Letter: My advice to fellow-sufferers of depression is to accept antidepressants

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This letter sent to the Star was written by Ruth Grimsley, Oak Park, Sheffield, S10

On August 26, the Star published a letter from a Mr Brian Daniels of the the Citizens Commision on Human Rights, from a postcode far from South Yorkshire. Since the letter made some startling allegations against antidepressants, which have been of immense assistance to me for nearly 40 years, I thought I'd better check this organisation out. I commend the Wikipedia entry for the CCHR to everyone's attention, since space in these columns is limited, and the entry has a lot to say.

It seems that the CCHR is "a nonprofit organisation established in 1963 by the Church of Scientology and the psychiatrist Thomas Szasz in Los Angeles. Its stated mission is to "eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health, and enact patient and consumer protections." Many critics regard it as a Scientology front group."

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Szasz, who died a few years ago, was big in "alternative" Psychiatry in the 1960s and 70s, the era when anybody with enough nerve and charisma could set himself up as a guru. Scientology is something about which we all are already informed, and concerning which we all have our views.

Reading Mr Daniel's letter, anyone would think that psychiatrists habitually and deliberately poison their patients. They don't: they do their best to treat them. Here, for the record, is the sum of my experiences:-

1. Depression is such agony that it can drive people to lay violent hands upon themselves.

2. Not every antidepressant works on everybody.

3. Some antidepressants make you feel worse before they start making you feel much better.

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4. There is some truth in the allegation that patients weren't, in the past, adequately informed of this: but this gap in communication is fast disappearing.

5. On the whole, antidepressants do work, and therefore should be regarded as good therapy.

Accordingly, my advice to fellow-sufferers is to accept antidepressants, making sure that your families and friends keep a watchful eye on you, especially in the early months of taking them. My further advice is to stay well away from "alternative" organisations of uncertain reputation. Especially if they have "citizens" in their title and you, who are a citizen, have had no involvement with them, and might never even have heard of them.

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