I am without it’: the truth about long-term antidepressant use

Prescriptions have doubled in a decade, but very little is known about the effect of taking SSRIs for years and years. Is it a lifesaver or a happiness trap?

A reasonably long article about anti-depressant prescribing and taking - and trying to stop taking.


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24 Replies

  • One finnish psychologist says that ad's numb people and it should be only used when the mental pain is so difficult you need a short break from it. And even then only used in short term as it can destroy your all feelings.

    Ssri users have harder time to make a commitment as they fall out of love. It might be gone forever even they stop SSRI.

    Sexual dysfunction might be permanent.

    It can destroy that part of your life for good.

    SSRI should never be prescribed without a good reason and therapy as it sort of resets your brain and therapy is needed for rewiring! Otherwise you might get worse if your anxiety or negative thoughts continue as that's what you are teaching your brain.

    He states that ad's only work in severe clinical depression. And for rest it's placebo effect. Depression would pass anyway in shorter time!

  • Forgot to add that many ad's are fluorinated pills as fluoride is needed the medication to either penetrate the cells or slow down the effect of chemicals.

    There is no evidence yet that fluoride in these drugs would have bad side effects but wouldn't be a surprise that eventually you suffer from fluorosis.

  • Hi Justina,

    That's quite right. Unfortunately here in the U.K. Antidepressants are given like sweets by GPS: they are consideringly cheaper compared to decent therapy sessions.... so cheap for the NHS but no thought about the patients' wellbeing long term. It's the usual "masking" of symptoms rather than dealing with the root problem. The UK has the highest rate of antidepressants prescriptions in Europe.... Rather worrying.

  • Yeah. When SSRI came to market it was called a happy pill. So much happiness it has caused since... :|

    It's simply sad it's prescriped so easily. It doesn't tell about us, it tells about the power big pharma has.

  • Yes power of pharmaceutical manufacturers and the unethical way the GPS behave!

  • Yeah. How come some GP'S got special skills to diagnose depression in five minutes. How come GP can prescripe such a heavy medication but prescription for thyroid hormones is practically a crime. And they can't diagnose hypothyroidim even after full set of tests that clearly indicate failing thyroid. It really beats me!!!

  • Don't understand what's happening really. It seems that helping patients is wrong! So many people suffer because of negligence and lack of care.

  • I have read the article and find it rather alarmist and biased. It reads as if author felt he had to tag on a positive story for balance at the end, but it feels half-hearted. When I first went on anti-depressants, my GP said: 'if you had broken a leg, we'd put it in plaster. This is the same thing. You lack serotonin, this drug will give it back'. I have been on anti-depressants for years, but at a pretty low dose (20mg Duloxetine). I feel they have helped but would I have needed them at all, if I had been diagnosed hypo earlier? Despite feeling fairly good on 2.25 grains Nature Throid ( T3+T4) daily, I still had pain and my GP suggested upping my dose of Duloxetine as I did not want to take NSAIDS + PPIs. I did not know at the time that it was prescribed for pain. I did so and felt awful so it was a bit of a wake-up call. Had I been on the drug too long? Did I really need it at all? So I decided the time had perhaps come to decrease from the original 20mg dose, so I went down to 20mg every other day. I did not have any problems reducing, whereas before I added T3, I would have known by lunchtime if I had missed a pill. Recently, however, things have not been easy with my husband being diagnosed with Parkinson's and then having a major operation which has incapacited him. I have found it extremely hard to cope mentally and physically, so I am back to taking the anti-depressant daily. I will do this till things get easier and then reduce to 20mg every other day. I want to feel I am in control and not the AD. I do not think ADs are dangerous drugs, but they need to be used with caution.

