NHS Plans to Help Millions Dependent on Antidepressants

The Providence Project prescription drug addiction treatment services are focused on helping you regain your freedom and enjoyment of everyday things. We are here to help with your antidepressant addiction or abuse and assist you in healing from this challenging dependence. If you are struggling with such an issue, NHS-based treatments are now focused on holistic treatment and therapy. Our 20+ years of experience fully support the NHS’s decision to refocus its efforts into providing quality alternative therapy for its patients alongside traditional psychotherapy.

Managing Antidepressant Dependence: What the NHS Is Doing

If you’ve ever used antidepressants to treat depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, you know how difficult it can be to wean yourself off them. Sometimes, prescriptions last for years, and relying on medication for the rest of your life can be daunting. But changing or abusing your doses is hardly an option.

Unfortunately, the potential risks and side effects of long-term antidepressant abuse are immense. To combat this problem, the NHS has recently unveiled its plan to address the issue of antidepressant dependence. According to a report by The Times, the health service is offering help to millions of patients like you to come off antidepressants and painkillers.

Let’s explore how the NHS is tackling antidepressant dependence and how you can reduce your or your loved one’s reliance on medication. We’ll also discuss some common misconceptions surrounding antidepressants and provide practical tips for managing your mental health without relying on non-prescribed medication.

What Are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are prescription medications that help treat depression and other mental health conditions. They work by increasing certain brain chemicals, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This helps improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. Common types of antidepressants include

  1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs),
  2. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs),
  3. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs),
  4. Atypical antidepressants

But you may also experience some side effects while using antidepressants, including:

  1. Drowsiness and fatigue
  2. Gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea
  3. Sexual dysfunction
  4. Weight gain,
  5. Risk of suicide

While necessary for some patients, they also hide a very high addiction potential.

Antidepressant Dependence in the UK

We are observing an unfortunate rise in antidepressant addiction and abuse in the UK, with over 4.5% of adults living with depression. With antidepressant medication prescribed to manage the condition in most cases, many fall victim to dependence. At the Providence Project, we also found that the recent health crisis from 2019-2022 negatively affected our country and mental health. Additionally, the sudden switch from home office to commuting and office hours also decreases many’s work-life balance and overall life enjoyment in corporate positions.

While there are many therapeutic options, sadly, they are not the best route for most patients suffering with depression. According to the NHS, 20.8 million antidepressant drugs were prescribed in the UK in the second quarter of 2021/22—6.3 million in England alone. This was a 1.28% increase from the previous quarter and a 6.15% increase from the first quarter of 2020/21.

In many, this increase in prescriptions leads to antidepressant dependence as dependence awareness is not actively observed in many national practices. A study published in 2019 found that antidepressants are associated with a risk of dependence and withdrawal when taken for extended periods. The study analysed data from 24 previous studies and found that up to 53% of patients experienced withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing antidepressants. They experienced symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and tremors.

Prolonged use of these medications can be costly and may lead to increased healthcare spending. Healthcare spending in the UK has gradually increased over the years. In 2021, the budget was 276 billion pounds—a 19 million increase from the previous year
This is why we are focusing our efforts on helping our clients, and readers, and anyone we come in contact with struggling with antidepressant abuse of the dangers they hide. We can also help you and your family through behavioural therapies, holistic methods and comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment.

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The Problem of Antidepressant Dependence

Prolonged use of antidepressants can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when the medication is stopped. This can be a difficult and sometimes painful experience for our loved ones suffering from psychological or physical dependence on these medications. Dependence on antidepressants can also lead to a lack of agency and autonomy, where you might feel unable to function without the medication. Unfortunately, this can be particularly dangerous to your health, as the medication is no longer effective.

Additionally, we are concerned that antidepressants are overprescribed, and non-pharmacological treatments such as therapy are overlooked. Doctors would rather prescribe medicine instead of advising lifestyle changes and supportive therapy, the primary treatment choice we at the Providence Project choose for our dual-diagnosis patients.

The problem of antidepressant dependence has harmful economic implications for communities nationwide, with people contacting us for assistance from almost all counties. We want you to know we are here if you need help with an antidepressant problem. Our admissions team is ready to talk to you, so feel free to reach out and tell us about your current situation. We will not judge but help you move away from this dangerous path.

The NHS Plan to Tackle Antidepressant Dependence

Thankfully, NHS’s new national guidance addresses the issue of antidepressant dependence. They recommend art, music, or gardening classes instead of being prescribed painkillers and antidepressants–which have proven to cause dependence. This is a leap for the national services, as they have never before included holistic therapy as openly in their treatment options.

Let’s be honest; our country is struggling with addiction. The current opioid crisis in the U.S. might be taking over the discussions, but we can also not contain the effects of opioid overprescription. So, to avoid this problem and protect your health, holistic therapies for addiction and depression, such as fitness, music, art, sculpting and even newer expressive methods such as drawing by numbers and diamond painting, can be extremely beneficial. While The Providence Project offers dual diagnosis treatment with a combination of traditional and holistic therapies for over 20 years, we are proud of the NHS for finally recognising this lack in their services.

Art therapy, in particular, has also seen much success in other countries. According to a study, art therapy significantly reduced depressive symptoms in 42 patients in South Korea. You can learn how to draw and express yourself creatively, which also takes your mind off cravings. Working with this part of our brain immensely reduces depressive symptoms due to activating the right hormone-production processes. What holistic treatment does is that it helps us become less reliant on external chemicals and produce just the right amounts ourselves.

At our treatment centre in Bournemouth, we also include talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and group therapy to help you find better ways to express your worries and concerns without bottling in emotions and fears.

Therapy

Why Is This Approach Necessary?

Many years ago, we discovered that alternative therapies are essential in supporting patients in managing their health. This is why we implemented acupuncture, massages, and other holistic approaches to help treat the physical symptoms and underlying causes of substance abuse.

As of 2023, evidence suggests that alternative therapies, such as social prescribing and talking therapies, can be just as effective as prescription drugs for managing various physical and mental health conditions. But additional benefits, such as improving social connections and reducing isolation, also assist in returning to your normal life after completing your treatment.

Because you lead it as the primary participant, unlike the common psychologist-led environment, his method provides more personalised and better-directed help. We hope this change in the antidepressant dependence treatment methods will help the NHS achieve better long-term health outcomes and reduce the risk of antidepressant drug addiction.

The Bottom Line

Antidepressant addiction is a serious problem affecting millions of people in the United Kingdom. The NHS’s new national guidance is a positive step toward addressing this issue. Judging by our experience in addiction rehabilitation, this change can only benefit those struggling with their antidepressant abuse. In the long run, this strategy will help us defeat the ongoing prescription drugs crisis that we have been observing, and actively battling, for the past decades.