When We Look Back in 20 Years’ Time, This Will Be a Turning Point is an article written by Ella Jones for The Psychologist (Nov 2019, Vol 32, Page 17) about a large-scale (British) government review of the withdrawal effects (and dependence issues) related to prescription drugs being dispensed in Britain. Jones interviewed John Read, a member of the reviewing commission and of the British Psychological Society, which publishes The Psychologist.
The Public Health England review states that, between 2017 and 2018, one in four adults in England had been “prescribed drugs which could lead to dependence or debilitating withdrawal effects, with prescription rates rising for some classes of drug.” The study encompassed many drugs with known dangers; e.g., painkillers.
However, it also included medicines never before studied. For example, despite “many years of denial” that they could involve dependence, antidepressants were included for the first time. “The review found that more than half of people experience withdrawal effects when stopping antidepressant medication, that almost half of those described the effects as severe, and that withdrawal effects can last for weeks or months.”
This finding comes as no surprise to those who use or have used antidepressants. This finding is not an argument for stopping prescribed medicines; indeed, this finding is an argument of stopping meds only in consultation with your prescribing physician.
However, this article and the Public Health England review are important because, by showing some of the risks involved in even useful medication, they spotlight the limited effects on whole-person healing. These are neither a panacea nor a risk-free solution. They are to be used mindfully and to be discontinued with care.
It also helps people understand why many survivors are turning to more organic options and newer medications, and to modalities like aqua-therapy to avoid or minimize the need for medicines.
Nothing replaces the salutary effects of an integrated recovery process that is mindful of body and mind and spirit, in which medications and many other modalities can play a (sometimes temporary) role. And, remember: survivors have every reason to work through the resentment over needing medications to cope with the impact of the injustice and evil of abuse.