News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

New research on antidepressant addiction and withdrawal


A study of more than 1800 New Zealanders has found a significant number of people on antidepressants believe the drugs are addictive and more than half report experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

A study of more than 1800 New Zealanders has found a significant number of people on antidepressants believe the drugs are addictive and more than half report experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

The research, by University of Auckland researchers Dr Claire Cartwright and Dr Kerry Gibson from the School of Psychology, was led by Professor John Read of the University of East London and is the largest so far attempting to track long-term use of antidepressants and issues of withdrawal and addiction.

Antidepressant prescription rates are rising in many western industrialised nations with an estimated 10 percent of people prescribed the drugs in countries such as the United States and United Kingdom. In New Zealand, its estimated one in nine adults are prescribed antidepressants each year with the number of prescriptions thought to be rising at five percent per annum.

This research investigated long-term use of antidepressants in an online survey by asking participants who had been using the drugs about whether or not they experienced side effects, including withdrawal symptoms and addiction.

“Given some evidence from research conducted in the UK, it appears that the rise in antidepressant prescriptions can be explained by repeat prescriptions rather than new patients,” Dr Cartwright says.



“So given that people are staying on antidepressants for longer, the issue of whether or not people feel addicted and whether or not those who stop taking them are experiencing withdrawal symptoms becomes important.”
A total of 1829 New Zealanders took part in the survey and of those, 44 percent had been taking antidepressants for more than three years and were still taking them.

As the survey was self-selecting, respondents not only chose to take part but could also choose whether or not to answer questions about specific topics.

Of the 1367 who filled out the section related to withdrawal symptoms, more than half – 54.9 percent - reported some withdrawal effects, with 25.1 percent reporting the effects as severe while 45.1 percent of participants reported no symptoms.

Of the 1521 people who filled out the section on addiction, 72 percent reported antidepressants were ‘not at all’ addictive, but 27.4 percent reported some level of addiction. Of those reporting some level of addiction, 6.2 percent described the addiction as severe, 9.4 percent as moderate and 11.8 percent as mild.

“This study was not designed to definitively answer the question of whether or not antidepressants are addictive because there are a range of expert definitions of addiction,” Dr Read says.

“But what it did set out to do was make a significant contribution to the estimated rates of long-term usage in relation to self-reported withdrawal and addiction by directly asking users about their experience. The results point to a significant number of people prescribed antidepressants who have experienced some withdrawal effects and who believe the drugs are addictive.”

Criteria for participation in the online survey included having been prescribed antidepressants within the last five years and being at least 18 years old.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Joseph Cederwall Review: NZSO Plays Bach And Ellington

The NZSO’s Shed Series returned for 2019 with the aptly titled REBIRTH at Shed 6 on Friday 8th. This theme dealt with the way in which music constantly evolves and changes, with styles and musical periods reborn in completely new and different ways. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Voulez-Vous Couchez Avec Moi? - C'est Chic, Ça Colette!

Starring the ravishingly vibrant Keira Knightley in the title role, Colette is a fairly pedestrian paint-by numbers biopic - which is a little disappointing, given that its cross-dressing and pansexual protagonist lead anything but a dull life. More>>

Wellington Repertory Theatre: New Season Includes Royal Hunt of The Sun

“The objective behind our ambitious 2019 season is to expand our offering to a broader range of Wellingtonians. It’s the first time in over a decade that we’ve produced four shows, and the first time we will be performing at the Hannah Payhouse,” says Oliver Mander, WRT’s President. More>>


Howard Davis Review: The Revenants - They Shall Not Grow Old

Jackson has toiled laboriously in the trenches of the digital revolution for decades, with his two turgid Tolkien trilogies constantly pushing the envelope in terms of computer-generated entertainment and providing his latest project with sufficient combat experience to warrant serious Oscar consideration for its remarkable technical achievements. More>>


Unseen Let It Be Footage: Peter Jackson Making "The Ultimate Beatles Film"

Jackson's new film will be compiled from fifty-five hours of never-released studio footage of The Beatles recording their final album Let It Be in January 1969. More>>


NZCT Grants More Than $150,000 to Community Sports

NZCT has approved grants to the Tauranga Boxing Academy, provided a new lease of life to old yachts, benefitted sports at Tiniroto School, and helped to upgrade Christchurch City BMX Club track. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland