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” My experience chimed in with her own: she’d been using Xanax, a popular tranquilliser, to ward off panic attacks. Obviously, when even getting out of bed seems impossible, any medication that can pacify the dreaded “black dog” should be endorsed.But what about taking antidepressants because you are moving house? In this country, 46 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed last year – most of them to women. Little wonder that the new generation of such drugs are called “yummy mummy’s little helpers”.Just as I was about to confront her, she confided that her children leaving home had plunged her into depression and she was on medication.Dr Richard Wolman, a medical psychotherapist, chides me for my “hysterical” reaction.Perhaps the UK Drug Policy Commission, which recently called for the legalisation of “soft drugs”, should review the status of antidepressants and tranquillisers and how they are prescribed.
I resolved to thank my GP when we got back to London: the little pill he’d prescribed to combat my claustrophobia and fear of flying which, over the years, has grown worse, had done its work. During the flight, a little boy seated across the aisle started bawling: he clapped his hands on his ears, wailing, “Ear hurts, ear hurts”.The colleague who has put on weight and seems uncharacteristically placid: is she taking something?