Here’s another: On the average day, seven Aussies will kill themselves. That adds up to more than twenty-five hundred men, women and children every year.
If you are a man, chances are one in eight that you will suffer a period of serious depression in your life. For women, the rate is one in five, and that number goes up with pregnancy. Around ten percent of all women become depressed during pregnancy, a rate that rises to fourteen percent postpartum.
It is thus no surprise that one of the biggest businesses in Australia revolves around prescribing and selling antidepressant medications. Approximately ten percent of the people in Australia take these medications. For older women, the rate is closer to twenty-five percent.
There are major problems with these so-called mood-elevating drugs.
First, they don’t actually elevate mood for most people; they mainly flatten feelings out. You don’t feel ups or downs, just in-between blahs.
Second, they have side-effects—weight gain, reduced sexual desire and responsiveness, suicidal impulses.
Last, and perhaps most important, they don’t work. When Harvard Medical School researcher Irving Kirsch conducted a major re-assessment of thirty-five studies that had been conducted on the most widely used antidepressant drugs—Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil and Zoloft among others—he found that about the only difference between these drugs and a placebo was that the placebo didn’t trigger side effects.
Kirsch’s study came out in 2008. A second study in 2010 had about the same results. Despite that, physicians keep prescribing, and their patients keep taking, these drugs. When the drug doesn’t work, the doctor either boosts the dose, or goes to a different medication, which probably won’t work any better.
There is a more effective way to help people who suffer from depression. It is called hypnosis.
For many decades, hypnosis and hypnotherapy have been helping people defeat depression. Sometimes it is used on its own, sometimes in conjunction with other approaches, such as cognitive therapy. It works, and the only side-effects are a sense of well-being and a feeling of happiness at being able to live without pills.
We will look at how hypnosis and hypnotherapy can combat depression in the next blog.