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Last year saw a significant increase in the number of women being prescribed antidepressants – with more than a one hundred percent increase in the past decade. Women have historically been known to multi-task far better than men, and the juggling act of work/lifestyle balance is always a challenge and can lead us into feeling inadequate and not being good at either.  But are the pressures imposed by Society really a reason or even an excuse for the increase in this type of drug dependency? I could give you more facts and figures, but if it helps will give you two contrasting case studies that may throw some light on it for you.   The first case study is a woman of 40 called Gemma who has had a successful career, but suddenly loses her husband to cancer, she then has a freak accident on a walking holiday, and breaks her ankle – two months later she is made redundant from her job of twenty years.  She is immediately prescribed anti-depressants by her Doctor and refuses them, realising that they will only deaden the pain and demotivate her.  Gemma makes the choice to re-evaluate her life and start out on a new path, which she has done successfully without the help of anti-depressants. The second case is a younger woman called Sarah who has had a highly pressured six months running her new business, and still has huge potential but cannot cope with the demands that are thrown at her.  She immediately requests anti-depressants to reduce her stress and is now emotionally dependent on them.   Sarah has tried to come off them, and has been recommended to do so gradually by her GP, but as she reduces the dose she became uncontrollably anxious, and cannot cope without them.  Her appetite has disappeared and her weight loss is worrying. You really cannot compare the problems of the two women, but the personalities differ in that Gemma who has the bigger issues is more prepared to cope, and does not take the easy option, whereas Sarah feels she can’t deal with the inevitable stresses of running a new business. Perhaps it is all too easy these days to succumb to the more available remedy of numbing the pain, but without the bigger picture of how it will ultimately lead to a dependency which is far more damaging. In both cases there is an absence of serious mental health issues, and yet these remedies are still prescribed and recommended. Some practitioners say that the good outweighs the bad with these prescriptive remedies, but it is a debate worth having, even just for the sake of the next generation.  After all support groups and drug free counselling are better ways of overcoming stress than increasing the problem even more. As always at Glotime we are recommending that you take control of your life if possible, and again as the New Year kicks in you can consider the route of either Gemma or Sarah – the choice is yours.

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