Survey Of General Practitioners Needs, Knowledge and Beliefs Regarding Antidepressant Withdrawal Effects


The British Medical Journal has announced the launch of a new survey for GPs.

Last September, Public Health England reported that one in six adults in the UK are prescribed antidepressants annually, and that withdrawal effects may be more common and long-lasting than suggested by various guidelines. In October the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) amended its guidelines accordingly. Both bodies recommend that patients receive accurate information about withdrawal from antidepressants.

The new survey, a joint venture between the University of East London and the University of Liverpool, aims to measure GPs’ awareness of antidepressant medication withdrawal, their current practices and their training needs. Questions include:

‘When discussing possible prescribing of antidepressants, how often do you inform patients of the possibility of withdrawal effects when reducing or coming off antidepressants?’
‘How would you describe your knowledge about the withdrawal effects of antidepressants?’
‘Would you like more training or information about the withdrawal effects of antidepressants?’

One of the research team is Dr Chris Dowrick (Professor of Primary Medical Care, University of Liverpool), and a practising GP.  He commented:

‘Finding out what GPs know and need seems to us to be an important step towards implementing the new best practice recommendations from NICE and Public Health England. It is essential that we GPs are able to pass on the latest, most accurate information to our patients, and that we know how to support people who want to withdraw to do so safely and effectively.’

Another researcher, Dr John Read (Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London) said:

‘Until now the guidance used by GPs has not given adequate attention to the potential   severity and duration of withdrawal effects from antidepressants. What is needed now is effective education and training and we hope our survey, which is independent from drug company influence, can facilitate that.’

Access the survey here:

Or  U.E.L. GPs Antidepressants Withdrawal Survey

For more information contact Dr John Read

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels



  1. Whilst this is to welcomed, it is extremely important that the devastating consequences of class benzodiazepines are not ignored; consequences that have been known about and suppressed for decades. There is still an estimated million plus prescribed. It could be more. The two have become almost intrinsically linked. Invariably one class is employed to treat the consequences of the other being misdiagnosed. It is an absurd state of affairs. Both cause a devastating withdrawal syndrome and share many similarities. If lessons had been learned with class benzodiazepines – maybe they wouldn’t have been repeated with SSRI. As it stands, we have millions prescribed both classes and an exponential rise in harm. It is a medical catastrophe and it is simply criminal it has been allowed to happen. Twice.

    #PrescribedHarm #PublicInquiry