Depression: Affecting 1 in 25 Americans
The aggressive rise of this condition in society is debated widely in the medical and scientific community. The diagnosis of depression has now grown to 17 million people in the US. Which is about 7%. Yet it affects young adults the most at 13%. (National Institute of Mental Health).
The word depression has expanded its reach to mean many things and in doing so has grown into a complex set of classifications from persistent, seasonal, bi polar, psychotic, and major depressive disorder.
First it was diagnosed only for extreme cases unlike today where the word is now used to describe both extreme mood impairment, people who have experienced a trauma, and others who just feel they’re going through a tough time or can’t handle life at this particular time.
I think this expanded and “far reaching,” classification of depression is dangerous to our youth and our mental health as a society because now that’s it’s a diagnosis, it can have a treatment, which is usually not counseling like rational emotive therapy or cognitive behavioral, but instead, “trial by error,” psycho drug therapy.
The medical industry highly favors the use of anti depressants as seen in the staggering rise of use in the US.
So now everyone from sexual abuse to ptsd to “my girlfriend broke up with me,” can receive the same random pick of the drug treatment. This is not a satisfactory standard and is dangerous.
A ground breaking meta analysis (study of studies) including 522 clinical trials of antidepressants shows no better improvement then placebo at 8 weeks. (Goldhill, 2018)
Many studies show this same conclusion. Majority of studies that show improvement long term have only been done by the drug industries themselves and have not be reproduced by outside independent researchers.
Furthermore, there are are little to no long term studies on most anti depressants. Longest study was a 2 year study on a couple of medications, but that is it. (Peterson, 2019) Due to liability and lack of known alternatives, doctors are afraid to pull anti depressants which leads many patients to stay on them much longer then has ever been tested. This is extremely dangerous.
There is also the question of efficacy and ethics related to drug clinical trials.
Of the 522 studies in the meta analysis, 409 were done by the pharmaceutical companies. The study reported that majority of those studies were reported to have high to moderate bias by the researchers doing the research. (Goldhill, 2018) This calls into question pharmaceutical research ethics.
So my question is why do we use such controversial treatments as first approach when there is so much data and low risk of side effect to diet, exercise, counseling, and supplemental approaches like SamE.
As someone who was fortunate enough to overcome diagnosed OCD in my late teens with behavioral therapy and not the use of medication and now as a health coach working with hundreds of depression cases, medication without therapy is temporarily helpful at best which is congruent with the recent research.
In summary there are times to use medication, but without behavior therapy this is a dangerous president that a pill can solve the problem. Yet for majority of depression cases, it’s clear that medication is not the safest and a low percentage positive outcome option. Until we can get more unbiased research that can help pinpoint what meds would be best for who, like genetic testing we should significantly reduce antidepressant use for a natural first approach.
National Institute of Mental Health, Prevalence of Major Depressive Episodes Among Adolescents. Retrieved from https://nimh.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml
Goldhill, Olivia. 2018, Feb. 22, Researchers Are Still Working to Prove That Antidepressants Are More Effective Then Placebo. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/…/researchers-are-still-working-t…/amp
Peterson, Andrea. 2019, Aug 28, New Concerns Emerge About Long-Term Antidepressant Use. Retrieved from https://www.wjs.com/…/new-concerns-about-long-term-antidepr…