Anti-Depressants Have Greater Psychological Side-Effects than Thought

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According to an article in Science Daily News, thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties and other problems that have been associated with taking anti-depressants are more common than originally thought. Research performed by the University of Liverpool included 1,829 people who were using anti-depressants. Large numbers reported psychological problems resulting from taking the prescription medications. Lead researcher and psychologist, Professor John Read, who is from the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, commented that the “Medicalization of sadness and distress has reached bizarre levels.”

The concern is that these prescription drugs are being over-prescribed. When each person in the study answered questions on a questionnaire, researchers found that more than half of those aged 18 to 25 had experienced suicidal feelings while more than half of all suffered from sexual difficulties, feelings of emotional numbness, not feeling themselves, and having experienced withdrawal effects. Less than half experienced a reduction in positive feelings or cared less about others. In spite of these negative effects associated with the anti-depressants, 82% reported improvements in feelings of depression.

Professor Read commented that although the biological effects of antidepressants such as weight gain and nausea are monitored during their use, those affecting psychological and interpersonal issues have long been ignored or denied. In spite of this, the symptoms are apparently “alarmingly common”. While the lack of emotion that results in some areas are a significant problem, they are not being told about the potential effects when prescribed the drugs. Dr. Read feels that due to the high number of participants who experienced thoughts of suicide, earlier studies may have underestimated the problem.

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