Why Is Antidepressant Withdrawal a Hot Button Issue?

The recent New York Times article addressing difficulties with withdrawal from antidepressant medication drew an impressive over 1,000 comments in its first 48 hours following publication. Clearly author Benedict Carey has touched a nerve. People appear outraged, some calling the piece “dangerous” and “irresponsible.” Many share their own personal stories of how the pills have helped them, and how they had no trouble getting off the medication. Many accuse the author of shaming individuals who have an illness no different from diabetes. This outrage comes through powerfully, despite the fact that the following statement appears prominently towards the beginning of the article:

The drugs have helped millions of people ease depression and anxiety, and are widely regarded as milestones in psychiatric treatment. Many, perhaps most, people stop the medications without significant trouble.

Reading this “conversation” brought to mind the original title of my first book, “Its Not About the Soup.” (I nixed it in favor of Keeping Your Child in Mind but it remains the title of the first chapter.) The phrase refers to a boy having a meltdown about dinner when it’s really about his distress around his mother’s emotional unavailability and a whole complex array of other experiences. Yet he and his mother becomes focused on the dinner choice, allowing them to avoid dealing with the bigger underlying problems.Read the entire article on Psychology Today