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Did Depression Double? Did Healing Double? Or Did Profit Double?

Antidepressant use in America has doubled. Does this mean there is more awareness?  More healing?  More depression occuring? Or simply more advertising profit? The Biopsychosocial model has been a sturdy guide to healing for therapists and patients. Is the model broken by drug advertising? Read More

It is all for profit. The

It is all for profit. The drug companies are creating drugs for absolutely everything. You are a kleptomaniac take a drug, your angry take a drug, depressed, sad, fat, anxious, drug, drug, drug, drug.
At some point we have to say enough is enough, it is not enough to treat the symptoms of our problems; we have to search for the root of the problem otherwise it will never go away. People have to seriously take a look at their lifestyle.
More specifically our diets, we are eating more and more food but getting fewer nutrients. How can people think they will feel good when our body does not have the fuel it needs to operate.
But even our ‘healthy’ food has drugs on; it they spray vegetables and fruits with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides… there is no escaping the drug companies reach into our lives.
There are just not enough tests done to insure the drugs they say ‘better our lives’ are actually healthy for us. With the increase of autoimmune diseases, it is time we take a serious look at ALL kinds of drugs and the real effect they are having on us.

People are being conditioned

People are being conditioned to believe that their choices and behavior have nothing to do with their emotional/psychological problems and therefore the only "cure" is drugs.
Drugs are the easy and comfortable way to get rid of a problem without making the effort to heal the core or root of their problems, which starts with their choices.

Too much is never a good thing

I am personally studying to become a psychologist myself and often times when I mention this to others the initial reaction is, "Well if you are doing that you might as well major to become a psychiatrist." While I do believe both fields are important and some do need medication for depression I also feel that we are beginning to focus too much on these medicines and not enough on coping with the problem. These days antidepressants are being prescribed for things ranging from breakups and family deaths to job layoffs and other less trivial events. While these are indeed very sad events they certainly do not need pills to cure. Sadness is a human emotion that we all experience and is necessary in order to better ourselves as people; we wouldn't know joy if we never felt sadness.

So do I condemn antidepressants? No, but do I believe they should be much more regulated than they are today? Absolutely YES.

In my experience with the

In my experience with the mental health community, generally therapy is presented/funded as a short term solution, whereas maintaining medications might continue for several years after the onset of depression. I don't doubt that insurance and profits are a large part of this, since therapy is quite expensive and labor intensive. But maybe this accounts for some of the difference? A lot of people probably stay in therapy for shorter amounts of time than they stay on the drugs. And stopping therapy is just far easier than stopping a drug.

For me, actually, this has been a pretty good solution. Maybe I could go off the drugs, and probably some day I will, but that is a much bigger hassle than stopping therapy. Therapy is always easy to resume, whereas going off and then changing my mind and going back on a drug would be a huge problem with lots of side effects and misery to deal with. It seems like this is just the nature of the beast.

Your question, "Does this

Your question, "Does this study mean there is more awareness going on? More healing? More depression? Or is it simply more profit due to more advertising?"

More awareness of what, that we are depressed or does more awareness of society in general cause depression?

More healing? You're kidding, right?

More depression? I suppose that things are worse off for most Americans then they were 10 years ago. They certainly were paid better.

Economics 101: If it wasn't producing more profit they wouldn't be spending money advertising it.

But the real problem is that the SCIENCE says these drugs have less efficacy than therapy, but more doctors prescribe drugs instead of therapy - despite what the SCIENCE says. TELL ME WHY IS THAT?

no time to stop

As someone on antidepressants, in therapy, etc etc, I feel that drugs are thrown at us as the quick fix because there isn't really support for actually stopping to fix the root problem. That takes time and energy, real time, real energy, and we just don't have time for that. We have to keep going to work, keep up appearances, keep functioning, and we don't have time to break down and grieve appropriately. So we take the little happy pills and fit in therapy where we can, and basically just hobble along half-broken.

I am someone who has never

I am someone who has never been diagnosed as depressed, but I don’t need a diagnosis to know that I feel depressed.
I heard somewhere that taking niacin would help depression. They said to take as much as needed to try to help you feel better I take 800mg in the morning and another 800mg in the afternoon.
While I am not sure if it as all a placebo effect or if it actually helps; I do feel much better. (I don’t have to go to bed at 6:00 anymore because of exhaustion, I am friendlier, my thoughts are a lot more positive and not so self destructive)
I have never wanted to take prescription drugs so this is a perfect solution for me. While I am not saying you should stop therapy or even taking your other medication, I hope it is useful for you to know that there is something else out there that you could try.
… what is the worst that could happen, you waste $20 on a bottle of vitamins.

Another Poser

And yet again you've written a truly thought provoking column. Do we have double the cures or nothing more than double the profits? Talk about a good question.

For what it's worth, I'll offer a comment:

No doubt, at some point in your career, you've come up against a GOMER (Get Out of My Emergency Room) and simply wrote a prescription to be rid of the pest. Who knows. You may actually have done that patient a world of good via the placebo effect. Noble soul that I am, I've volunteered for all sorts of studies (antidepressants included) and more often than not come away confused. Did I get the active ingredient or not? Am I feeling better or was it that deep dish martini over lunch?

