Time for talk, not drugs

Once again doubts have been raised about the safety of Seroxat and
similar antidepressants, this time in relation to adults. After a
lengthy campaign against the use of these drugs on children, the
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has declared
all except Prozac unsafe for under-18s. But it says there is
insufficient evidence that adults, like children, are more prone to
suicidal tendencies if they take the drugs.

Doctors have tended to prescribe antidepressants, including
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Seroxat, at the
first sign of depression in a patient. Yet, according to the mental
health charity Mind, a placebo is just as effective in 40 per cent
of people. And GPs who think they haven’t done their job unless
they’ve handed out a prescription give too little thought to
talking treatments such as counselling and cognitive-behavioural

Despite the progress made in some enlightened primary care trusts,
most depressed patients end up popping pills because there is no
satisfactory alternative in their locality. But there is now so
much evidence in favour of talking treatments, at least for milder
depressions, even the government has been won over to them. It is
time that counsellors were available to everyone with a mental
health problem who might benefit.

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