Are anti-depressant drugs over-prescribed?


Messing with our heads

It’s not the mountain we conquer, it’s ourselves.” ~ Sir Edmund Hillary

This is a re-blog (slightly re-worked) of an article that I posted last year as a newish blogger on my now dormant site ‘Facts and Fiction’. It appears to fit the bill nicely for today’s word-prompt ‘Visceral

We all know that doctors prescribe anti-depressant drugs for conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress, but are we accepting the prescriptions too easily? Shouldn’t we at least try to resist?

Before I go any further with this controversial topic, may I say that I’m very aware that many patients genuinely need the medication; however, I’m equally certain that some do not. I make the latter comment based upon my own experience.

A few years ago I was ill and needed  hospital treatment several times, at the same time my late husband was ill, plus there was a separate family crisis. I was finding the situation difficult and my visceral outlook on life was dire. During a check up at my GP’s surgery I broke down in tears. The GP, who was not my usual doctor, very quickly prescribed a course of anti-depressant. I didn’t resist, I accepted the medication.

A few days later I came to my senses, I told myself that given the circumstances it was perfectly natural to be feeling the way I was, but at the same time I needed to be the one in control and not be dependent on drugs.  I began to accept that although I couldn’t change my situation, I could take charge of my own emotions and take back control. I made a start by ditching the tablets.

I  know of a couple of friends who take anti-depressant, and I’m guessing there are others who take these drugs, friends who choose not to speak of their mental health issues.

Bad things happen to good people, a fact we have to agree upon, and it would be unnatural not to feel concerned, anxious and upset when life deals us a wrong hand.

I accept that depression is real and there are times when it becomes too difficult to get out of bed and face the day, this I do understand. However, I wonder how many people were prescribed anti-depressant drugs in the 1950s, within the new NHS?

I’m guessing that in comparison to today, there were very few. Did people not get anxious and depressed, did they not suffer from ‘Stress’ or is this a modern phenomenon?

The 1950s saw the introduction of the first anti-depressants here in the UK.  This was when the NHS was in its infancy, just a couple of years after the NHS was born.

Is it conceivable that back then in the 1950s, people acknowledged their stress and anxieties and learned to cope?

Perhaps we could all learn some valuable lessons from the past, including some of our doctors.

14 thoughts on “Are anti-depressant drugs over-prescribed?

  1. Hi, I read your post and I wanted to share my experience with you. Do I believe antidepressants are easily prescribe? YES and through the course of my life I have been prescribed antidepressants. Its a easy fix that may seem ok to doctors but it take the patient to find the courage to explore better alternatives. Like most antidepressants my body build up a tolerance so each doctor visit I would be prescribed a higher dose. I felt like the zombies in the “Walking Dead” series. My issue was Depression and Anxiety…I was prescribed four different medications and because of them instead of just taking away the saddness I literally felt nothing at all. After so many hit and misses I ditched it all and took the natural right. Great post by the way!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sorry to share a different side to the antidepressant issue. I resisted taking medication for depression for years, thinking I could ‘control’ my emotions, and then feeling like a failure when I still wanted to kill myself. When I finally admitted that I had a mental condition called depression and sought help, it was such a relief. Today, 23 years later, I remain on the drug first prescribed, and I threaten bodily harm to any doctor who suggests changing the dosage or eliminating the drug. There is no way I will climb back into that black hole where no light reached me.

    Are antidepressants over prescribed? Probably. Just like the miracle drug penicillin has been over prescribed. But to those of us who have lived through the dreaded darkness, those ‘over prescribed’ antidepressants have been life saving.

    Don’t you dare take away my window of light.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wouldn’t dream of taking away your window of light Margo and I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve needed this treatment for what amounts to a big chunk of your life. I wasn’t judging you and I apologise if I gave this impression.

      I do realise there are countless others like you who genuinely need and are dependent on anti-depressant. I can’t argue against that. However, there are many others such as myself who should never have been offered the quick fix in the first place.

      It ought to have been a last resort not the first and especially when the doctor concerned knew nothing about me. Additionally, I wasn’t at the surgery for a check on my mental health, it just happened to be a bad day where my emotions were difficult to keep in check.


    2. gc

      It is not a matter of taking away your “window of light” it is more a matter of making you and many other patients suffering from your condition aware of the fact that the sunshine of light you seek is dependent upon a pharmaceutical concoction that does not instill peace of mind for you rather a numbing of who you really are s a person.

      Doctors do routinely prescribe anti depressants for their patients and this should be done on a short term basis and then used in conjunction with a referral to a competent psychiatric professional.

      I think many doctors want to “please” their patients and end up over medicating them when the root cause of the problem is related to something else. My dentist likes to write prescriptions for strong pain killers in such an abundance that I could open my own apothecary.

      The problem lie more with the doctor and not the dependent and suffering patient. There are some doctors whose prescription pad has become a part of their hand. They go everywhere with it and probably feel naked without it close by.

      Other doctors cannot relate effectively with patients and their interaction with them is superficial and non threatening to them (the doctor).

      My own physician is a competent professional who relates well with his patients, does not over prescribe drugs and is willing to refer you to other professionals to help you as a patient.

      I think in the 1950’s sought psychological refuge in the self imposed treatment of the days.

      Over prescribing of drugs today is the affliction and not the cure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. gc

    Reblogged this on Your Nibbled News – 2017 YNN and commented:
    Many doctors prescribe anti depressants as if they were prescribing breath mints. Many patients eventually discover the prescribing doctor does not question the fact that their patient may have outgrown the need for the medication. What do you think? — gc

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just stopped taking three medicines I had been on for years. I feel the same, and better in some cases. I think antidepressants are very valuable for some people with overwhelming depression. It saves lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Depression is a disease, a nasty one that festers unseen by others. I was lucky, I bounced back in my own way, but I appreciate how difficult it must be for those who are truly afflicted by depression. Thank you for your insight, your comments are appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wait folks, I was not being critical of your thoughts. My last sentence was meant as a joke. I do joke about my antidepressants, and I am serious about not wanting my dosage to be messed with because I have tried that and it is a quick fall into darkness.

    Serving on a medical clinic board of directors, I am conscious of the perils of over drugging, and the challenges of making certain our patients are not ‘drug addicted’. We are not equipped to deal with that issue.

    All that is to say, I’m so grateful for the antidepressants. I am now a functioning being who does not want to commit suicide to end the pain.

    But this discussion has been good for me. Probably need to write a blog about it and reblog your post.I also write a weekly column for our local newspaper, and it would be a good topic to pursue. Thanks, mj

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Margo. I’d begun to wonder whether I’d opened a can of worms or an interesting discussion. I’m pleased it’s proved to be the latter.

      My husband’s grave is next to that of my friend’s 23 year old son, James hung himself from a tree. He was depressed because he couldn’t find a job. Unfortunately, anti-depressants didn’t work for him.When I visit the cemetery I often spend more time thinking about this poor boy and the life he’s missed than I do of my late husband.


  5. Not just anti-depressants, but many drugs are over prescribed. High blood pressure – take a tablet. Oops, legs swelling – take a second tablet. Oh dear, going to the loo too often – another tablet, and so on. Depression, however, is a huge problem, and getting worse, and affecting at a younger age. I worry about it! (that is a very poor attempt at humour!)

    Liked by 1 person

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