With all the recent stuff in the news, and given my frequent struggles with taking antidepressants etc, I suppose it is no surprise that this subject is on my mind just now.
At times I go along totally with the view that psychiatric meds are no different to (say) the asthma medications I take daily. Seretide stops me from having an asthma attack. Escitolopram and Trazadone stop me from becoming depressed.
Except that it isn't that simple, is it?
I suppose I can discount the "stigma" element to some extent. After all, there are few people who have a "need to know" that I am on antidepressants, and even then few people would probably see it as an issue. I don't see asthma meds as carrying stigma. Of course, it isn't the medication which is the problem, in truth; it's having the mental "weakness" which leads me to suffer from depression / anxiety at irregular intervals. (Not that I feel that other people with mental illnesses are weak, you understand - I reserve that "judgement" for myself alone).
However, there are other issues with the antidepressants I take. I'm sure Seretide has some side effects, but I haven't found them (fortunately!) In contrast, I do have experience of a variety of side effects from the variety of antidepressants I have been prescribed over the years.
My experience of asthma medications is that, while one may be more convenient than another, they have all been more or less equally effective. In contrast, finding the "right" antidepressant seems to be a hit and miss affair.
Add to that the recent suggestions that antidepressants are ineffective (even though I have also read numerous comments describing how the research may have been flawed) and that they are no more effective than a placebo, and my decision to stay on the medications I am taking becomes questionable, dubious. Am I fooling myself and using up precious resources which could be better spent on others? I don't know.
I do know that when I have tried to reduce antidepressants, I get to a certain point and start deteriorating mentally. That deterioration could, however, be explained by other pressures. Who can tell with mental illness.
I suppose a lot of it comes back to the subjectiveness of mental health, to the fact that it cannot be observed and quantified as (for example) a broken leg or asthma can be. But I am left struggling again with my use of medication.