Posted by: euzoia | July 8, 2011


Depression: One in three women take anti-depressants, finds ‘worrying study’ | Mail Online

One in three women have taken anti-depressants at some point in their lives, researchers say.

The study by women’s campaign group Platform 51 found that 48 per cent of women currently using the drugs have taken them for at least five years, while 24 per cent have taken them for 10 years or more.

Meanwhile, 24 per cent of women on anti-depressants have waited a year or more for a review, the research found.

The charity, which commissioned a survey of more than 2,000 adults in England and Wales, said the figures pose ‘worrying questions’ about the appropriateness of prescriptions.

Platform 51’s director of policy, campaigns and communications Rebecca Gill, said: ‘These shocking figures reveal an escalating crisis in women’s use of anti-depressants.

‘We know from working with women and girls in our centres that anti-depressants have a role to play but they are too readily prescribed as the first and only remedy.

‘Three in five women are offered no alternative to drugs at their reviews and one in four currently on anti-depressants have waited more than a year for review.

Pregnant women who take SSRI anti-depressants early on in pregnancy increase their child’s risk of having autism, a study shows.

Autism was reported in 6.7 per cent of children who had been exposed to SSRI drugs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor – in the womb, compared to 3.3 per cent who hadn’t.

Study author Dr Lisa Croen from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in California, said: ‘Our results suggest a possible, albeit small, risk to the unborn child.’

However, she said this should be balanced against the risk to the mother if her mental disorder is left untreated.

The study of 1,805 children was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

While anti-depressants may relieve some of the physical feelings of the condition, they won’t tackle what may have caused the depression in the first place. Therefore experts advise doctors to prescribe the drug in combination with therapy.

Bridget O’Connell, Head of Information at Mind told Mail Online: ‘Antidepressants can play a crucial role in helping many people manage a mental health problem.

‘However, they are not recommended as a first port of call for mild to moderate depression so it is concerning that so many women are not being offered any alternative treatments, such as talking therapies, when antidepressants are initially prescribed.

Common symptoms of anti-depressants (Royal College of Psychiatrists)

Anti-depressant Common symptoms (may wear off)

Tricyclics such as imipramine

Dry mouth, a slight tremor, fast heartbeat, constipation, sleepiness, and weight gain

SSRIs such as citalopram and paroxetine

Heightened anxiety and nausea in first fortnight. May disrupt sexual function

SNRIs such as venlafaxine

Same as SSRIs. Can also increase bllod pressure

MAOIs such as isocarboxazid

Rarely prescribed as can cause dangerously high blood pressure

NASSAs such as mirtazapine

Same as SSRIs. May make you feel drowsy

‘Different people will find that different treatments work for their depression and it may be that some women find that taking antidepressants for upwards of ten years is necessary.

‘Current guidance is that antidepressants should continue to be taken for at least six months after the depression has lifted but that they should not be taken indefinitely, as long-term use increases the risk and severity of withdrawal symptoms after usage has stopped.’

For more information on anti-depressants visit the NHS Local website


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