A Warning For People on Medication for Depression

This is a warning based on my personal experience. Like many people, I suffer from depression, for which I am, thankfully, on medication. However, the government, David Cameron, George Osborne, the head of the health service, Jeremy Hunt, and their corporate paymasters seem to resent the fact that so many people in Britain now are on medicine to treat this condition. So they’re doing their best to throw people off it. About a year or so I had to go to my doctor again for an examination after I had a repeat prescription turned down. I was told that because the government was concerned about the mental wellbeing of sufferers like myself, they were stopping automatic repeat conditions in order to make people see their doctors. It is, I was told, a condition that can get worse, and so it had been decided that sufferers like myself had to be seen every three months rather than the six I was used to. The doctor, after examining me and asking how I was going, said he’d go back to the previous appointment system of every six months.

This hasn’t happened. I tried to get a repeat prescription last week, only to have it cancelled with no explanation. So I managed to make an appointment today to sort it out. I was told by the doctor straight out that the government didn’t care about people with depression, and so wasn’t going to notify them that they needed to make another appointment with their doctor if they want to continue treatment. Their medication is just automatically cancelled after three months. The doctor I saw was, however, helpful and after examining me, wrote out another prescription.

Ironically, on Radio Bristol at the same time I was being told this about the government there was an interview with a local woman, who worked for a mental health charity. The lady herself had suffered from anxiety, and so was urging a greater awareness of mental health issues.

So, if you suffer from depression, or know someone who does, be warned. The government has clearly decided that you only deserve to be on it for three months. After which, they seem to believe that you have got better. For some, that might be true. For many others, definitely not. It seems to me very much they are cancelling automatic repeat prescriptions for depression as they really do believe that it’s simply the case of pulling yourself back together. Or straightening your tie, putting your shoulders back and singing the national anthem, or whatever other stupid remark Cameron thought was a witty reply to Corbyn in parliament the other week. Presumably the hope is that if people don’t go to the doctor, they’re obviously not so sick they need to see them. Or they simply don’t care if they are too confused by the situation to get an appointment. They simply want people off benefit.

If you are like me, please don’t get caught out. They’re using any trick they can to throw people off benefits. People have been sanctioned simply because they’ve been late responding to a request for an interview. Don’t let them pull the same trick with your mental health.

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27 Responses to “A Warning For People on Medication for Depression”

  1. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. mili68 Says:

    Reblogged this on disabledsingleparent.

  3. 61chrissterry Says:

    Reblogged this on 61chrissterry.

  4. Michelle Says:

    It is brave of you to mention your struggle but so very important to speak out, I volunteer at MIND who encourage talking about mental health:
    http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/talking-about-mental-health

    I also recently followed an online course with Warwick University about Literature and Mental Health, here other people speak up and include the beneficial effects literature or their own writing has had on their mental health when suffering depression e.g.

    Discussing Depression and bipolar disorder with Stephen Fry:
    https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/literature/1/steps/64257

    Discussing poetry and depression with Melvyn Bragg:https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/literature/1/steps/64252

    I hope your writing can also take down uplifting paths, much strength to you.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for the appreciation, Michelle, and to all the others, who have liked and reblogged the post. I’m not sure I was being particularly brave. I just thought that it needed to be said. This is the way the government is trying to catch people out, and I simply thought that if I didn’t speak up, more people would suffer, and given the horrible attitude the Tories have to people on benefits, it’s going to be a lot more. It’s over a quarter of million suffering mental health problems due to the sanctions regime as it is.

      Well done, volunteering for MIND. I don’t know if I could do that, though I have done voluntary work. And you’re right about writing and literature being beneficial. I had a breakdown about twenty years ago, and what did me good was writing letters to friends. I felt at the time I really couldn’t face people, but writing letters allowed me to keep in touch. I also ended up writing various bits and pieces and sending them off to the small press magazines that were around then. I think the small press has more or less disappeared with the rise of the internet, but some of the magazines I used to send articles to are still around on-line, and still accepting submissions. It’s just that it’s all done via email, rather than the Post Office.

