Monday, December 13, 2021

Helping our patients to use antidepressants safely

Taking antidepressants is like flying a plane isn’t it?

Here are some pointers to guide our patients from “ground control”. 

Taking off is hard.
Climbing to the right altitude is hard.
Autopilot is easy.
Landing is hard.
Avoid a nose dive and a crash landing.
If a crash landing occur, it will make it very fearful for the next landing attempt. This will make it very hard “to get off it”.

So how can we increase our chance of success for a smooth landing?

Land the plane when the weather is good. Avoid landing the plane in a middle of a storm or an imminent storm. Avoid landing the plane just because the patient want to land the plane. Timing is very important. The trouble is, for some of the folks we see, the weather seems to be bad all the time isn’t it?

This is why I think psychotherapy during antidepressants use is very important. If people can gain more psychological flexibility skills including the ability to hold more space for uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, then a smooth landing is much more likely.

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