Friday, December 28, 2012

Antidepressants to Treat Grief: Soma for the Soul is a Lie

  
Antidepressants to treat grief? Psychiatry panelists with ties to drug industry say yes By , Published: December 26 http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/antidepressants-to-treat-grief-psychiatry-panelists-with-ties-to-drug-industry-say-yes/2012/12/26/ca09cde6-3d60-11e2-ae43-cf491b837f7b_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines

[Excerpted] In what some prominent critics have called a bonanza for the drug companies, the American Psychiatric Association this month voted to drop the old warning against diagnosing depression in the bereaved, opening the way for more of them to be diagnosed with major depression — and thus, treated with antidepressants.

The change in the handbook, which could have significant financial implications for the $10 billion U.S. antidepressant market, was developed in large part by people affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry, an examination of financial disclosures shows.

The association itself depends in part on industry funding, and the majority of experts on the committee that drafted the new diagnostic guideline have either received research grants from the drug companies, held stock in them, or served them as speakers or consultants.....

Majia here: The idea that we should routinely treat grief with drugs for profits is symptomatic of an ill society.

Have you ever tried anti-depressants?  I tried an older generation anti-depressant once to see if it would help my migraines. It didn't make me happier. It was numbing. I stopped taking the drug quickly (after a couple of months) because it failed to improve my migraine symptoms and I hated the numbness.

The SSRIs don't make people happier. They can help combat anxiety, but they don't in fact make people actually feel merrier.

Anxiety is a corrosive state and I believe that SSRIs may be helpful in managing it when other lifestyle interventions fail.

But too many doctors are willing to use anti-depressants as a first line of defense against any unwanted or uncomfortable emotions.

Years ago I had a student from Sierra Leone suffering grief and anxiety because her family was trapped in the the civil war there. Her American husband insisted she go to the doctor and the doc's first response was to recommend strongly a SSRI anti-depressant. She resisted, telling the class that her problem was the state of her family, not the state of her serotonin brain chemical.

Perhaps my feelings would be different if anti-depressants were the perfect Soma, successful in actually managing sadness and distress.

However, I've known too many people who've had very unpleasant "side-effects," including substantial weight gain and wrenching anxiety. Doctors typically prescribe anti-anxiety pills with anti-depressants because anxiety can be aggravated by the SSRIs, even when they are being prescribed to "treat" anxiety. I know that sounds strange but if you talk to people who've tried the SSRIs you will find I'm correct. SSRIs can reduce anxiety, but they can also increase it.

Anti-depressants may be helpful in some cases, but should be used as a last line of defense for deeply troubled individuals in conjunction with lifestyle changes and counseling.

The idea that anti-depressants serve as effective soma for the soul is a lie founded in the idea that technology can solve all of our problems.
   

  

    

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