      As for literature, yes, I certainly spent a lot of time reading. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly educational or heavy, just interesting or amusing – something to take you out of yourself, and give you something else to concentrate on, at least for that moment.

      Thanks also for posting those links to Stephen Fry and Melvyn Bragg. I saw Stephen Fry’s programme, the Secret Live of the Manic Depressive, or rather, the first programme he did about it with that title when it was on all those years ago. He was very good, interviewing people like Richard Dreyfus and Robbie Williams. Williams gets a lot of stick, but he comes across in many ways as likable and very level-headed, unlike some of the other celebrities, who develop massive egos way beyond their meagre talents. I haven’t seen Melvyn Bragg’s programme, but with anything Melv does, you can be pretty sure it’s good. Lewis Wolpert, the biologist and science writer, also wrote a book about depression and his experience with it after the death of his mother, A Malignant Sadness.

      Thanks again for your kindness and support, and best wishes to all of you!

      • Michelle Says:

        Your comments are brave, honest and also very timely:
        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/government-is-breaking-pledge-on-mental-health-policy-warns-former-minister-a6956971.html

        My volunteering at MIND for the last two and a half years is in the charity shop so I’m not on the end of a phone, but most of the lovely volunteers need a lot of help themselves (one way or another they are trying to be a part of society and have obstacles) and many of the customers come in because they need to talk, the manager and deputy manageress cope with all sorts of tensions / complications that you wouldn’t get in the average shop, it’s heart warming to know there are people who really care, it’s a priveledge to be a tiny part of it, though some days I feel I should have done more. I also help out with a community edible garden where I know it’s been a bit of a life for some, gardening / nature is also my solace and I write poetry when I’ve seen really difficult times. I hope you keep writing.

  5. A Warning For People on Medication for Depression | Beastrabban’s Weblog | Vox Political Says:

    […] Source: A Warning For People on Medication for Depression | Beastrabban’s Weblog […]

  6. bankanglesensor Says:

    Reblogged this on BertieS.

  7. samedifference1 Says:

    Reblogged this on Same Difference.

  8. shawn Says:

    beastrabban, I too am a long-time sufferer from depression. And as a consequence have been on antidepressants for a more than a decade, I’ve also been fortunate enough to have psycho-therapy twice in the last three or four years. There is a belief amongst clinicians that for most people if the appropriate form of talking is offered at the right time, something due the nature of the illness is not always possible, medication should only be a short-term measure. That stated, not everyone who is able and willing to go through that sort of therapy, could get it, as there is chronic shortage of suitably qualified psychologists. the thinking in this ideal world where mental health is probably funded and psychologists matched to demand is that every six months, or better still at the doctor’s discretion, sufferers’ needs should be reassessed. For some the doctor aught to be able extend the reviews or deem them unhealpful. As to cancelling medication(s) without warning, something I’ve experienced too, it’s hard to find any medical justification what so ever.
    I would offer one piece of advice on this point. It is often printed on the front of prescriptions that the patient needs to make an appointment to review medication. Something, I did notice, and could not have as they go electronically straight to the pharmacist. I suspect the pharmacist is supposed to pass the warning onto the patient,, but for numerous reasons that does occur. At that point in my opinion a letter should be sent to the patient, if this meets with no response someone from the practice should phone the patient.

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is believed by governments in particular to be a panacea for all forms and causes of depression. and many other mental health problems too. The attraction is that it can be put together as a sort of question and answer script, which shows errors in the patients’ cognitive process. Governments, have used this to replace qualified psychologists with mental health workers who are mostly trained to only offer and view mental health in CBT mode. Australia initially and now Britain also have gone further and replaced people with a computer programme that tells clients all their problems can be resolved by ‘positive thinking’ (which means thoughts and attitudes set by government). Your depressed and angry about having your legs chopped off by a poorly maintained piece of equipment, is not a helpful way of thinking about situation. You should not be angry or depressed, but rather think positively about all the money you’ve saved on shoe ware. However, its problems extend farther than a form of mind control.

