Has life gotten more stressful and difficult for all of us in the past decade or two? Probably not. For most people, there are ups and downs—taking the good times with the bad. Back in the 50’s, people were worried about nuclear war. In the 60’s, about Vietnam. Every generation has its anxieties—and most generations just deal with it. But if you look at the use of antidepressant drugs in the United States over the past 15 years, you might think we’re a society of despondent citizens. In fact, new research shows that approximately one in eight Americans are now using antidepressants.
The survey, which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, found that the number of Americans over the age of 12 (yes, they track for children now) taking antidepressants has jumped a whopping 65 percent from 1999 to 2014.1 Pratt, Laura A.; et al. “Antidepressant Use Among Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2011-2014.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 2017. Accessed 20 August 2017. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db283.pdf. These results are based on the responses of more than 14,000 U.S. residents to a government questionnaire that was completed between 2011 and 2014. The investigators analyzed current answers and compared them with those of earlier surveys beginning in 1999.
As the researchers examined the replies to the question of whether a subject had used antidepressant medications in the previous month, they found several notable distinctions. There was a considerable difference between the use of these drugs in men versus women. Women reported nearly twice the use of antidepressants as men, with 16.5 percent of women taking them compared to just under nine percent of men.
Extremely long-term use was another unsettling finding, and it occurs more often than you might think. The survey showed that approximately 25 percent of those who took antidepressants said they had been using them for a period of 10 years or longer.
Variations also came up when race was considered. Whites were far and away more likely to take antidepressants, in fact–more than blacks, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans combined. A sizable 16.5 percent of whites admitted antidepressant use in the prior month, whereas only 5.6 percent of blacks, 5 percent of Hispanics, and 3.3 percent of Asians used them.
Why such considerable differences among various populations? Some of the discrepancies may be culturally related, since non-whites might not be as quick to take any type of mental health drug. A 2017 study at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in Alexandria, Virginia found that white Americans are at least twice as likely as those in other racial groups to take a variety of psychiatric medications.2 Moore, Thomas J. and Mattison, Donald R. “Adult Utilization of Psychiatric Drugs and Differences by Sex, Age, and Race.” JAMA Internal Medicine. February 2017. Accessed 21 August 2017. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2592697. And men in general might be more hesitant to take antidepressants due to the widespread sexual side effects, including erectile dysfunction and delayed or blocked orgasm. Not that these medications don’t affect women; antidepressant use can produce both a lack of libido and vaginal dryness.
But even more importantly, why are the rates of antidepressant usage so high in general? Sadly, much of the medical establishment takes the quick and easy route of prescribing a pharmaceutical drug that will reduce the worst symptoms of depression, even though it comes with a bevy of problems. Aside from the sexual side effects mentioned earlier, antidepressants have been linked to weight gain, insomnia, nausea, and fatigue. And let’s not forget suicide and violent antisocial behavior.
Ultimately, of course, we have to focus on taking care of ourselves. That means if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, such as loss of interest in normal activities, decreased energy, and persistent feelings of hopelessness or sadness, you need to take action to improve your situation. But rather than immediately starting a course of antidepressants, you are much better off at least trying natural options including herbal formulas that contain St. John’s wort, ginkgo, and ashwagandha, all of which are proven to treat depression. Plus, hormonal imbalance may play a role in your mood disorder, in which case a progesterone crème or a testosterone balancing formula might be successful.
Talk therapy can be very helping in working out some of your negative feelings too, but don’t feel you need to stick with any doctor advocating pharmaceuticals. And start a daily exercise routine. A 1999 study at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina showed that working out is more effective and has longer lasting benefits for mental health than drugs.3 Blumenthal, James A.; et al. “Effects of Exercise Training on Older Patients With Major Depression.” JAMA Internal Medicine. 25 October 1999. Accessed 21 August 2017. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/485159.
Look, if all else fails, pharmaceuticals, despite all their negatives, are certainly an option—they are a Godsend for some people—but they should absolutely be the option of last resort.
|↑1||Pratt, Laura A.; et al. “Antidepressant Use Among Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2011-2014.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 2017. Accessed 20 August 2017. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db283.pdf.|
|↑2||Moore, Thomas J. and Mattison, Donald R. “Adult Utilization of Psychiatric Drugs and Differences by Sex, Age, and Race.” JAMA Internal Medicine. February 2017. Accessed 21 August 2017. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2592697.|
|↑3||Blumenthal, James A.; et al. “Effects of Exercise Training on Older Patients With Major Depression.” JAMA Internal Medicine. 25 October 1999. Accessed 21 August 2017. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/485159.|
I am writing this letter to you because I want the world to get more attention about the correct use of anti-depression pills.
Today’s situation is Primary health care doctor can prescribe anti depression pills and they prescribe widely to people who do not necessarily need to use anti depression pills. If the side effect of anti -depression pills are mild, then I will not have this argument today. But the side effect of anti -depression pills are making people who did not have depression become depressed and want to hurt and kill themselves (of course the same apply for the people who are really with depression). I do not mean that no one should use anti depression pills in whatever situation, If mental specialist confirmed the patient must use anti depression pills, then they probably should. I am only referring to those innocent people who have not diagnosed by psychiatrist and have been prescribed with anti- depression pills by the primary health care doctors from their first visit to health care center. And these people become victims of side effects of anti-depression pills because the side effects of anti- depression pills destroy their normal life and some eventually take their lives under the negative influence of the medicine. When the tragedy happens, can you imagine how heavy is the pain and sorrow of the family, the relatives and the friends?
I have just lost my friend, and I cannot compare my sorrow and pain with her parents due to this tragedy. And I give my bold statement here: the murder is anti- depression pills. As her friend, I can guarantee If she was not under the effect of the medicine, she could never have committed suicide. She was a very confident and positive girl, unfortunately when she visited the health center for her headache and sleeping problem about ten years ago, the health care doctor prescribed anti depression pills to her. She had no knowledge about the side effects of the medicine, later on when she got the symptoms which caused by the side effects of the medicine, like mood changes, out of control, insomnia and headache, she just believed that she had depression and she needed medicine and when the situation became worse , she thought she needed even stronger medicine… …
Most of us intend to trust the doctors and we rely on doctors to save us from all kinds of problems we have. This is how the tragedy starts. Firstly, people do not know the side effects of anti-depression pills (the health care doctor do not give the information neither). Secondly, they do not know that health care doctor prescribes anti depression pills to them even they do not have depression. So, when you are prescribed with anti-depression pills, you thought you are having depression. And when you have got those side effects of the medicine while taking them, especially when you want to hurt and kill yourself, you really believe that you are having depression! You need more pills and more stronger pills… … and stronger pills, stronger side effects, eventually you kill yourself against your personal willing… …. Because of the misunderstanding that if the health care doctor prescribed anti depression pills to you so you are sick and you are having depression, when you killed yourself, people just say: oh, that guy, he killed himself because he was having depression. And no one has ever possible know that this is almost like a planned murder from the very beginning!
Please let us think about it! How can we let primary health care doctor decide if we should use anti-depression pills or not? Should we consult the phycologist and mental specialist first? No one has realized the critical issue in the system because we are just naive and without medical knowledge!
We are human being and we have ability to cope with some difficult times in our life. Before we take the pills from the primary health doctor, have we visited phycologist and mental specialist? have we tried to examine our life habits: are they healthy or not? Do we know that pills weaken our body and our mental defense system and make us become more vulnerable? Just like in the scientific movie, the robot eventually take control over human beings, do we want to hand in our life to the anti-depression pills?