Why Antidepressants Shouldn’t Be Taboo (If You Need Them)



What is depression?

Depression is commonly explained as low or feeling unwell. These two terms do help explain some aspects of it and in today’s society; we the people are beginning to understand in many more ways by visualisation of the ‘black dog’ or a shadow which can follow you all your life. Online google refers to depression as ‘feelings of severe despondency and dejection’. I actually prefer this extract to dumbing down my emotions to ‘low’ or ‘unwell’. For example a cold makes me unwell but only for a few days. Depression is more of a long term condition and cannot be explained with just a few words. The best definition I have found is thinking of a shadow or black dog, some people may think because they cried once upon a time that they understand this black beast which never leaves. The shadow follows you, undermines your desires and even to some extremes prevents people from living a full life. So next time you meet someone with depression just imagine that time you cried for a few days and then try to grasp that to be diagnosed you must have done that for at least a few months. It is exhausting emotionally and physically and widely recognised in the world as a mental health issue. The way I like to think about it is if you broke your leg a cast and some physiotherapy over a period of time can solve the matter, and of course a few painkillers. It is the same with your mind except there is no physical cast, in other words no one knows about the suffering which comes alongside depression only that one person experiencing it.

The antidepressants work as a basic cast for the mind as well as providing pain relief. The most important part is therapy to be offered where appropriate like ‘physiotherapy’, in the world today its called ‘counselling’.

Why and how can pills treat it?

Your brains are all a complex thing, a balance of electrical impulse and chemicals. The chemicals in your brain are called neurotransmitters, these useful chemicals carry signals through the brain.

They are used up by emotions or mood, feeling depressed uses heavy copious amounts of these various chemicals. The pills or Antidepressants prescribed to you work by limiting the chemicals in different ways thus rebalancing the rationale, mood, and thought process of the brain.

Antidepressants are essential in any recovery process from most forms of depression, however they are still sometimes misused, it is just a matter of finding the ‘Right’ one for each person.

Explaining common uses

Antidepressants are in common use in the UK and worldwide. I hated statistics at university and school but they show surprising results:

{see source for statistics}

  • Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 9% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis.1
  • 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime.2
  • Common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are distributed according to a gradient of economic disadvantage across society. The poorer and more disadvantaged are disproportionately affected by common mental health problems and their adverse consequences.3

Though the percentages are lower than commonly accepted, a diagnosis is hard to gain in mental health. As mentioned before we are not yet able to read minds therefore this entails a lot of issues in diagnosis and treatment. Antidepressants need to be far less Taboo, too many sufferers are in fear of judgement or the common misconception that dependency is inevitable. The medication plays a very important role in finding a stable state to begin therapy such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or Occupational Therapy (Finding something you enjoy spending your time doing) and finding the individuals own coping strategy. Exercise, Routine, a balanced tasty diet and of course fun are essential in life, the role of the Antidepressant is simply to help stabilise the mind-scape before slowly rebuilding it. Working in close connection with doctors and Mental health teams enables a speedy recovery more often than not antidepressants are used in short term and various counselling techniques instil stability in the long term. Each recovery path will soon be tailor made as some people have heard new techniques involving blood tests are in trial to find the best medication for each individual person. After this step it is just a matter of finding appropriate therapy and recovery is well under-way. The fact is that to combat the issue we need to talk about Depression and anxiety and accept that it is not shameful but Honourable to deal with issues rather than hide them. We need to understand medication is not always suiting it can be changed and talking about our experiences helps derive new solutions and develop old ones. So together lets desensitise and spread the word Antidepressant across social media; between your family and friends; if you take them yourself keep your doctors in the loop; then one day we can all talk more openly with freedom from judgement and fear. This is the way the doctors decide dosage and eventually patients leaving the medication behind them in their life path. Alongside doctors, friends, family and therapists independence is always possible.