Posted on 22 April 2017
We all have difficult times in our lives and sometimes we can feel as if we are in a ‘perfect storm’ of events where everything is conspiring against us. Many of us will go to our GP in this situation and the GP will sometimes give us a course of anti-depressants.
In the short-term, anti-depressants can be very useful to help get us over difficult times. By taking the edge off the pain and supressing the anxiety, they can open up the space we need to reassess our lives, to address problems and to make changes.
Often this is enough, but if anti-depressants become a permanent part of our lives it can be the case that they are just masking the underlying problem in the longer term.
Unfortunately, anti-depressants are being used as more than a short-term fix. I was not surprised to read recent newspaper stories about their incredibly high use. One client I saw last week at my anxiety hypnotherapy clinic in Harley Street had a very common story to tell … “I went to my GP five years ago, got the pills and it’s just carried on. I now feel if I don’t do something, I will be taking these pills for the rest of my life.” Like many people, she had been prescribed anti-depressants at a difficult time of her life and had expected it to be short term.
Unfortunately, her story is very common. It often goes something like this: you are feeling down, perhaps anxious or depressed, you go to your GP and after a few minutes chat you are given a prescription. Perhaps you ask about talking therapies and are told there is a long waiting list and you might get an appointment in a few months’ time. Later you get a repeat prescription and another . . . and another. . .
So, it is no surprise that 11 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the UK are now on anti-depressants. If they have become a part of your life it may be worth looking at some different solutions.
We all know that some people seem to weather the storms of life better than others. Some people seem to have the inner resources, a strength and optimism which means they cope better with difficulties, while others cannot.
Often, when I see people who are not coping well, we find the reasons are deep-seated. There are as many reasons as there are people, we are all unique and our experiences are unique, however there are some common patterns. Here are a couple of them:
I work with my clients to uncover and positively change unhelpful patterns such as these. Because many of my clients have struggled with these problems for years they expect it take years, or at least many months, to overcome their issues. Yet this is rarely the case and my clients can start to feel differently about themselves and their lives even after the first session with often a total of about four sessions being sufficient. As we work together to change things, it can become possible for them to consider coming off anti-depressants after discussion with their GP.
I often work in consultation with local doctors to support people through this. It is never advisable to stop taking anti-depressants suddenly, so always make sure you do so under medical supervision. But be aware that sometimes doctors mistake the withdrawal symptoms for a return of the problems which led to the prescription in the first place. It is also worth noting that some people need anti-depressants because of an imbalance in their brain chemistry, but these cases are relatively rare and certainly do not reflect the needs of the vast numbers of people on anti-depressants.
Coming off of anti-depressants can seem a long journey as the safest thing is a very gentle reduction of the dosage over a period of months. We can make great changes while this is happening and work on those underlying issues.
My therapeutic approach will help you deal with the root causes of your anxiety and issues, helping you find your unique way to deal with the problems and tensions which life throws at us all. I believe my approach has an additional advantage over the medical route in that, because it addresses root causes not just symptoms, the changes we make can be permanent.
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