Our expert says:
Some thoughts. "Antidepressants" are a group of drugs that were originally identified and developed when they were found to be helpful with depression. But they're not specific to depression. They do certain chemical things that can be useful in depression, but which are also useful in severe chronic anxiety : just as they can be useful in treating some serious pain problems. And they help in anxiety where there's no obvious depression, and in pain where there's similarly no obvious depression.
There are significant risks to using benzodiazepines, and Urbanol type drugs in significant doses, daily, for more than a couple of months, especially the development of dependence, and troubles stemming from side-effects like concentration and memory problems. There's been quite a bit of experience of people taking antidepressants long-term, as some folks need that to control and avoid recurrent episodes of depression.
An alternative approach, which SA psychiatrists seem oddly uninterested in, yet which has been supported by good quality research, is CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy and closely similar counseling / psychotherapy techniques, which may be as effective as drugs, and concentrate on giving you more personal ability to avoid and cope with, stress and anxiety.
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