Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2022-08-05 11:45:16 –
In recent years, the use of antidepressants in the United States has surged. At any given time, approximately 18% of women and 9% of men use these drugs, far more than they did decades ago. The pandemic hasn’t helped, and while overall prescriptions for these psychotropic drugs have increased by almost 9% since their inception, the number of adolescents taking these drugs has soared by a whopping 41%.Why so much? Are there many? Most of these people are just trying to improve their quality of life by reducing their emotional distress. And most of them have been told by big pharma that these pills will work.
Not long ago, the use of these drugs was largely confined to people with major depressive disorder, or debilitating depression (thinking they can’t get out of bed). Today, these formulations are applied to a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, and many others. but the theory remains…theory.
do they work? Researchers have been investigating that question for years. The initial studies on their efficacy, funded primarily by the pharmaceutical industry, characterized these drugs as game-changers. Indeed, there is evidence that big pharmaceutical companies have practiced their own confirmation bias, emphasizing studies with good results and downplaying others with limited benefit. A recent large-scale review comparing similarly afflicted people with depression using antidepressants found no modest differences in quality of life between the two groups. .
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garden variety blues
Additionally, there is growing evidence that using these drugs to treat mild to moderate depression is no more effective than placebo, the proverbial sugar pill. Aerobic exercise, in particular, appears to be more beneficial than pharmaceutical approaches, except in severe depression. Those suffering from various blues can be better served by making lifestyle changes than popping these drugs, but those with severe depression should seriously consider taking them. I have.
Another problem with ointments is that the first studies on the efficacy and safety of antidepressants have focused on short- to moderate-term use. I have been taking it for years and even decades. After all, how much effort does it take to swallow a pill compared to hitting the gym, optimizing your nutrition, and practicing good self-care? , which is often insufficient. Antidepressants take weeks to work, often have side effects, and can be difficult to stop. Moreover, there is no way to know in advance whether the selected breed will help, so it is largely trial and error, and often a simple mistake.
On the provider side, big pharmaceutical companies are making huge profits from these medicines and openly promoting them to healthcare consumers. Their soothing messages suggest that even mild, temporary depression is reason enough to take antidepressants. is normal and if you don’t feel that way, there are pills for that. But since emotional suffering is an inevitable part of existence, learning to rely more on one’s own effort and agency to deal with it constitutes an important life skill.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-medical. In my practice, I have seen many severely depressed people benefit from a course of antidepressants. Interestingly, the preponderance of research in this area suggests that combining antidepressants with psychotherapy can produce better results than drug therapy alone. and the question of which has the greater impact remains open. , like an anti-inflammatory diet.