    Evidence shows it can do a lot of good for a relatively small cost for some/most people. Of course the mind is complex piece ‘of machinery’, which means it’s not appropriate for everyone, and for a few positively dangerous. I was one of the ones who fell into that group. To be told that your thoughts about child abuse and chronic pain are merely faulty cognitions is unlikely to cheer the sufferer up. This can be made more complex in that, initially, some sufferers are not able to open up, or even recognise how historic events influence much later mental health states. This is where a computer or inadequately trained (that is for how the mental health problem is; rather than how it appears initially to present itself). mental health worker can make a dangerous state of mind into a suicidal one. Policies coming out from the DWP, though not exclusively so, provide evidence that this may point has not been lost on government!. Though, it could be the very low relative cost that indeers CBT to government.

    I’m sorry but next two paragraphs have been lost – I’m having problems using the keyboard and mouse, due to disability. But briefly the advice. Often a warning is given on the front of the prescription, which states that the patient needs to make an appointment to see the doctor to review their medical. As a lot of prescriptions are sent electronically to the pharmacist or physically collected the patient never gets to see the message. I believe the pharmacist is supposed to inform the patient. Personal experience shows this not always be what actually happens. Quite why stopping the patient’s medication is deemed an appropriate course of action can not be based on medical evidence, though I guess that depends on the value placed on human life. That is not too far from the conclusion to for using CBT as cure all for those who suffer from depression
    shaunt

    • beastrabban Says:

      Hi Shawn, thanks for your kind comments on the post, they’ve been most informative. I’m sorry to hear that you also have the condition, but am glad you have been getting the treatment you need and should get. I was also treated with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. In this case, the treatment took the form of getting the sufferer to dictate on to a half hour tape the kind of ruminations or obsessive thoughts that were causing them depression or anxiety, and then playing them back for about half an hour each day. The idea was that if you do this, you get used to them, and then you can move on. It’s a little different from the type of therapy you describe. Unfortunately, it really didn’t work for me. In fact, dwelling on my depressive and anxious thoughts only made the condition worse. Terribly worse. I’m better now, but still need the medication.

      I understand that for the majority of people, CBT does work, but it’s not a panacea, as you rightly point out. As for the idea that you can reduce the process of counselling down to a computer programme, I think that’s very dangerous. I have read that in the 1980s, there was a lot of talk about using Powerful Programming to simulate the human mind, and it was thought that this would lead to the development of true Artificial Intelligence. It was used to simulate neurotic ruminations in real human minds. The problem with this is that the human mind is not like a computer. People are much more complex than simple mechanical system where input modified by the machine’s operation automatically produces an expected and predictable output. The idea that you can reduce complex mental states to simple computer-like functions seems to me to be very much based on Behaviourism, and with all that discredited psychological theory’s flaws. It reinforces the impression I had that the assumptions made by the idea behind much of the government’s ideas about sickness and disability being somehow all in the mind, is really nothing but quack medicine.

      My best wishes to you, and to everyone else reading this, whether you have depression or not.

      • Michelle Says:

        All in the mind – this reminds me of a talk I noticed last year at a Literature festival which I found a great cause for concern, so I looked up Halpern the CEO of the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) aka the ‘Nudge Unit’ and found that it was originally a government department set up by Cameron in 2010. However, because the BIT had apparently done so well it became a mutual joint venture with David Halpern as it’s CEO Here is the REF from a LSE talk on the nudge unit where is describes the manipulative process: “the aim was to be the world’s first government institution to use behavioural economics to examine and influence human behaviour”: http://www.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2015/09/20150915t1830vOT.aspx

        Beyond CBT here is a stark reminder – one of the keys to changing an individual’s behaviour is to change their *context*, hence policy is used to deliberately change the social context and massage a population and it’s individuals, this is the checklist on how they think it works:

        Messenger: we are heavily influenced by who communicates information
        Incentives: our responses to incentives are shaped by predictable mental shortcuts such as strongly avoiding losses
        Norms: we are strongly influenced by what others do
        Defaults: we ‘go with the flow’ of pre-set options
        Salience: our attention is drawn to what is novel and seems relevant to us
        Priming: our acts are often influenced by sub-conscious cues
        Affect; our emotional associations can powerfully shape our actions
        Commitments: we seek to be consistent with our public promises, and reciprocate acts
        Ego: we act in ways that make us feel better about ourselves

