In my own odyssey through this valley of shadows I have mulled over three approaches – between them, they offer a pathway to a wider societal cure

  • Mark Rice-Oxley is author of Underneath the Lemon Tree: A Memoir of Depression and Recovery

It’s become as inevitable as the rise and rise of global temperatures or the perennial high-water mark of examination grades: another year, another record number of antidepressants dispensed by doctors up and down the country. This is one of those trends that should be both celebrated and castigated in equal measure. Celebrated, because at last we found something that can help some people deal with an insidious, depleting, often ruinous clinical condition. Castigated because if antidepressants are the answer, we’re not asking the right question.

First, the good bit. Contrary to what detractors may say, antidepressants are not addictive and there is no tolerance effect. They are not like benzodiazapines or opioids – you don’t need more and more of them to obtain the same level of relief. Theoretically, you can sit quite comfortably on the same dose for ever, though it should also be noted that there is little research into long-term usage of these...


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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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