Author Topic: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?  (Read 12744 times)

TheWifeHalf

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #50 on: February 12, 2018, 08:54:05 PM »
My 'takes antidepressant for 30 years' story:

I was 26 when our first son was born. I had a couple of 'seeing things' instances, but I'm level headed enough to know they couldn't be real. I was happy. I stopped working and put myself 90% into being a mom.
2 yrs later our daughter was born, I was super happy, our family was complete.
3 mos later I found out I was pregnant again.  I really wanted to name the baby with Oops as his middle name.
I was not sleeping. It would take me 3 hours to fall asleep, then wake up for baby. Another 3 hours to get to sleep. Then, it's morning, time to be a mom.
Somehow, I did this. I was never depressed, just couldn't sleep. Then, when youngest was 10 days old, I felt someone in my head was pounding a hammer on the right side of my head, from the inside. My blood pressure was high. My dr put me in the hospital, I was there for 5 days. He did a bunch of tests, mostly to rule stuff out, and put me on an antidepressant. I don't remember which one, I still had the hammer pounding. It got a little better with the med, but was still there. My blood pressure still high. Then the dr switched me to Amitriptyline (generic for Elavil). I was prescribed 50 mg, which worked for years, and am now on 75 mg, an hour before bed. If I remember right, this is a low dose. When I saw him 3 week later, he said he could tell when I walked in, that this was the right med.

This is what I remember from 30 yr old research:
Some of the side effects I like - it acts as antihistamine (yay, seasonal allergies gone), my sister works in pain management and there have been a few times when that has been true for me. I remember it said it can make one crave sweets so I still have to work really hard at avoiding them because I craved sweets before I took the med.

"Amitriptyline acts primarily as a serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), with strong actions on the serotonin transporter (SERT) and moderate effects on the norepinephrine transporter (NET" 
I copied that from the internet and I remember all that is important in falling asleep. I don't remember the details, but I did quite a bit of research years ago.

I think it turns my brain off when I try to sleep, my brain just never turned off. Ever.

Funny to me:
I had a traumatic brain injury 10 years ago and the oops son told me he notices I'm a lot more easy going than I was before the accident. I think I also got a mild case of ADD that day too.
I think about my brain a lot, the whole thing is interesting. Like I said earlier, I'm so glad it is not included on the list of antidepressants associated with bone thinning. After the accident I remember I was put on another, but I started grinding my teeth at night (did that as a teen) so my dr went back to the Amitriptyline, I guess it's a really old drug and has some tolerance problems, but I have never had any problems.

One thing I found out this year, it's no longer made in the US, so it's now about $29.00/mo. I started out paying $2 /mo and it gradually went up

Like I said, I was never depressed, in fact, I'm basically an optimistic person.

Just remembered another thing I learned over the course of all this happening:
I think it had something to do with my hormones too.  I breastfed my first 2 kids, but not the third at all, so maybe my body went through a kind of shock. For years, I would get 1 head bang and knew that my period was going to start within 12 hours.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 09:04:51 PM by TheWifeHalf »

Cressida

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #51 on: February 12, 2018, 11:46:27 PM »
I'm curious if there is any percentage below 13% that the skeptics here would accept.

Johnez

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2018, 12:15:57 AM »
The answer to the thread is simple. People are fcking depressed. It's pretty irritating when people who have no idea what is going on spout off about the bullshit big pharma is pushing. Ok, let's go back to ECT and lobotomies, or worse-old school insane asylums.

My pregnant SO has been battling depression and anxiety on and off for about half her life. It got to the point where I had to put away sharp objects and she begged to be taken to the hospital. Thank fcking goodness things have picked up a bit. Therapy and Zoloft have helped.

I don't know what else to say, but maybe I'll be back to share more.

gooki

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2018, 01:56:20 AM »
Let's do some fuzzy maths.

13% on anti depressents.

Let's assume:

1% is for cronic pain.

4% is for people who live with depression and anxiety on a daily basis.

8% is for people dealing with a specific issue.

On average this 8% uses anti depressents for one year, every five years.

