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Why I'll keep taking SSRIs no matter what

From Dr Chris Manning

Teddington, Middlesex

I wonder how many more researchers need to get their names into lights for reiterating what has now been so frequently stated, before people start to become complacent in the other direction?

I refer to the study linking paroxetine to suicidal ideation in young adults aged 18 to 29 (News, 11 May).

I find all the negative publicity this class of drugs (and this molecule in particular) has received and the near-hysterical misuse of the terms 'addiction' and 'dependence' quite incredible.

If the risk of actual suicide is as great as the anti-antidepressant army claims it to be, how is it that in nearly every country where SSRI prescribing has increased there has actually been an overall decrease in suicide rate?

Surely a mass effect would be expected to have delivered far more deaths than have actually occurred?

Of course, we must not be complacent and we must be able to offer interventions that increase self-reliance and long-term independence of medication.

However, I am not convinced that formulaic psychological interventions are everyone's cup of behavioural tea. Safe (and improving) medicines are, and will remain, an essential element of treatment intervention.

And before the letters arrive demanding revelation of any conflict of interest on my part ­ I will carry on taking my SSRI (having found CBT not to work for me). In fact, I take it to reduce my ischaemic heart disease risk to boot!

That is my choice and I will enjoy exercising it for as long I am able, even if that offends the pro-CBT battalions and those who doubt the lived reality of severe disabling, debilitating and sometimes-deadly depression.

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