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Letter: Depression drugs

Sir: There is evidence that stress precipitates depression in the vulnerable but we do not know whether this is a modern phenomenon. Rates of clinical depression appear to be the same the world over - the percentage of people suffering from clinical depression in Paris is the same as those in Beirut.

What Deborah Orr seems to be talking about is not so much clinical depression as trying to recover a sense of wellbeing within society, something that the pressures of modern life and breakdown of family structures has eroded.

Antidepressant pills do not cure unhappiness. Despair in the body politic will not respond to pills but to fundamental changes in our ways of living and working. Drug treatments, however, remain a vital part of the treatment of the terrible illness that is clinical depression.



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