Depression is increasing rapidly, worldwide.
No wonder that consumption and sales of antidepressants are escalating much higher.
According to a study by the OCED for 23 developed countries, the top 3 countries in antidepressant consumption for 2010 are: Iceland (106 doses daily per 1,000 people), Australia (89 doses per 1,000 people) & Canada with 86 doses consumed daily per 1,000 people.
According to a study by the Guardian, consumption of anti-depressants has risen globally since 2000.
The use of antidepressants in the US has soared dramatically. In 1998, 11.2 million Americans used these drugs. By 2010, it was 23.3 million.
Antidepressants are still the most consumed class of medication in the U.S., with 270 million prescriptions per year
China's national health department doesn't publish statistics on antidepressants. But Menet, a private company does collect numbers on this. They found that in 2011, 36 million people in China suffered from depression, but only 10% accepted treatment. Despite that, sales of antidepressants had reached 2.61bn, up 19.5% from the previous year.
If you are one of those who regularly take antidepressants, it is important that you acknowledge this as a world trend.
Those medications are helpful for fighting depression. In many cases, they are a must.
Whenever depression reaches an uncontrollable point, the person becomes suicidal. At this point, depression becomes a life threatening disease.
Something has to be done, immediately and decisively.
This is the role of antidepressants. They may cause some side effects such as liver or kidney weakness, but there is no better alternative way.
Yes, they can be addictive which means the person has to take them for a long period, usually for more than 2 years.
At one point of time, some persons may respond very well to these medications, and subsequently, they want to consider getting off them.
That would be a serious decision.
The question is this: If you have been taking them for a long time, can you stop taking them?
My strong advice is that you do not take that decision by yourself.
You need first to consult your doctor. Obviously, your dosage history is one big factor.
Your doctor will be able to reduce your dosage based on a gradual process, something like 6-12 months.
You want to be very careful about the withdrawal effect. Lower dosage will be associated with some degree of higher depression, as well as sleep disorders. This is why you need continuous supervision of a medical doctor.
Another important factor is that you seek the help & consultation of a qualified coach.
The period of withdrawal is not an easy type of change in your life.
You need to find ways and tools for a balanced lifestyle. A life coach can lead you towards suitable hobbies and interests that are helpful in avoiding recurrent depression.
He/she can give you direction for certain goals that are suitable for your personality and ability.
Remember that whatever caused your depression may still be existent inside you. You do not want to get rid of those antidepressants so as to return to your medical doctor to ask for them again, at a later time.
You want to be sure that your life direction is steering away from those causes of depression.
In short: you need the help of both a medical doctor and a life coach.
One point to remember is that should you in the future experience some type of depression, usually mild depression, that doesn’t mean you are back to point zero. Mild depression is not uncommon, even among the successful.
What matters is that mild depression does not stay for a longer time.
The answer is: Yes. You can quit taking antidepressants, even if you have taken them for a long time.
The human personality, like our physical body, can heal. A broken leg can heal and becomes a healthy & full functional leg. So is a depressed personality. Depression can be healed, with special care and some time.