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I told him he needs to work through his emotions and learn to control his anger.

Have you suggested talk therapy?

My understanding is that study after study has shown that antidepressants in conjunction with talk therapy can be quite effective long-term; but that antidepressants on their own can, as you fear, just mask real issues.

I went through a period of being on antidepressants, and I'd challenge the statement that antidepressants are supposed to "smooth out" your emotions. The MD psychologist I saw said that they very much did NOT want you to feel like a different person, that the idea was to ease the worst of the anxiety so you were ABLE to deal with the real world. He was quite adamant that they weren't meant to "cure" anything - just bolster your coping skills so you could deal with what was really going on.

At the time, I found the antidepressants helpful (I'd been at the point where I couldn't even do the grocery shopping without becoming completely paralyzed). About a year afterward, when some of the stressors in my life had shifted, I was able to drop them to no ill effect.

My opinion is that antidepressants can be a useful tool when used appropriately. And my impression is that they're often not used appropriately. (A friend of mine said her insurance was perfectly happy to pay for Prozac indefinitely, but they wouldn't cover talk therapy at all.) Why deal with issues when you can just cover them up? It seems sometimes like these things are becoming the Valium of the 21st century.

Best of luck to your cousin,

-lizmonster
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