Are Happy Pills The Answer?

I read a fascinating but worrying article by Julia Llewellyn Smith in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday which suggests that Britons are becoming hooked on anti-depressants which might well be making us feel even more miserable.

Leading psychiatrist Dr Paul Keedwell has stated that prescribing drugs treats only the symptoms and not the cause of our problems:

“If you’re depressed because you’re lonely and your doctor prescribes you anti-depressants, which is all too easy for both of you, then all your distorted feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred will diminish to some extent and you’ll be able to function in day-to-day life but it’s not going to be a long-term solution to what made you depressed”.

Throughout our lifetime one in four of us are likely to suffer from a mental health disorder, a catch-all phrase covering everything from phobias, anxiety to full-blown depression and everything in-between.

The easy answer is to throw pills at the problem and last year 43 million prescriptions were written in the UK for so called “happy pills” such as Prozac and Cipramil, this is a 28% rise over the past 3 years and costs the NHS around £225million per year.

Many of us face difficult life-episodes such as redundancy, house moves and divorce that can leave you feeling anxious, worried and depressed but these are generally short term situations that cause temporary, but still highly unpleasant problems rather than the sign of a pathological condition required medication.

Dr Keedwell continues: “ we are probably over-prescribing antidepressants to people who don’t need them” – there has to be another solution.

Professor Watkins, Director of The Mood Disorders Centre is one of a growing number of experts who recommends a different approach and says “we should a teach people skills that make them less prone to depression and less likely to see it coming back”.

Rather than treat the symptom why not try to deal with the cause?

There are a growing variety of “talking therapies” that address this problem and I am a teacher of Autogenic Therapy which provides a toolkit of solutions that help you to help yourself and deal with both the causes AND symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

If you would like to find out more then please go to or email me at



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