        The official publication says: ‘The MINDSPACE report is used by the Behavioural Insights Team as a framework to aid the application of behavioural science to the policymaking process.’ REF:

        http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/publications/mindspace/

        A few weeks after I had posted on MINDSPACE Kitty Jones eloquently blogged on the government’s nudge process: “Nudge is a prop for New Right neoliberal ideology that is aimed at dismantling a rights-based society and replacing it with an insidiously nudged, manipulated, compliant, and entirely “responsible”, “self-reliant” population of divided, isolated state-determined individuals who expect nothing from their elected government.” Ref: https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/the-government-plan-to-nudge-sick-and-disabled-people-into-work/

  9. ravenswyrd1 Says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind and commented:
    A warning for people on medication for depression…Dxxx

  10. tracy Says:

    Its insidious and hellish what is going on.
    You start being on medication because of personal reasons, and end up staying on them because of complete and utter fear of this government and its horrific welfare reforms.

    This government wants welfare claiments who has mental health conditions to undergo their “special therapy sessions”.
    Very creepy.

  11. spinsteroftheparish Says:

    Reblogged this on Cornfields & Pumpkins.

  12. JohnDee Says:

    This government hasn’t stopped oppressing the vulnerable, especially the disabled.

    Stress affects your health, particularly one’s immune system.

    Kinda makes you wonder if there’s a consistent’ method in the (s)Tories madness’?

    Namaste

  13. Jester Barley Says:

    Your opinion that most people taking antidepressants are on benefits is wrong .statistically 75% of the adult population have taken drugs for depression at some time , mostly as a coping strategy to stay in work . There are more people out there using SSRI”s long term than reflected by the benefit system

  14. Kitty S Jones Says:

    Reblogged this on Politics and Insights.

  15. dandymanyahoocouk Says:

    Well my GP has not said that to me yet but, if he does..I will ask “How can it be ok for the Government STEAL my son and I’ll NEVER see him again {3 years of No Contact gone by} and expect me to forget him and find a job”? They made me Mentally ill and now HAS to provide for me as I did No Wrong to deserve this barbarianism treatment.

  16. NMac Says:

    Tory malice and hatred knows no bounds.

  17. chriswaynepoetry Says:

    The perception of mental health, both culturally and politically, has taken a battering over the last few years. Its perception was not great pre 2010. Yet since this government has been elected, though the various psychological techniques that they have adopted, they have allowed those with mental illness issues be perceived as ‘weak’ or ‘soft’, when they are anything but.

    Part of the issue I feel is that increasingly successive governments have seen the general population as stoxk whose sole purpose is to work. They don’t see the public as critical thinking emotive people but as abstract machines who live to work. This has been reflected in their mental health approach, which I believe has basically been a ‘snap out of it’ approach.

    Like yourself I suffer with depression and anxiety, and though some days are worse than others for the illnesses I have, I find it patronising and ignorant when people comment on my illnesses as though I am a behaviourist clone and not with the respect of a rounded human being.

  18. wandererwrites Says:

    Reblogged this on The Meandering Social Worker and commented:
    Warning and Alert to anyone needing repeat prescriptions for depression – sounds like you need to make an appointment to see your GP as automatic repeat prescriptions are being cancelled.

  19. A Warning for People on Medication for Depression | The Night Owl Says:

    […] A Warning for People on Medication for Depression […]

  20. katythenightowl Says:

    I just followed a link to your posting, and have Reblogged on:
    http://katythenightowl.com/2016/03/31/a-warning-for-people-on-medication-for-depression/

  21. spiritsofpeace Says:

    Reblogged this on spiritsofpeace and commented:
    I wish there was a way to show what it is like living with our mental and physical disabilities, so that so called “normal”, i.e. fit and well people could see how hard life is.

  22. JohnDee Says:

    Nah – it’d be soooo boring – Benefit Street much more fun… and no thinking involved. [sarcasm alert]

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