(NaturalNews) Large numbers of women are being inappropriately treated with antidepressants when they actually have premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a British nonprofit has warned.
"[PMS] can make you feel depressed or even suicidal" said Jackie Howe, head of the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome (NAPS). "But anti-depressant drugs can be strong and addictive, and anyone who takes them could end up with a record of mental health problems on their National Health Service file. Too many general practitioners spot that women are extremely down and emotional when they come in to see them, and hand out anti-depressant prescriptions without digging any deeper."
According to NAPS, thousands of women have been misdiagnosed with clinical depression when actually their moods are linked to their menstrual cycles and do not last all month.
"For the rest of the month, these women are happy and positive people," said Dr Nick Panay, who specializes in menstrual problems.
Many other women are correctly diagnosed, but doctors prescribe antidepressants anyway as a "quick fix." According to Sarah Jarvis, women's health spokesperson for the World College of General Practitioners, the demand for an easy solution comes from patients just as often as doctors.
"Women very often say 'I need something to help me, and I need it now,'" Jarvis said. "They are very busy, they want answers and they want solutions straight away. So doctors do reach for the prescription pad."
Jarvis said that diet, exercise and changes in birth control drugs can be more effective at treating PMS in the long-term. She advises women suffering from severe PMS to visit their doctors when they are feeling calm, rather than emotional or vulnerable.
"The most important thing [for women with severe PMS] is support from friends and family," Panay said. "Because many women get mild [PMS], those with more severe symptoms are often dismissed as people who can't cope. The reality is they are having a horrific time."
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