Put it all together and we have 8 * 4 + 4 = 44% of America s suffering from depression/anexoety/mental illness.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2018, 02:02:02 AM »
EVERYONE in my town is on antidepressants. City-flattening quake 7 years ago. It takes a looooong time to deal with the outcomes, even the actual broken buildings1

gooki

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2018, 02:07:00 AM »
These numbers seem fairly aligned with other stats:

Quote
Every year, about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness...

18.2% - 13% leaves 5% experiencing mental illness without consuming anti depressents.

What might be a reflection of social differences is how these numbers compare to the rest of the world.

Quote
One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

25% vs an assumed 44% is a significant difference.

pigpen

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #56 on: February 13, 2018, 06:18:43 AM »
The answer to the thread is simple. People are fcking depressed. It's pretty irritating when people who have no idea what is going on spout off about the bullshit big pharma is pushing. Ok, let's go back to ECT and lobotomies, or worse-old school insane asylums.

My pregnant SO has been battling depression and anxiety on and off for about half her life. It got to the point where I had to put away sharp objects and she begged to be taken to the hospital. Thank fcking goodness things have picked up a bit. Therapy and Zoloft have helped.

I don't know what else to say, but maybe I'll be back to share more.

Agreed. As much as I enjoy these forums in general -- including some of the face-punching when people ask for it specifically -- I get tired of the arrogance and complete lack of empathy that some people display. As someone pointed out above, there's no need for a question to have only one answer -- e.g., either it's big pharma duping people who feel sad because they can't live like the people in the Lexus commercials OR it's because 100% of the people who take anti-depressants absolutely need them. Can't it be both?

Posts that imply that the majority of people who take anti-depressants are just looking for an easy fix for something just don't display much intellectual curiosity or knowledge of the subject. And they lack any sort of basic compassion for other humans who, like everyone, are imperfect in 1000 different ways.


Fireball

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #57 on: February 13, 2018, 06:45:02 AM »
Not to go all holistic on everyone here . . . but that 30% of people with high blood pressure might be better off exercising more rather than taking medication.  If there are structural, societal reasons why they don't feel that they can spend the time exercising that might suggest a problem to be solved unrelated to the availability (or even quality of) medication.

I can absolutely agree with that, but high blood pressure is also genetic unfortunately.  I run 60 miles a week and have a resting heart rate of 39 beats per minute, yet I still have high blood pressure and have since my 20's. Diet and exercise didn't help mine at all. Which sucks, because I don't want to take a pill for the next 50 years.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 07:06:13 AM by Fireball »

Fireball

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #58 on: February 13, 2018, 06:56:28 AM »
The thing is - a lot of people aren't depressed because their life sucks.  They sought treatment because they experience overwhelming depression or anxiety DESPITE their life NOT sucking.  It's the doctor's job to determine whether their condition is chemical or situational. 

I have a great life.  MOST of the time I'm happy or at least content.  Every now and then I have a crippling anxiety episode that renders me unable to function normally for days at a time.  It comes out of nowhere, and to the best of my knowledge isn't triggered by any specific thing. 

Why haven't I sought treatment?  Because most of the time I feel normal.  Unless I'm in the middle of an episode (where I'm functionally unable to make an appointment anyway), I feel perfectly fine.  I guess I've always felt stupid and ashamed to make an appointment to talk to my doctor about "something that sometimes happens, but isn't happening right now."

After enough pushing from friends and acquaintances that this is a thing that doctors are used to dealing with, that I'm not going to be labeled a fraud or a freak, I've decided to take that step and consult with my GP about whether a psychiatrist referral, and potentially medication, would be the right step.

Thanks Netskyblue and others for sharing your stories about anxiety. Just in the last year I've started having the occasional anxiety and panic attack and I'm not sure why.  From what I can tell so far, excessive caffeine can help to bring it on, but dropping caffeine all together doesn't stop it all together. I'm going to see how it goes for a while longer and then go the the Doc if I can't resolve it on my own. Just for the record, my life is fantastic! I've always been very content with my life and I can easily recognize how blessed I am. I think something in my body has changed chemically, but I'm obviously not an expert.

