Corporate wellness consultant, Dr. Paul Lanthois is calling for a rethink of how we deal with mental health conditions following a report suggesting that anti-depressant medication is ineffective…
Having personally dealt with anxiety and panic attacks, Dr. Lanthois believes mental health experts need to stop prescribing pills and labelling conditions like anxiety and depression as illnesses.
“A lot of mental health experts and doctors say that anxiety and depression are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. To me, this is misleading because it infers that we somehow passively become unable to produce the emotional states of mind that we choose. It implies that we are not responsible for the emotions we feel. The culprit being some external unknown entity for which the only cure is taking drugs. This is despite recent studies showing that anti-depressant medications have no significant effect.”
Dr. Lanthois cites research from Professor Irving and his team at the University of Hull came to this same conclusion following an analysis of 47 major clinical trials (both published and unpublished) involving the use of anti-depressants medications. Kirsch found that only the trials with the most favourable results were published. Trials with less favourable results were not published. Subsequently, the regulatory authorities only saw the published studies! Taking into account the results of all the studies, Dr. Kirsch concluded that anti-depressant medications don’t work.
’The truth is that anxiety and depression are emotions. They are emotions that we do,’ states Dr. Lanthois. ’My own personal experience taught me that we do not suffer depression and anxiety. We “do” depression and anxiety. People who say that they are suffering from stress, depression or anxiety are simply in the habit of doing those emotions. Just like any skill that any of us haven’t done for a long time, how to “do” emotions like happiness can be forgotten over time.”
Rather than rely on drug treatments as the first port of call, Dr. Lanthois calls for a greater emphasis on providing training and development of emotional management skills for those struggling to cope.
’Stress, anxiety and depression aren’t caused by a lack of Prozac in the bloodstream so we should focus on skills before for pills to cure our ills,’ he said.