So, bottom line, perhaps there were both double profits and double cures. Not cures as in clinical "Cure Cures" but cures in terms of feeling better because somebody appears to have a handle on my problem and I'm finally taking an active (i.e. drug compliant) role in getting well.

People get sick for silly reasons so why not well as well? Look at Kristine(above)doing just great on niacin.

Steve Mason
PT Blogger


Hey thanks Dr. Mason, I think this one is a classic temptation for those of us in the general public. We take intuitively to "Occam's Razor," that the most likely answer is also the simplest.

So it makes "common sense" to take up one of several belief systems - that medicines must be the answer to everything, or that alternative medicine is the answer, or that anything BUT medicines are the answer, or that only psychotherapy is the answer...even that "The Secret" is the answer, as long as there is only ONE definitive answer.

However, the extreme value in the standard therapist's Biopsychosocial Model, as you know, rests in its wise compartmentalization of causality and contributors to a mental health condition, e.g. that at all times, biological, psychological, and social forces are all equally at work in us, causing a combination of malady, and promising improved health if we attend to all three, not just one.

Drug advertising certainly implies only one solution, but we must not throw "the baby out with the bathwater" in rejecting medicinal cures of course. I personally havent heard of a niacin cure per se...

My source for the niacin

My source for the niacin ‘cure’ was a documentary that came out in 2008 called Food Matters a film by James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch.
The film is indeed very one sided, the message is drugs are bad. Vitamins and minerals are good. (They do stress that the best way to get them is food not pills...) If there is a chance you ever want to take a glance at the other side this documentary is put together very well and it is quite informative.

From the vies of an acupuncturist

Hi all,

I just finished reading another article about the use of Antidepressants doubling in the USA from 1996 to 2005. As an acupuncturist, I work with the integration of the mind body connection. I have learned to re frame the way I think about depression. I see depression is an intelligent signal arising form our body when we refuse to listen to its message.

When we drug ourselves to not feel the pain of what we are doing to our own being we have lost the thread back to our health. We give our power over to an external substance and lose all sense of our own sovereignty.


Pharmaceuticals vs Manual Therapy

Something that really REALLY ticks me off is that pharmaceutical companies pour billions of dollars every year into R&D for drugs, when R&D for manual therapies (massage therapy, osteopathy, etc) is seriously underfunded across the board.

Drugs can be effective, and indeed can hugely benefit clients and patients to live fulfilling lives. But if pain and discomfort could be managed using manual therapies in better ways that drugs can,as I'm sure they can in many cases, then doesn't it Make Sense to put more effort into finding out why and how that's true?

All people want to do is Feel Better. And when dealing with some psychological conditions, a full hour of nurturing, hands-on human contact really is the best medicine.

I wish more health professionals would realise that, and integrate it into their treatment plans.

Feel Better, people.

Would a combination be best?

I am personally involved with Depression having it currently. I am also in my final years as a Psych major. I know with my personal history that depression is a truly dibilitating condition, that does (depending on severity) require some form of psychotropic medication. I have other underlying conditions that make my case extremely difficult to treat without the use of drugs. However, in my entire career of studying psychology I have never once been taught that drugs or cognitive behavioral therapy on its own was the correct way of treating this disorder. I believe that the pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of a market in which to thrive accounting for the many issues occuring today that may have some impact on the rising depression rates. Why do companies advertise? Mostly to cater to a large market in which to garner more profits. So yes, there will be an increase in profit from the medications but the companies cannot sell these drugs as if they were Tylenol. These must be prescribed to patients, so the issue may not be with companies' advertisements garnering profits but making the public aware of depression is causing people to cave in to the brain's operation. Ever read a horoscope and say "hey, that is so me." or feel the cicumstances apply but when faced with reality they only detail VERY generalized circumstances that most people will apply to themselves. This may work the same way: people may determine themselves and because of healthcare costs see their PCP instead of one who specializes in psychotropic medications. PCP's are not always qualified or current on certain meds. For example, I went to my PCP to raise the dose on my antidepressant, without asking or determining whether this medication was still working he wrote the prescription and there I go! I went to my Psychologist (who is studying psychopharmacology) and he relates that the drug I am on has a FDA warning and was pulled from production for severe damage to the liver! With the other medications I am on (which my PCP prescribed) this was very important info to have! So, there needs to be communication between the masses and providers. Make therapy more available to those who need it since all psych courses will tell you that therapy AND medication work the best (based on the condition of relevance)!

the profit doubles for sure

It has been strange to me, that there is so much attention focused on depression, banners on internet sites, questionnaires for everyone in the clinics, drug advertisements, the whole big campaign looks suspicious. Almost everybody has at least several reasons to be unhappy in life and sad moments are something normal and if they dig for this, they'll find depression and we'll trust them. We all want to feel better by magic/drugs, without effort and wasted time, but isn't normal for me to try to cure the mind and the feelings by taking drugs every now and then. We might become dependent and unable to cope with sad situations the normal way - talking with people, waiting for some time to pass, seeking specialized advice, changing what bothers us. I find the "depression campaign" highly profitable for those who sell the drugs and not healing for most in long term.

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Paul Dobransky, M.D., is a clinical psychiatrist and author of The Secret Psychology of How We Fall in Love (Plume, 2007) and The Power of Female Friendship (Plume, 2008.)


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