Dr James Davies discusses the over prescription of antidepressants

  • Thursday, October 6, 2022

Dr James Davies, Reader in the School of Psychology at the University of Roehampton, has been working on the link between antidepressants, known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), and mental health problems for several years.

Image - Dr James Davies discusses the over prescription of antidepressants

In a front-page article on Newsweek, Dr James Davies, alongside a number of academics including Dr Mark Horowitz, a research scientist at University College London, share their research into the over-prescription of SSRIs and their withdrawal effects. 

Both Horowitz and Davies aim to reassess how mental health is treated, calling for a total reappraisal of UK prescribing practices.  

"Since 2004, we've seen the average duration of time a person spends on these drugs more than double," said Davies.  

"One of the arguments we make as to why that might be happening is because when people try to stop, they experience withdrawal effects with doctors reinstating the drugs as a consequence." 

Davies added: "A lot of people are out there suffering from severe and protracted withdrawal symptoms. They are in a lot of pain and we need to help them. That's the conversation we are having now in the UK­—what can the government do? 

"There is now a wide acknowledgement in the UK that antidepressant withdrawal is a significant problem”.  

Dr Davies is co-founder of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, which is now secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG-PDD). He was part of the editing team of the APPG-PDD guidance: ‘A short guide to what every psychological therapist should know about working with psychiatric drugs’. This is a significant resource that provides therapists with information to enable them to work better with people taking psychiatric drugs or withdrawing from them. 

Dr Davies has published several books related to the topic including: The Making of Psychotherapists: an anthropological analysis, The Importance of Suffering: the value and meaning of emotional discontent, Cracked: why psychiatry is doing more harm than good and, his latest title, Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created our Mental Health Crisis