Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Overmedication of Depressed Individuals

It is a common method of treating symptoms in the 21st century: you walk into the doctor's office, you describe your symptoms to the nurse, the doctor comes in and reads a sheet of paper then asks you a couple of cursory questions before writing a prescription and telling you to "have a nice day". Most individuals spend more time in the waiting room than they actually spend with their physician. The trend in the United States and in the United Kingdom seems to be to simply medicate patients without fully diagnosing their sumptoms, much less finding the root cause..

Combating Depression

Depression is one of those dysfunctions which can present with a wide variety of symptoms that may or may not be related. These can range from feelings of sadness, changes in sleep patterns, weight changes, lack of energy, cognitive function impairment, to a wide variety of other issues. According to Dr. Jennifer Wild, a senior instructor at the Institute of Psychiatry, despite a large increase in cognitive behavior therapy - otherwise known as CBT - doctors are still advocating the use drugs on their patients. Wild argues that doctors need to have a better understanding of the psychological therapies available and should be offering such therapies to individuals in lieu of medications which simply mask the dysfunctions. Her findings were posted on the BBC's website.

Using Therapy, not Drugs

According to Dr. Wild, "People with depression often get better when they change the way they think. Since with therapy it is more likely to achieve this with longer lasting results than drugs, doctors need to stop pushing pills and start pushing treatments that work."

The problem with many clinicians is that they have been taught over the years to simply provide medication to aiding masking or alleviating the symptoms and that is exactly what antidepressants do: make a person feel better. They do not solve the underlying symptoms, nor do they treat the problem that is causing the depression in the first place. When doctors simply prescribe a pill, they are only enabling a temporary solution.

Professor Robert DeRubeis at the University of Pennsylvania took a team of researchers and looked at CBT as a way of treating depression. They found that individuals who received such treatment as compared with medications showed significant long-term recovery through retraining the patient's thought patterns.

In 2008, the UK Government introduced an initiative called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, or IAPT, which is effectively halting the automatic prescription of pills and expanding the availability of psychological treatments that are effective in treating the symptoms. Prior to the initiative, most doctors in the UK offered 80 percent of patients' drugs and only 20 percent were offered therapy. Now, 115 out of 154 of England's primary care trusts now offer IAPT service.

If one suffers from a disease or dysfunction, a doctor should first and foremost focus upon finding an answer that addresses all the symptoms, as opposed to masking the symptoms through pills. There is simply no substitute for a carefully considered diagnosis..

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