PoutineLover

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #59 on: February 13, 2018, 08:17:45 AM »
Just want to add in that the stigma about taking drugs expressed here is dangerous to people who actually have mental illness and need those medications to function. A close family member of mine is on medication for bipolar, and was so resistant to the idea even though it was badly needed. After many years of stability, decided to go off the meds, and experienced another manic episode, which resulted in another month in the hospital. The stigma also helped end their marriage, since the other spouse didn't really believe the diagnosis and treatment. If we treated illness of the brain like any other organ, none of that needed to happen.
Don't shame people for taking drugs they actually need. I think we have to assume that most people on anti depressants are on them for a reason and under the supervision of a doctor, and I bet even more people would actually benefit from them. Mental illness is treatable now, when it never used to be. We can't go idealizing the good old days when people just cheered themselves up and put on a smile to cure their depression.

GuitarStv

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #60 on: February 13, 2018, 08:27:47 AM »
Not to go all holistic on everyone here . . . but that 30% of people with high blood pressure might be better off exercising more rather than taking medication.  If there are structural, societal reasons why they don't feel that they can spend the time exercising that might suggest a problem to be solved unrelated to the availability (or even quality of) medication.

I can absolutely agree with that, but high blood pressure is also genetic unfortunately.  I run 60 miles a week and have a resting heart rate of 39 beats per minute, yet I still have high blood pressure and have since my 20's. Diet and exercise didn't help mine at all. Which sucks, because I don't want to take a pill for the next 50 years.

Sure, there's certainly a need for medications.  My point was simply that we are sometimes too quick to jump to using them, and I suspect that this acceptance of medications is because it's often easier to pop a pill than look at structural societal issues that prevent people from living healthy lives.

netskyblue

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #61 on: February 13, 2018, 08:55:48 AM »
Not to go all holistic on everyone here . . . but that 30% of people with high blood pressure might be better off exercising more rather than taking medication.  If there are structural, societal reasons why they don't feel that they can spend the time exercising that might suggest a problem to be solved unrelated to the availability (or even quality of) medication.

I can absolutely agree with that, but high blood pressure is also genetic unfortunately.  I run 60 miles a week and have a resting heart rate of 39 beats per minute, yet I still have high blood pressure and have since my 20's. Diet and exercise didn't help mine at all. Which sucks, because I don't want to take a pill for the next 50 years.

Sure, there's certainly a need for medications.  My point was simply that we are sometimes too quick to jump to using them, and I suspect that this acceptance of medications is because it's often easier to pop a pill than look at structural societal issues that prevent people from living healthy lives.

"Too quick to jump to using them" seems more like a judgement to me than a real fact.  Most of the people I know who are on anti depression or anti anxiety medication suffered for *years* before considering getting medication, and only did so after it became so bad that it outweighed all other concerns.  In fact, "I should have done this sooner" is the most common thing I've heard, after they've found something that works for them.

A friend who is bipolar just recently went through a rough ordeal of switching meds to find something that would work better, and he still says it was worth it, because his condition unmedicated is impossible to manage.  Attempted suicide, involuntary psych holds, all that.  He'd literally be dead if not for his medication.

Beard N Bones

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #62 on: February 13, 2018, 09:04:31 AM »
Just want to add in that the stigma about taking drugs expressed here is dangerous to people who actually have mental illness and need those medications to function. A close family member of mine is on medication for bipolar, and was so resistant to the idea even though it was badly needed. After many years of stability, decided to go off the meds, and experienced another manic episode, which resulted in another month in the hospital. The stigma also helped end their marriage, since the other spouse didn't really believe the diagnosis and treatment. If we treated illness of the brain like any other organ, none of that needed to happen.
Don't shame people for taking drugs they actually need. I think we have to assume that most people on anti depressants are on them for a reason and under the supervision of a doctor, and I bet even more people would actually benefit from them. Mental illness is treatable now, when it never used to be. We can't go idealizing the good old days when people just cheered themselves up and put on a smile to cure their depression.

My contention with this line of thought - a person's body and brain is most often NOT unhealthy because it is lacking a specific medication.  In other words, the root of your friend's condition/problem is not due to lack of Prozac her body is producing. 

