- Problems Treated
- Therapy vs. Medication
What’s Right for Me?
Anti-depressants, SSRIs, and mood stabilisers are often the first treatment offered by doctors when diagnosing anxiety disorders and depression. Since these disorders are so common, with up to 1 in 4 people suffering at some point in their lives, this approach has led to serious concerns about overmedicating patients and the public in general.
Medication isn’t that Effective
There are regular debates about the effectiveness of medication, especially where the ‘chemical imbalance theory’ is now disproven. Some studies show that anti-depressants (as a catch-all term) are only slightly effective in a third of cases, with another third showing no benefits, and the remaining third experience a worsening of the symptoms. Studies show that SSRIs perform no better than placebos when compared with a control group.
Ultimately, relying entirely on medication to improve or eliminate anxiety or depressive symptoms is a poor approach based on recent studies. In addition to failing to treat the original depression or anxiety, a lot of medications also have unwanted side effects such as weight gain, nausea, loss of sexual desire, fatigue, insomnia, worsening of symptoms and blurred vision. When side effects are extreme, they can actually exacerbate anxiety and depression rather than helping it.
Medication is also notoriously poor at preventing relapses. Unlike anti-depressants, therapy has been shown to have an excellent success rate at beating depression/anxiety and preventing relapses.
Treating Problems, Not Symptoms
The main problem with medication is that it treats the symptoms of depression and anxiety, rather than the condition itself. Anxiety and depression are long-term illnesses that require solutions that will work consistently months and years ahead, rather than short courses of medication.
Even NHS guidance now states that anti-depressants are not beneficial and should not be prescribed initially.
Coping with Depression and Anxiety
Counselling offers more than a quick fix to Anxiety and depression; it gives patients the knowledge and self-control to maintain healthy behaviours and a good quality of life consistently after the counselling sessions have finished.