Patients are NOT ALWAYS warned about withdrawal pain from depression pills, experts say
Patients are still not being warned how difficult it can be to get rid of antidepressants, say psychiatrists campaigning to reduce unnecessary use of the drugs.
Nonetheless, withdrawal symptoms are often confused with a relapse in the condition for which the medication was prescribed, and as a result, patients are eventually relocated. Psychiatrists are now urging that prescription guidelines be updated urgently.
Under the current NICE guidelines, unchanged since 2004, withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants are described as & # 39; usually mild and self-limiting for about a week & # 39 ;. But both research and patient experience suggest otherwise, with severe symptoms such as nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and panic attacks that can last for weeks or longer.
Fact: Under current NICE guidelines, unchanged since 2004, withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants are described as usually mild and self-limiting for about a week
Major research, published by the Mail in October, found that the frequency, severity and duration of responses to the antidepressant discontinuation & # 39; more widespread, severe and prolonged & # 39; was then doctors had led to the understanding, with nearly half of the patients having severe symptoms (that's 1.8 million in Britain).
Now, in a letter published today in The BMJ, 14 of & # 39; s leading anti-depressant experts are calling on NICE and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to urgently review their guidelines & # 39; to bring them into line with the scientific data base & # 39 ;.
They say it's worrying & # 39; is that, despite overwhelming evidence that millions of patients have been fighting antidepressants for months or even years, two recent studies show only a small proportion that something is being told about withdrawal symptoms, dependency, or potential problems coming from the side. drugs.
& # 39; The guidelines are misleading doctors about the extent to which withdrawal is a problem and this is causing devastating problems for many people & # 39 ;, says Dr. James Davies, reader in medical anthropology and mental health at the University of Roehampton, and a of the letter signatories.
In a review by Dr. Davies, published last year in the journal Addictive Behaviors, 14 studies were viewed and found that half of the patients experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping or reducing their antidepressants; almost half described their withdrawal as serious.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Although it is normal to be upset occasionally, people with depression may feel persistently unhappy for weeks or months at the end of pregnancy.
Depression can affect anyone at any age and is fairly common – about one in ten people will experience this at some point in their lives.
Depression is a real health condition that people cannot simply ignore or take out of it.
Symptoms and effects vary, but can consist of being constantly angry or hopeless or losing interest in things you used to like.
It can also cause physical symptoms, such as sleeping problems, fatigue, low appetite or sex drive, and even feeling physical pain.
In extreme cases, this can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Traumatic events can cause this and people with a family history may be at greater risk.
It is important to consult a doctor if you think that you or someone you know has depression, because it can be managed with changes in lifestyle, therapy or medication.
Source: NHS Choices
Dr. Davies says that poor guidance explains why, although the number of people being prescribed the drugs for the first time is slowly declining, millions of years have been kept on them. He says: & # 39; So what happens to a person who comes to the doctor's post four weeks after stopping a medication and still experiences withdrawal symptoms?
& # 39; We are afraid that these symptoms will be incorrectly diagnosed as a recurrence of their condition, and that doctors will simply put them back on antidepressants, leading to prolonged use. & # 39;
The signatories of the letter cite evidence of the physical and emotional consequences of prolonged use of antidepressants ranging from weight gain and aggravation of depression to an increased risk of dementia and even death.
NICE is reviewing its guidelines on the diagnosis and management of depression. It also develops separate guidelines on the & # 39; safe prescription and withdrawal of prescription drugs & # 39 ;. A spokesperson said it was & # 39; too early to confirm & # 39; antidepressants would be included, although & # 39; we would imagine & # 39 ;.
But even if it does, the consultation has yet to begin and & # 39; this means that we can wait another three or four years before making these necessary changes to the guidelines & # 39 ;, says Dr. Davies.
Last week, the Royal College of Psychiatrists revealed to Good Health that it is a year-long & # 39; review of current data on antidepressants and our vision of promoting optimal use and management & # 39; has completed. It will be published soon.
Professor Wendy Burn, president of the college, adds: & We need high-quality research to improve our understanding of withdrawal problems so that they can be minimized. For many people with more severe depression, antidepressants are an effective treatment. & # 39;
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