Caroline Flack's depression revelation sparks debate about helpfulness of antidepressants

Caroline Flack (pictured at the BRIT awards 2018) has revealed using anti-depressants left her ‘numb’ [Photo: Getty]

Caroline Flack has opened up about her battle with depression, revealing that though taking anti-depressants helped, they left her feeling numb.

Speaking to The Sun the 39-year-old presenter revealed that her battle started after scooping victory on the ‘Strictly’ dance floor in 2014.

“It all started the day after I won ‘Strictly’. I woke up and felt like somebody had covered my body in clingfilm,” she said. “I couldn’t get up and just couldn’t pick myself up at all that next year. I felt ridiculous, being so sad when I’d just won the biggest show on telly and had such an amazing job. However, I felt like I was being held together by a piece of string which could snap at any time.”

She told the publication that “antidepressants helped me get up in the morning and stopped me from being sad, but what they also do is stop you from being happy.

“So I was just in this numb state. I stopped laughing at jokes, and that’s just not me,” she continued.

In the end Caroline made the decision to come off them after six months “as I realised feeling something was better than feeling nothing at all”.

But while the presenter has received support on Twitter about her honest revelation, it has also sparked a debate about giving antidepressants a bad rap, when have been so helpful to so many battling mental health disorders.

One journalist started a thread explaining that though Caroline has a right to feel the way she does about antidepressants, she believed it was dangerous to criticise them as they are so important to so many.

The thread prompted others to share their own experiences of taking antidepressants.

But others did step in to defend Caroline, saying they believed she was only giving an opinion on her own antidepressant experience.

Despite the fact that the NHS have been prescribing a record number of antidepressants in recent years, there still remains a stigma about taking them. 

But according to a major study into the effectiveness of antidepressants in treating mental illnesses, medication as a form of treatment can have a huge impact on those battling mental health disorders.

Research earlier this year from Oxford University, which was published in The Lancet, involving 116,000 patients across 522 trials found that every one of the 21 antidepressants tested works better than a placebo.

Proof if ever it was required that antidepressants are an effective treatment for people with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

A further survey revealed that at least one in 11 British adults now take antidepressants.

Caroline Flack opening up about her mental health struggles will no doubt help raise awareness about depression and other disorders and while antidepressants weren’t the solution for her, it is important to remember that treatment plans vary from person to person.

“What people find helpful in managing their mental health will vary from person to person – whether this is medication, talking therapies, making lifestyle changes such as taking exercise, or a mixture of these,” says Rachel Boyd, information manager at MIND

“Giving people a choice of treatments is key, whether that’s drugs, talking therapies, alternatives such as arts therapy or exercise, or a combination of some or all of these. Someone managing their mental health problems should be treated as a whole person and they should be able to access whatever treatment, or combination of treatments, works best for them,” she adds.

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