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How to quit antidepressants – recovery from depression without the perils of withdrawal

08.05.2018 - Addiction, Mental health

More than 80 million prescriptions for psychotropic medication are written out each year in Great Britain, while an average of 18 million people yearly take antidepressants in the USA. However, antidepressants only alleviate the symptoms of depression, so that its causes may be more effectively addressed during therapy.

The moment psychotropic medication is taken off can often be extremely difficult due to the numerous adverse effects accompanying it, and it requires monitoring by the doctor-in-charge as well as selecting a method of administration termination appropriate for the medication. How to safely get out of anti-depressants?

A recent article in The New York Times highlighted the problems associated with quitting the long-term use of medication for depression. This may come as no surprise, due to an inconvenient truth: in many cases antidepressants do little or nothing to tackle the root causes of depression.

Of course, there is no doubt that many individuals legitimately depend upon medication to ease their distress. Yet many people believe that antidepressants merely numb the symptoms of depression.

This can leave patients struggling to cope with unwanted side effects, only to face renewed anxiety when confronted with life without pills.  Many experts believe that far better recovery from depression can be achieved by addressing the underlying causes of the condition, rather than the symptoms.

How effective is medication for depression?

There are conflicting studies about the effectiveness of antidepressants.  For example, a study published in 2008 in PLOS Medicine reported that some antidepressants have only modest benefits.

More recently, The Guardian in the UK citied a study in The Lancet and concluded that antidepressants do indeed work.

What is not in dispute – which the New York Times pointed out – is that antidepressants were originally devised for short-term use, and there is very little data about their long-term effectiveness.

Do antidepressants cause withdrawal?

Effects vary from person to person, and according to which medication they have been taking.

The Times analysed data gathered as part of a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This showed that 34.4 million adults in the USA took antidepressants in 2013-14, up from 13.4 million in 1999-2000.

Symptoms associated with trying to quit can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nausea

Of course, there may also be the fear that the original depression may return. Many believe that the key to how to help with depression lies in a more holistic approach that treats the whole person.

Treatment for the causes of depression

Dr. med. Konrad Hitz, Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist at The Kusnacht Practice, a luxury treatment centre in Zurich for psychological disorders and other conditions.

The Kusnacht Practice provides treatment for depression that is highly tailored to each client.  Dr. med. Hitz favours an approach that addresses the underlying causes of depression, which can be due to a combination of factors that may be psychological, biochemical, genetic or related to life experiences.

Dr Hitz said: “It’s possible that some clients may find themselves in a blind alley where they are taking medication that does not do the job anymore. For this reason, we prefer not to use prescribed medications unless absolutely necessary. Where appropriate, we can provide for a comfortable withdrawal that is monitored by our professional experts.”

Treatment for depression The Kusnacht Practice involves the use of psychotherapy combined with a pioneering procedure called Bio-R (Biomolecular Restoration), which corrects any of the imbalances in neurochemistry that are associated with depression.

* The article from The New York Times is also available online at Boston.com.

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