So patient #1 goes to a doctor and says “I can’t smell things, flowers and food have no pleasure for me”. The doctor notices he has a broken nose that never healed right. The doctor sends him to to a plastic surgeon for Rhinoplasty to fix the problem.
Patient #2 goes to a therapist and says “I feel so alone, there is no pleasure in my life. I just don’t get along with people well.”. He is prescribed multiple Antidepressants while the doctor tries to find the right one to make the patient feel happy.
Patient #1 Really DOES have a broken nose, and a damaged sense of smell. Patient #2 Has limited social skills and needs more human contact in their life. Why is patient #2 not diagnosed correctly much less treated properly?
Opinions differ, but for me it’s a combination of several things.
#1 The drug companies are pushers. They shove new drugs onto the market looking for a band-aid simple cure, and the mental health community is happy to use it.
#2 Society doesn’t like to help people with mental or social problems. We laugh at them on TV, we avoid them in public, but they’re people too, who need help. Help that people are unwilling to give.
Dr. Des Spence, a general practitioner from Glasgow, said that “”we use antidepressants too easily, for too long, and that they are effective for few people (if at all).” Though he acknowledges that depression is real, he argued that the definition of clinical depression is too general and is “causing widespread medicalization.”
Spence also points out that antidepressant prescriptions in the U.K. rose to 46 million in 2011, a 9.6% increase. He questions the view that depression is a simply chemical imbalance, and believes antidepressants are becoming “a distraction from a wider debate about why we are so unhappy as a society.”
“But even if we accept that antidepressants are effective, a Cochrane review suggests that only one in seven people actually benefits,” said Spence. “Thus millions of people are enduring at least six months of ineffective treatment.”
We’re broadening the diagnosis, treating the symptoms and ignoring the causes.
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