Author interview: Stopping long-term antidepressants in people with depression or anxiety

Antidepressants are widely used for depression and anxiety. Guidelines recommend that an antidepressant should be continued for at least six months after people start to feel better, and for at least two years if they have had two or more periods of depression. Many people take antidepressants for much longer. Ellen Van Leeuwen and Mark Horowitz, authors of arecently published Cochrane review on approaches for discontinuing antidepressant use, answer some questions about the findings of the review.  Tell us about this Cochrane Review, why did you think it was important to do it?Ellen: The rise in long-term antidepressant use is a major concern. For example, in the UK, nearly half of people using antidepressant (8% of the total population, approximately 3.7 million people) have been taking them for more than two years. Antidepressants that, despite initially being appropriate, are not discontinued after the recommended duration can lead to unnecessary harm and costs.Mark: Antidepressants can put people at risk of adverse events such as sleep disturbance, weight gain, sexual dysfunction and gastrointestinal bleeding, as well as feeling emotionally numb and what they described as feeling “addicted,” because they cannot easily stop the medication. This is because people’s brains physically adapt to antidepressants after long-term use (called physical dependence). They may also impair patients’ autonomy to deal with problems in their life without medic...
Source: Cochrane News and Events - Category: Information Technology Authors: Source Type: news

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The behavior is linked to more white matter, the brain's 'superhighway'. → Support PsyBlog for just $5 per month. Enables access to articles marked (M) and removes ads. → Explore PsyBlog's ebooks, all written by Dr Jeremy Dean: Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
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