Let me start off by saying that I don’t “do” studies too much, if at all. As interesting as some can be, it can be a slippery slope if you’re ever seeking to discover something. You won’t discover anything. You’ll be pushed from pillar to post like a ball inside a pinball machine and you’ll end up no wiser than you were to begin with. So keep this in mind when taking note of anything like this. It’s very rare that “experts” ever totally agree on anything so there’s always a study saying the opposite around the corner. Despite this, it is interesting to see what keeps popping up time and time again, such as this.
I recently read this article concerning how the use of anti-depressants has increased by 25% since the ‘Credit Crunch’. It only added to my continued dismay about how freely such medication is prescribed and the effect and expectations that emerge from this being considered ‘normal’ in our lives.
The line between clinical depression and negative feelings due to general life experiences such as bereavement or anxiety appears not be blurring, it’s practically invisible. Medication intended to treat serious and extreme conditions has now seeped its way into our lives. Feeling down, upset, worried etc. has now been conveniently woven into the same fabric as having severe clinical depression. The above linked article contains a quote:
“These uncertain economic times are linked to an increase in the number of people with the illness.”
Illness? So some natural feelings are now being categorised as an illness. Why? Because we’ve been conditioned to think that when you have an illness, you take something for it. It’s just so simple and convenient isn’t it? It’s also extremely profitable for the manufacturers of these medications too.
I don’t want to get into a discussion about the effectiveness of these kinds of treatments as that’s another topic altogether with lots of interesting opinions on both sides. I’m merely talking about how freely these things are now given out with the new notion that not being happy is an ‘illness’. I fear that just as we had a big kickback and increased awareness about the over prescribed antibiotics, we are similarly creating another monster here except nobody has said it yet.
Life can never be a constant stream of happiness and if anybody thinks otherwise, or perhaps thinks you only have to ‘pop a pill’ every time your credit card bill comes in the mail, then my advice would be to go and sit under a tree for a few years. Well, after paying the bills. 🙂 Bad things do happen to us and those close to us. It’s part of being alive. I’m a huge believer in ripping your blinkers off and seeing how other cultures live. It’s so easy to get caught into our environment and forget that every aspect of life is different somewhere else.
I’m also a great supporter of those that don’t take everything at face value. Thankfully we have many professionals that:
a. are not on a corporation’s payroll and perhaps more importantly
b. have the courage to speak out about matters that others prefer we don’t see.
Clinical Psychologist, Irving Kirsch PhD. wrote about his own increased awareness of the “chemical cure of depression is a myth” in this article (January 2010) where he also describes his study:
Antidepressants: The Emperor’s New Drugs?
More recently (December 2011) another study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry failed to find any differences in therapy, meds and no meds:
Hopeful News For Treating Depression: Study Fails To Find Differences In Therapy, Meds, Placebo
With prescriptions for such things on the increase, I don’t think we’re going to see them disappearing any time soon whilst the $$$ keep pouring in. Sadly you can’t differentiate economics and ethics. What you can do though is educate yourself and don’t take anything at face value. Only you can take responsibility for your health. Thank goodness we now have so many more options of finding information.