anti-depressants even though they believe other approaches might
be more effective, research claims
by Mike Andrews
80 per cent of GPs prescribe anti-depressants even though they believe
a non-pharmacological approach might be more effective, according
to research by a leading mental health charity.
Mental Health Foundation also found that 66 per cent of 200 GPs
who took part in a survey prescribed anti-depressants because no
suitable alternative - such as counselling or "exercise therapy"
- was available for them to prescribe.
the publication of its research, the charity has launched a campaign
for exercise therapy to be a first-choice treatment for GPs to prescribe
for people with mild to moderate depression. Exercise referral schemes
already operate in some parts of the UK.
a report launched last week the charity said it wants the government
to invest £20 million in developing and promoting exercise
referral as a treatment for mild or moderate depression across the
charity says research demonstrates that a professionally supervised
programme of exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants in
treating patients with mild or moderate depression.
the Mental Health Foundation's survey found that only five per cent
of GPs use exercise referral as one of their three most common treatment
responses for such patients.
compares to 92 per cent who prescribe anti-depressants.
Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines stated in December
last year that anti-depressants should not be used as a first choice
line of treatment for mild or moderate depression
survey also found that 78% of GPs who prescribed anti-depressants
did so believing that an alternative might be more appropriate.
71 per cent of surveyed GPs believe anti-depressants to be 'quite
effective', 57 per cent said they were overprescribed.
Mental Health Foundation stated that this is around five per cent
of the annual spend on anti-depressants in England. In 2003, the
cost of anti-depressant prescriptions was £395.2m.
National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines recommended
that "patients of all ages should be advised of the benefits
of following a structured and supervised exercise programme of up
to three sessions per week of 45 minutes to one hour.".
Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation,
said: "Patients with mild or moderate depression asking their
GPs for help are currently being denied an effective treatment option
- exercise referral.
are some obstacles standing in the way of exercise on prescription
for all... but they're not insurmountable.
needs to be educated about the benefits of exercise in treating
mild or moderate depression, and GPs need to be made aware that
exercise referral is available."
Health Foundation's report entitled 'Exercise
Therapy? The treatment of mild or moderate depression in primary
6, 2004: No evidence that SSRI anti-depressants likely to increase
suicidal behaviour, watchdog announces - guidelines also issued
for treatment of depression
If only I'd
known about the benefits of excercise
Marie, lawyer, Channel Islands
September 25, 2005
I am currently withdrawing from Seroxat. I have been on this hellish
drug for four years and I am down to 2x quarter tablets per week.
had read about the withdrawal symptons, but I thought that I would
only exhibit mild symptons due to my current happy, settled life.
I cannot believe how wrong I could be. I initially went cold turkey
and I was fine for about a week. Then the electric shock feelings
took over (amongst other symptons). I can only describe them as
split second feelings of losing consciousness. I estimate they occured
every 15 seconds.
other awful withdrawal sympton was the horrific nightmares. In the
end they terrified me so much I set my mobile phone alarm to go
off every three hours during the night so that I would be awoken
from these vivid horrendous dreams.
a result of the above I started to take Seroxat again but I halved
my prescription for a week and then last week stopped again. Things
were OK and I thought that it was all coming to an end.
It was not meant to be! This weekend has been another Nightmare
on Elm Street. Vivid scary dreams are still frequent but do not
occur on a nightly basis. Fingers crossed for tonight as I have
hell this weekend has been my temper. I am normally fairly placid,
non aggressive and happy go lucky. However yesterday morning I turned
into a foul mouthed, raving lunatic. Unfortunately my two young
children were on the receiving end of this behaviour. I have fought
all weekend to understand, analyse and try to control my behaviour
but to no avail. Sadly I am back on my reduced dose again.
shall not give up! I will rid myself of this drug (that should be
taken off the market).
when I look back to when I was prescribed Seroxat I think that regular
exercise would have helped me enormously. Little did I know of the
benefits of exercise to treat mild to moderate depression.
I would be exercising more now if I thought I could control my Seroxat
withdrawal induced temper.
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