The study in question was conducted by the women’s charity Platform 51, and found that 48 per cent of women who were using drugs at the time of the study had been taking them for the past five years, whilst 24 per cent had been taking them for a decade or more.
The survey, which questioned more than 2000 UK adults also found that 24 per cent of women on anti-depressants had gone a year or more without having their medication reviewed, a figure which caused the charity to question the appropriateness of some anti-depressant prescriptions.
Rebecca Gill, director of policy, campaigns and communications over at Platform 51 commented that the figures reveal an escalating crisis in the use of anti-depressants among women.
‘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.’
Though anti-depressants have proven to be the most effective form of treatment for some, they can cause a series of side effects including weight gain, nausea and an increase in blood pressure.
Platform 51 believe that different treatments work for different people and more should be being done to ensure that anti-depressants are really the right option for women who are taking them for prolonged periods of time.
Current guidance on anti-depressants is that they should continue to be taken for at least six months after depression is considered ‘lifted’, but should not be taken indefinitely as long term use could put patients at risk of withdrawal symptoms.
If you are currently taking anti-depressants but are concerned about their long term effects or feel as though they are not the right treatment for you then visit your GP so that you can discuss the alternatives.
Counselling has long since been used as a treatment for depression and anxiety and has the added benefit of zero side effects. If this sounds like something you may be interested in then discuss this with your GP who will be able to provide further information and an NHS referral if this is something your local service offers, or will point you in the direction of an independent counsellor or psychotherapist.
For further information about counselling for depression please visit our fact-sheet to find out more, or to contact a counsellor or psychotherapist in your local area use the search tool located on the homepage.
View the original Daily Mail article.