Last week we had the news that a meta-analysis of antidepressants has been carried out. The result? They really work, and that milliions more of us should be taking them! At one point I yelled at John Humphrys during the Today programme! (He couldn’t hear me of course).
In my view, this ‘news’ was reported very uncritically, even from the science standpoint. Read this for more:
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure that many, many people have been helped by taking anti-depressants. But I also know that in the majority of cases, the prescribing of anti-depressants is unnecessary – certainly for longer than a temporary aid. Rates of prescribing have DOUBLED in the last decade, and many people are staying on them for months and years!
If you were really cynical, you might even conclude that big pharma is somewhere behind all this research. Did I say that out loud?
An increasing number of my clients are GP’s and psychotherapists – and many of them admit to me that they write these prescriptions because they’re just stumped about what else to do! (Which is why they’re looking for a new understanding of the human mind, and why they’re my clients)
Do you know that about about 75% of the people walking into GP’s surgeries up and down the UK are there because of some kind of mental health issue? Indeed, even for the ones that come in ‘reporting’ something else, I bet if you were to dig a little deeper, there would be an underlying paucity of a healthy state of mind as the root cause. Imagine the time, money and resource that could be freed up if people understood the inside-out nature of the human experience. The NHS would be transformed!
I’m not blaming the patients, and I’m not blaming the doctors. Nobody is to blame. But it’s time we asked a different question.
Rather than asking “Do anti-depressants really work?”, surely we should be asking:
Why are so many people so miserable? And what can we do about that?
You might have several answers to this question. Maybe you believe that some people have a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by pollution or other toxins in the environment. Perhaps it’s because modern life is so stressful. It’s because people don’t have enough money to live a good life. It’s because our employers expect more and more. It’s because of Brexit. It’s because of the state of the world, or fear of terrorism. It’s because of social media. It’s because it’s cold. The very cynical amongst you might even say that it’s being ‘under the doctor’ with depression is pretty sure-fire way of continuing to receive disability benefits.
I’m afraid none of that will wash.
There’s really ever only one ‘problem’ – which is people experience their thinking. This thinking may sometimes be depressing, sad, anxious, unworthy, judgemental or hopeless – even suicidal. And then they believe their thinking, and believe that the way they feel is coming from something outside – the world, other people, their circumstances. In other words, it doesn’t look like thinking – it looks 100% real, solid and true. That’s it.
And the way to overcome this problem? To understand the nature of thought, and what’s really going on to create our moment-to-moment experience of life. Just like there’s only one problem – when you boil it right down, there’s only one solution. To see through the illusion of this transient thing called thought.
How do I know this? Because I’ve seen 100’s of my clients’ lives transform – when they truly get this for themselves.
I look forward to the day (and am actively working towards it, along with 1000’s of my others around the world) when health professionals start ‘prescribing’ the real and lasting antidote, rather than the pills.
I’d love to know your story, and your take on all this!