I am seeing a lot of evidence at the moment that supports the view that if you have a mental health problem then you ought to invest in your own recovery. The ‘system’ will not necessarily look after you.
In the UK the annual number of prescriptions for drugs to treat depression and anxiety has almost doubled in 10 years to over 70 million. If this means something to you, please take a moment to reflect on that figure. I have witnessed this happening and I have been preaching about it for over 20 years. I think the crucial points are that first, antidepressants and anxiolytics are not a treatment for depression and anxiety as they do not ‘cure’ these problems, they only help manage them. That is a profound truth. You may not know this and you may expect that when you are given a prescription for these that you are being given something that is akin to an antibiotic, you will experience a cure. You are not and you may not. The antidepressants are not a cure they are a management strategy. And because they are a management strategy you may need to remain on them for a very long time. Hence the huge rise in repeat prescriptions.
Second, you may only be offered a prescription, that’s it! And if that is the case then you are not being treated you are only being managed. To my mind this is like saying…okay you do have a treatable illness but rather than treat it we are going to manage it so that it never really goes away and your life is likely to be spoiled. There are times when you may feel better and times when you will feel worse but all in all you will probably be able to cope, so long as you stay on the meds.
Mental health problems like panic, anxiety, depression and stress are psychological problems and they require a psychological treatment to cure them. Psychological treatment is the cure for these problems.
If you are offered a psychological therapy treatment it is unlikely that you will get enough to do the job (effect a cure) with respect to quantity of treatment NICE guidelines are not always adhered to, in my experience, which means the treatment is sub-optimal. You may not want CBT, therefore you are probably going to require longer-term medication use with the danger of and chronic mental health problems, that come and go over your lifetime.
I don't think this is the best system to provide good health and a happy fruitful life.
You cannot rely on the ‘system’ to look after you. The ‘system’ is terribly stretched, strapped for cash and under-staffed. If you want to feel good then you have to take control over your own mental health problems and resolve them yourself.
Example 1. You cannot outsource your fitness.
Example 2. You cannot outsource your weight management.
Example 3. You cannot outsource your sex life.
Example 4. You cannot outsource your relationship.
Then why would you outsource your mental health to management by medication, to management by doctors or even more commonly to complete lack of management by anyone? 'Just get on with it and do the best you can'.
Your mental health massively affects everything else you do? When you outsource this; it makes you feel helpless and out of control and that makes your mental health problems even worse.
You have to take control over your own mental health because it is far too precious to leave to others.
The first thing to do then is to make the decision to take charge. That is the first and most important step.
You can check out this article in The Guardian that reported the antidepressant use figures.
You can start to learn how to take charge of your own mental health by attending my webinar on Monday 8th April at 19.00 BST. In this webinar I will tell you exactly what to do to take back control and get on the journey to feeling good again.
To register for the webinar please follow this link. You will need to register with your email as a webinar link will be sent to you on Monday 8th April at 19.00 (7.00pm) BST
I hope to see you in the webinar.
Dr David Purves
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