I'm not going to recreate the whole article here because it is quite long. Also, the comments at the original site are quite worth reading. This is one account (anecdotal) of what can happen when a doctor prescribes medication for something that is normal, whether that be grief, adjusting to changes in life (new baby or a marriage or divorce), or stress. (This is Britain, so their way of doing things is a bit different than the US, but the result is much the same.)


The problem began when I got married. Uncertain about the commitment I had just made and torn between wanting to leave my wife and not wanting to hurt her, I started to drink . . . It was 1998. I was 25 years old, and had been married for just a year . . .

I was told, in the nicest possible way, that I was a depressed alcoholic. I was so shocked I gave up drinking immediately. I have not touched a drop since . . .

Then the doctor prescribed 90 Valium pills and a bottle of beta blockers to help with stress . . . I can still remember looking at the bottle in disbelief. I’d seen people thrown out of nightclubs for possessing two of these pills. The doctor had just given me 90!

. . . Put simply, this is where people seeking short-term help for anxiety end up hooked on powerful mood-altering drugs, sometimes for life.

. . .I remember these pills mostly for their side-effects. In one instance, I was offered a choice of two pills: one would make me fat, the other would give me a sexual dysfunction. I chose the weight gain.

. . . The tipping point came when I visited my GP to speak about my continuing prescriptions. She clicked through my records on her screen and casually noted that I should continue my medication because I was listed as being on my local council’s Severe Mental Health Register . . .

I’d gone to my doctor initially to seek help because I was a young man, overwhelmed and confused by the responsibility of marriage. At what point did I acquire severe mental health issues?


When did I become a threat to myself and others? I’m a threat to an open packet of chocolate biscuits, but not much else. I had found rock bottom.

. . . As of writing, I am 37 and two years clear of my last prescription. I have no mental illness apart from a low hum of depression (partly to do with my situation, as I feel that I have wasted a lot of time).

Life has happy and sad days as it does for everybody, and my mood moves up and down with it. I don’t drink, but only because I know it makes me miserable for a week after I do it, and I accept that at various stages in our lives some of us are more prone to sad thoughts than others.



The Daily Mail