Thursday, February 17, 2011

The United States of Medication

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that more than 25 percent of Americans who are currently taking antidepressants have not been diagnosed with any of the conditions that such drugs are typically used to treat. This means that millions of Americans may be suffering from side effects from medicines which provide them with no real health benefits.

Jina Pagura, psychologist and medical student at the University of Manitoba, worked on the study. "These individuals are likely approaching their physicians with concerns that may be related to depression, and could include symptoms like trouble sleeping, poor mood, difficulties in relationships, etc.," she said. "Although an antidepressant might help with these issues, the problems may also go away on their own with time, or might be more amenable to counseling or psychotherapy."

While antidepressants can be a literal life-saver for those who do have a diagnosed mental illness, they should not be used as a “quick fix” for those who are stressed about normal life occurrences, such as being depressed because they’ve been dumped or anxious because an important job interview is coming up. Feelings of depression and anxiety are a part of being human, but having those feelings does not mean that a person has clinical depression or an anxiety disorder.

We need to make sure that we don’t fall into a pattern of over-medicating or over-diagnosing. for that matter. Mental illnesses do exist, and they are serious health issues that can benefit greatly from medication, but when handing out a prescription, medical professionals need to make sure that a legitimate diagnosis lies behind the pills.

-Alyssa Flisiak

No comments:

Post a Comment