Medication is a treatment. 
It does not fix the problem. 
Medication is only a tool to help manage symptoms.

Absolutely there are people that are unhealthy because their body is lacking a specific hormone, or regulatory function, or they have a problem that means they don't have a "normal" homeostasis (for example: pituitary tumor).  And these people truly NEED that hormone (or specific treatment) because it gets to dealing with the root of the problem.  But I would suggest that this is quite rare.  Certainly less than 1% of the population. 

GuitarStv certainly is on the right track.  Could it be that a person should focus on what needs to be done to prevent depression/anxiety as a way to best decrease the amount of anti-depressants prescribed, rather than try to treat the symptoms that clinical depression brings? 

Aggie1999

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #63 on: February 13, 2018, 09:05:04 AM »
Because American life is amazingly easy compared to the past. 100 years ago most people had to work hard in order to eat. Didn't have time or the energy to be depressed. Same reason pain medication usage is out of control today. Flame away...

GuitarStv

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #64 on: February 13, 2018, 09:08:51 AM »
Not to go all holistic on everyone here . . . but that 30% of people with high blood pressure might be better off exercising more rather than taking medication.  If there are structural, societal reasons why they don't feel that they can spend the time exercising that might suggest a problem to be solved unrelated to the availability (or even quality of) medication.

I can absolutely agree with that, but high blood pressure is also genetic unfortunately.  I run 60 miles a week and have a resting heart rate of 39 beats per minute, yet I still have high blood pressure and have since my 20's. Diet and exercise didn't help mine at all. Which sucks, because I don't want to take a pill for the next 50 years.

Sure, there's certainly a need for medications.  My point was simply that we are sometimes too quick to jump to using them, and I suspect that this acceptance of medications is because it's often easier to pop a pill than look at structural societal issues that prevent people from living healthy lives.

"Too quick to jump to using them" seems more like a judgement to me than a real fact.  Most of the people I know who are on anti depression or anti anxiety medication suffered for *years* before considering getting medication, and only did so after it became so bad that it outweighed all other concerns.  In fact, "I should have done this sooner" is the most common thing I've heard, after they've found something that works for them.

A friend who is bipolar just recently went through a rough ordeal of switching meds to find something that would work better, and he still says it was worth it, because his condition unmedicated is impossible to manage.  Attempted suicide, involuntary psych holds, all that.  He'd literally be dead if not for his medication.

Obviously, if you're suffering and in immediate need then medication is the way to go.  That's actually the ideal use case scenario.

I was specifically thinking about medication for heart disease/high blood pressure . . . something often taken by people who smoke, do not eat clean diets, and do not seriously attempt to exercise.  100 years ago life was harder, but there tended to be more physical activity through work.  People ate different food when heavily processed junk was not as readily available in every gas station, convenience store, vending machine, and cafeteria.

Adam Zapple

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #65 on: February 13, 2018, 09:30:33 AM »
My purpose in starting this thread was not to attack those taking anti-depressants, but to open a discussion regarding mental health in America today. 

I recently read "Tribe" by Sebastian Junger.  While I didn't agree with Junger's premises completely, I found "Tribe" to be a great read and very thought provoking.  The author describes the book as follows:  "It's about why — for many people — war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Humans don't mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary."

Junger gives historical examples of why many people in tribal societies are happier than in modern societies, regardless of the fact that their lives are more difficult.  He also discusses how natural disasters, acts of war, etc bring people together and can actually have a positive effect on people's moods (for example, overall rates of depression dropped in NYC following the 9/11 attacks).  I think many of us lack a sense of purpose and feel we don't belong to anything meaningful.  This may contribute to depression rates.

wenchsenior

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #66 on: February 13, 2018, 09:40:08 AM »
Just want to add in that the stigma about taking drugs expressed here is dangerous to people who actually have mental illness and need those medications to function. A close family member of mine is on medication for bipolar, and was so resistant to the idea even though it was badly needed. After many years of stability, decided to go off the meds, and experienced another manic episode, which resulted in another month in the hospital. The stigma also helped end their marriage, since the other spouse didn't really believe the diagnosis and treatment. If we treated illness of the brain like any other organ, none of that needed to happen.
Don't shame people for taking drugs they actually need. I think we have to assume that most people on anti depressants are on them for a reason and under the supervision of a doctor, and I bet even more people would actually benefit from them. Mental illness is treatable now, when it never used to be. We can't go idealizing the good old days when people just cheered themselves up and put on a smile to cure their depression.

