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Neil Stewart is correct; a personal perspective

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:21 GMT

Author: Sharon Clark
Position: DR/Post-Doctoral Fellow
Submitted Date: February 27, 2008
Published Date: February 27, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

This is a comment from a professional biomedical researcher who is not working in the area of mental disease, but has a very personal perspective on the effect of SSRIs. As such the below is a personal opinion and not that expressed by my affiliated research Institution.

My periods of depression started in my teen-age years and were treated with comments of 'its not that bad' and the very colloquial 'buck up girl'. In short, my depression was not considered significant or severe, and it was only when I developed an episode of acute paranoia and agraphobia that my symptoms were recognized as 'real' and medically treated with SSRIs. It took a trip overseas during which time I had recurring paranoid episodes, for my condition to be further recognized as chronic, necessitating long-term use of these drugs.

My SSRI therapy has in short given my life back to its respectful owner, me. I now have such self-control, that I can usually pick up the early warning signs of, and avoid paranoid episodes.

In full agreement with the comments by Neil Stewart, the effects of these drugs (which in my case had to be taken with tranquilizers in the first few weeks) did not improve my 'mood' for at least 2 months. My return to 'normal' took at least 12 months. My ability to extend the remission from paranoid episodes has taken years.

For this I can thank the Pharmaceutical Industry for their efforts and belief in, what I would call, one of the most significant pharmaceutical advances of the 20th century. And although I cannot refer to the appropriate studies, I am sure that studies describing the effect of these SSRIs in preventing deaths in the long term are or will be far, far more astounding.

I am as confounded as Neil Stewart as to why the authors of this PLOS article have apparently not highlighted the importance of length of treatment, and ask them to comment.

Sharon Clark

No competing interests declared.