  • Yes, it is obvious that the last story was simply tagged onto the end isn't it lol but I kind of agree so not so biased to me ;-)

    I would want proof that my serotonin levels were low and permanently low before I'd ever consider taking SSIs again though :-)

    If you have considered it and actually feel depressed and you haven't been able to shake it, then sure, nothing wrong with that. But they are giving them to so many people who complain there is something wrong physically and state they don't feel depressed who end up taking them as question themselves and think maybe they'll help - many of them with obvious problems apparent in there blood tests even. ADs are not going to help if it is your physical health that is actually an issue and maybe it should be a case of when everything else has been ruled out/resolved or after proper evaluation for depression maybe rather than given out like candy as they appear to be at the mo?

  • There is no evidence does SSRI block or replace serotonin as there is no evidence is depression caused by high or low serotonin. In some cases they have discovered high levels of serotonin yet patient benefits of SSRI. So its a bit of a mystery how and why they work for some!

  • 80% of the body's serotonin is made in the intestines not the brain. Brain Gut connection. Need to balance microbiome - get good beneficial bacteria working for you. One course of antibiotics any time during your lifetime can wreck your microbiome and you live with the consequences. Get it back in balance. Medication should be probiotics (good ones such as Prescript Assist: amazon, or Biokult: Red 23 website/ fermented foods if possible and some raw green organic salads will also provide some. Go to UK website Chuckling Goat. a company that raises goats in Wales. They do a 21 day course of goats milk kefir, intended to re establish beneficial gut bacteria and crowd out the bad guys.

    Kelly Brogan (US practicing psychiatrist functional/nutritional focus, has a lot of info on how these meds don't work and why and what to do - see her website, lots of you tube videos. See this presentation at the Functional Forum

  • This is the one thing I hate more than anything lol!

    I believe it's very very dangerous for GPs to be prescribing it when they have little training in mental health and don't even ask questions about you or your life to determine a true diagnosis. They have tried to get me on anti-depressants since I was 15 without any evaluation when I started simply telling them I was tired and could no longer wake up in the mornings. I always refused as knew I wasn't depressed but half the time you are questioning yourself, is it me, am I lazy. They didn't even give me one basic blood test all those years so my hashis went undiagnosed for another six years by which point, I was in an awful mess physically with a lot of damage. They only finally did a blood test when I could no longer talk/stand up. And it goes on and on, with them each time saying there's nothing wrong with you and you must be depressed, only to prove it was in fact something else physical years down the line! And they never seem to learn their lesson from this.

    I hate to think what would have happened if I had accepted and taken them all those years. I would prefer for them to admit that they don't know what's wrong and nothing more they can do for you than make you feel like you must be insane or a hypochondriac. At least you would be more likely to go off and keep looking and figure it out on your own!

    The only time I did take them was for post natal depression as was in a bit of a mess and not thinking clearly and took them for six months which I truly regret to this day. I had no problem coming off them or withdrawal but totally agree with the possible permanent side effects of emotional numbing and sexual dysfunction as this was quite apparent as soon as I started taking them and doesn't look like will reverse. It turned out to be PTSD anyway or birth trauma so did little to help and I feel if someone trained/knowledgeable had just asked a few questions, they would have picked this up easily and would have received the correct treatment at the time - CBT - no drugs.

    Amusingly, when I refused to take them any longer after the six months - the GP actually said I should continue to take them for life and shouldn't be scared to take them as with my thyroid, I'm always going to be a little depressed and then admitted that he does himself and will continue doing so!!! Can you believe it!!!!!!!!!! I refuse to see this GP again!!

    I am not against anyone taking them who truly needs them but I think many people are taking them who shouldn't be and I believe wholeheartedly that GPs are not qualified to make a diagnosis and should never be allowed to prescribe ADs at all!

  • If someone is depressed due to their hypothyroidism, they should definitely be prescribed T3 for the depression, even though it's now banned by the authorities even though it gave many people a normal life. I assume many had low FT3 which they never check as we do know from the experiences of many on this forum.

  • Yes, even though T3 still allowed in my area, it has been banned outright for the purposes of depression.

    I don't understand why they are not allowed to check the T3 levels when this is what actually proves if meds are working or not and should be as standard - so bizarre!

