Extract from the Telegraph:
"Researchers discovered the drugs, which cost the taxpayer almost £300 million a year, generally work no better than dummy pills, and said exercise and therapy should first be prescribed instead.
Only a small group of patients with extreme depression showed any beneficial effect, the team from the University of Hull reported.
Prof Irving Kirsch, the lead researcher, said: "In the best interests of patients it is time for a change of emphasis to non-drug treatments and reserve these drugs for very severely depressed patients."
In England 31 million prescriptions were written for anti-depressants in 2006. More than half were for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI).
The study, published in the journal Public Library of Science: Medicine, looked at the results of 35 clinical trials in the US involving 5,000 patients taking SSRIs, including Prozac, Efexor and Seroxat. Prof Kirsch said patients taking the drugs did improve, but so did those on a placebo - showing most of the effect was psychological.
He added: "One of the problems with anti-depressants is the risk of side-effects, such as an increased potential for suicide. Given that risk, it is important to know there are alternatives that seem to do as well or nearly as well but without the side-effects.""31 million antidepressant prescriptions in a year in England is ludicrous! - Dangerous drugs like this should be avoided. Doctors' prescribing freedom should be curbed.
Non-drug therapies for depression include
a walk in the country (recommended by MIND, the mental health charity) and
improving nutrition by avoiding dieting (a well-known cause of depression) and avoiding eating salt and salty food.
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