A recent study into the effectiveness of prescribed medication for the treatment of depression has revealed that the new generation of prescription anti-depressants have very little clinical benefit for most patients. In fact, researchers have found that the drugs only help a very small number of the most severely depressed. Whilst doctors are advising not to abruptly cease administration of the prescribed drugs without consulting a doctor evident that it may be more beneficial for those suffering from depression to seek natural alternatives for an anti-depressing effect. The number of prescriptions for anti-depressants hit a record high in the UK in 2006 with more than 31 million prescriptions.
In the latest study, researchers reviewed a series of studies on four anti-depressants to determine whether the response of people on these drugs was dependent upon how severe the symptoms of depression were before getting treatment. The study ultimately revealed that when compared with a placebo, the new generation anti-depressants did not offer any clinically significant improvements in condition for those suffering from moderate or even notably severe depression. Significant benefits were only evident in the most severely depressed.
Lead author, Professor Irving Kirsch from the University of Hull, UK said, "The difference in improvement between patients taking placebos and patients taking anti-depressants is not very great. And the effect for patients seems to be due to decreased responsiveness to placebo, rather than increased responsiveness to medication. Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed to provide a benefit."
Nonetheless, these findings give further reasons for those suffering from depression to seek natural alternatives to relieve their symptoms. In coincidence with many studies which have shown that St. John’s Wort is significantly more effective than a placebo and at least as effective as certain antidepressant drugs, these new findings highlight just how beneficial natural supplements can be.
Source: BBC News, RTE News, Healthnotes