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Psychiatrists don't know all. Sometimes, they need to defer to patients' lived experiences

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As a psychiatrist, I bear witness to a broken system. Mental health care is chronically underfunded, and encounters between patients and psychiatrists are becoming shorter, more sterile, and dehumanized.

When Canadians seek support for their mental health, they are not always welcomed with open arms. Often they are stigmatized, and almost always they are made to wait.

In this context, antidepressant medications have been marketed as a quick fix. Rates of antidepressant prescriptions are skyrocketing, and Canadians are among the world's biggest users of these medications. Antidepressants have become so pervasive that even fish are changing their behaviour because of antidepressant metabolites in our rivers and lakes.

While individual results vary from person to person, antidepressants can be helpful for debilitating symptoms of depression and anxiety. Fortunately, many of my patients with these symptoms get better. Unfortunately though, when time comes to discontinue their medications, things do not always go as planned. The side effects from antidepressant discontinuation can be so severe that may individuals simply keep taking the medication indefinitely.