My contention with this line of thought - a person's body and brain is most often NOT unhealthy because it is lacking a specific medication.  In other words, the root of your friend's condition/problem is not due to lack of Prozac her body is producing. 

Medication is a treatment. 
It does not fix the problem. 
Medication is only a tool to help manage symptoms.

Absolutely there are people that are unhealthy because their body is lacking a specific hormone, or regulatory function, or they have a problem that means they don't have a "normal" homeostasis (for example: pituitary tumor).  And these people truly NEED that hormone (or specific treatment) because it gets to dealing with the root of the problem.  But I would suggest that this is quite rare.  Certainly less than 1% of the population. 

GuitarStv certainly is on the right track.  Could it be that a person should focus on what needs to be done to prevent depression/anxiety as a way to best decrease the amount of anti-depressants prescribed, rather than try to treat the symptoms that clinical depression brings?


Certainly FAR MORE than 1% of the population.  I have both an endocrine/hormonal disorder (of which depression is a common side effect due to hormonal imbalance) and that disorder ALONE affects up to 20% of women, ~10% being the standard reported figure when the defining criteria are considered more narrowly.

I also, coincidentally, have a pituitary tumor (benign, but affects other hormone levels) shared by approximately 15% of the population.

Add in other depression-influencing hormonal-affecting diseases like diabetes, and you have far more than 1% of the population at risk for depression due to abnormal hormonal levels.

PoutineLover

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #67 on: February 13, 2018, 09:40:15 AM »
Just want to add in that the stigma about taking drugs expressed here is dangerous to people who actually have mental illness and need those medications to function. A close family member of mine is on medication for bipolar, and was so resistant to the idea even though it was badly needed. After many years of stability, decided to go off the meds, and experienced another manic episode, which resulted in another month in the hospital. The stigma also helped end their marriage, since the other spouse didn't really believe the diagnosis and treatment. If we treated illness of the brain like any other organ, none of that needed to happen.
Don't shame people for taking drugs they actually need. I think we have to assume that most people on anti depressants are on them for a reason and under the supervision of a doctor, and I bet even more people would actually benefit from them. Mental illness is treatable now, when it never used to be. We can't go idealizing the good old days when people just cheered themselves up and put on a smile to cure their depression.

My contention with this line of thought - a person's body and brain is most often NOT unhealthy because it is lacking a specific medication.  In other words, the root of your friend's condition/problem is not due to lack of Prozac her body is producing. 

Medication is a treatment. 
It does not fix the problem. 
Medication is only a tool to help manage symptoms.

Absolutely there are people that are unhealthy because their body is lacking a specific hormone, or regulatory function, or they have a problem that means they don't have a "normal" homeostasis (for example: pituitary tumor).  And these people truly NEED that hormone (or specific treatment) because it gets to dealing with the root of the problem.  But I would suggest that this is quite rare.  Certainly less than 1% of the population. 

GuitarStv certainly is on the right track.  Could it be that a person should focus on what needs to be done to prevent depression/anxiety as a way to best decrease the amount of anti-depressants prescribed, rather than try to treat the symptoms that clinical depression brings? 
Is this based on anything or just your feeling?
Many people's brains don't function optimally, and medication helps them function better. If you know someone with bipolar, you know that not being medicated can lead to some pretty horrible outcomes, like psychosis, suicide, irrational behaviours, etc. Medication absolutely helps, and it doesn't matter if it's a treatment not a cure, it allows that person to function properly and live a good life. For some people changing their diet or lifestyle helps too, but that's not a panacea. I don't think there's anything that can prevent or get rid of bipolar disorder, but luckily modern medicine has advanced to the point that we can treat and control it enough to let people live more comfortably, and that's a huge win that we should definitely be using as much as necessary.

