Psychiatry in General Practice: a ‘Campaign’ begins

The following editorial was by Dr James Guy Edwards. It was published the year before I started training in psychiatry:

The author was Editor of this Text Book:

The first response to the BMJ Editorial was by Debbie Harrison of Lilly Industries Ltd, Basingstoke:

The “Defeat Depression Campaign” had begun:

A few weeks later this response was published by Thomas Walley:

Professor Thomas Walley was recently appointed to lead the Hunter Medical Research Institute:

A further response was published a few months later:

It was in Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, that I received my training. I began in October 1993. Both of the above authors are thus known to me and I regard them highly.

Some years ago I made this short film about Royal Cornhill Hospital (much of the original hospital has now been demolished or re-purposed). It is my view that medical science needs to carefully consider the dimension of time. There was then no evidence to support prescribing beyond the average drug-trial length of 8-12 weeks. Despite the controversy around SSRIs – at least three decades old now – there remains a dearth of evidence to support long term treatment with SSRIs. Nearly 1 in 5 Scots are taking antidepressants and many, like me*, indefinitely (my profession has labelled this as “maintenance treatment).

The older I get the more concerned I am that we are not learning from history and keep taking ‘short-cuts’ with time. It is understandable that we seek ‘quick fixes’ but without longitudinal perspective no science  can confirm if benefits may outweigh harms.

*please note: I was started on an SSRI in 1998 for “social anxiety disorder”.

Royal Cornhill Hospital:

To play my short film please click here or on the image above.