  • Those in 'POWER' believe they know more than the patients rather than Dr Skinner (RIP) or Dr P or those who are on this forum. The patients have 'been there' 'done that' by the time they try T3 or have some added to T4. Many have been forced to source their own lifeline thyroid hormones. New research from several research teams show that some do benefit from the addition of T3.

    The guidelines used to state (I don't know whether they've been updated) and most of us in this forum have read that Endos only diagnose upon the TSH which informs them whether or not patient is hypo. Particularly that it has to reach 10 first. They ignore clinical symptoms and prescribe 'other' solutions for them rather than hypothyroid hormones. The professionals are ignorant as to what the FT4 and FT3 reveals.

  • Well that's the way to save money for the NHS and patients are the pawns whereby their health issues are ignored !

  • I was prescribed SSRI and highly addictive benzos three times a day because the doctor wanted get rid of me. I took the benzos without knowing how addictive they are. Fortunately did cause me any harm as I felt nothing but ill on high dose.

    I still feel upset that my life wasn't worth more in his eyes. Psychiatric said that never ever I was supposed to be given benzos and SSRI was unnecessary too. Wasn't able to tolerate them either.

    You were so young when offered them for the first time ! It's awful. I am glad you didn't have any trouble coming off them. My sister in law had similar experience. She was given them when her dad passed away and now she is offered them anytime she goes to doctors as she must be depressed!

  • Quite disturbing reading. I think it was quite fashionable at one time to prescribe anti-d's to continually complaining patients or even to people you wouldn't have thought needed any. I remember someone telling me 'Oh' I'm on prozac which at that time was on the most 'wanted' list by patients it would seem but very difficult to get off.

    Most might have been hypo but never reached the magic 10 to be diagnosed.

    One response advised the person to look on this forum and I hope they do, particularly if they may really be hypo.

  • helvella thank you for bringing this to our attention. I believe that GPs should not be allowed to prescribe AD's and that as a first step a thorough investigation should be carried out by them. This should include GPs using their eyes and ears, which will undoubtedly be a novelty and they'll need to go on a training course for instruction, together with comprehensive testing of nutritional deficiencies.

    It goes without saying that QoF points equating to £1,600 per newly diagnosed patient should be stopped. There should be no incentives to prescribe anything.

    I'll stop here and step down from my soapbox.

  • Just to add that I'm shocked at the number of males who're being diagnosed and prescribed.

  • The doctor put a piece of A4 paper in front of me with just 4 questions on it (the only two I can recall were something like: do you have trouble sleeping and do you often feel sad and cry a lot...?) and told me to put whatever answer came into my head first. I did and this resulted in her coming up with a diagnosis of 'severe depression' and the immediate offer of anti-depressants. I told her 'no thanks' but she insisted I leave her surgery with a prescription for Valium 'just in case'. I didnt even bother picking it up, but it's easy to understand why so many people would... my own daughter included. If they made it as hard for people to get these bloody things as proper thyroid treatment instead of paying these doctors a bonus for prescribing them, perhaps a lot of people might be saved this horrid outcome! Obviously, going into a new life at college/university/ new job, in my daughter's case the Royal Navy, is stressful, but they should be encouraged to embrace it and make the best of it, not be given a chemical crutch which they end up being hooked on for the rest of their lives, and which is obviously causing such awful problems when they do try to come off it! These things should become a last resort, not a first option.

  • Zephyrbear the following link tells you about this 'questionnaire'


  • haha, I remember that exact same piece of paper and the one I remember is - do you feel like you are sinking into a big black hole with no escape - or something like that. I told the GP, I feel nothing mentioned on this page, I am just frustrated at feeling so terrible all the time, not being able to get out of bed and risk losing my job everyday when I just want the possibility of living even a partial life. Her response was - "well frustration is a symptom of depression". Honestly, I was very close to punching her lol!! I managed to suppress this instinct and calmly told her that the NHS website states you should refer me to an endo if I have no relief from the symptoms after starting medication (did at the time). She simply wrote a prescription for ADs, tore it off and didn't say one further word to me. arrggh lol!

  • thanks Helvella. very interesting, particularly in respect of dependency

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