Lance Burkhart

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #68 on: February 13, 2018, 09:41:42 AM »
Aside from those with chemical imbalances...
The "chemical imbalance" theory of depression is actually increasingly controversial in the scientific community due to limited support for it and doesn't capture the actual complexity of depression. It's one of those tropes that needs to die since it implies too many things (e.g., we might develop a blood test for depression, medication is all you need for treatment, etc.) and propagates a faulty understanding of depression at best.

That was basically the gist of the link I posted above.  Chemical imbalances do not cause depression.  Anti-depressants are not more effective than a placebo and their effect is 2.5x less effective than needed to cure depression.  THere is no such thing as an anti-depressant medication.  What happens when you take them is you believe they work and belief is relief.  However, it's not enough relief in most cases.  There are a lot of drawbacks to these medications such as increasingly suicidality amongst young people, sexual side-effects, and others (insomnia).  The doctors and drug companies put a lot of faith in these drugs and the science doesn't support their continued use. 
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/irving-kirsch-phd/antidepressants-the-emper_b_442205.html



Beard N Bones

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #69 on: February 13, 2018, 10:00:23 AM »
Just want to add in that the stigma about taking drugs expressed here is dangerous to people who actually have mental illness and need those medications to function. A close family member of mine is on medication for bipolar, and was so resistant to the idea even though it was badly needed. After many years of stability, decided to go off the meds, and experienced another manic episode, which resulted in another month in the hospital. The stigma also helped end their marriage, since the other spouse didn't really believe the diagnosis and treatment. If we treated illness of the brain like any other organ, none of that needed to happen.
Don't shame people for taking drugs they actually need. I think we have to assume that most people on anti depressants are on them for a reason and under the supervision of a doctor, and I bet even more people would actually benefit from them. Mental illness is treatable now, when it never used to be. We can't go idealizing the good old days when people just cheered themselves up and put on a smile to cure their depression.

My contention with this line of thought - a person's body and brain is most often NOT unhealthy because it is lacking a specific medication.  In other words, the root of your friend's condition/problem is not due to lack of Prozac her body is producing. 

Medication is a treatment. 
It does not fix the problem. 
Medication is only a tool to help manage symptoms.

Absolutely there are people that are unhealthy because their body is lacking a specific hormone, or regulatory function, or they have a problem that means they don't have a "normal" homeostasis (for example: pituitary tumor).  And these people truly NEED that hormone (or specific treatment) because it gets to dealing with the root of the problem.  But I would suggest that this is quite rare.  Certainly less than 1% of the population. 

GuitarStv certainly is on the right track.  Could it be that a person should focus on what needs to be done to prevent depression/anxiety as a way to best decrease the amount of anti-depressants prescribed, rather than try to treat the symptoms that clinical depression brings? 
Is this based on anything or just your feeling?
Many people's brains don't function optimally, and medication helps them function better. If you know someone with bipolar, you know that not being medicated can lead to some pretty horrible outcomes, like psychosis, suicide, irrational behaviours, etc. Medication absolutely helps, and it doesn't matter if it's a treatment not a cure, it allows that person to function properly and live a good life. For some people changing their diet or lifestyle helps too, but that's not a panacea. I don't think there's anything that can prevent or get rid of bipolar disorder, but luckily modern medicine has advanced to the point that we can treat and control it enough to let people live more comfortably, and that's a huge win that we should definitely be using as much as necessary.

Its based on pharmacology.  Does a person take sertraline (aka Zoloft) because their body is not producing enough sertraline?  No.
Why is this medication given?  Because it inhibits the uptake of serotonin in the brain.  Increased serotonin levels in the brain = happy happy happy!
Is the lack of serotonin responsible for most cases of depression and anxiety?  Good question.  Maybe?
If it is, why are people's serotonin levels low?  Very hard question to answer.  Good luck with double blind scientific studies.  Hormones, and the brain, are not as simple as 1 + 1 = 2.  There are too many factors to take into account when looking at the hormonal and neurological systems and doing scientific studies on them.

Please note that I am not suggesting that a person shouldn't use anti-depressants as a tool.  But lets acknowledge that the anti-depressants are NOT dealing with the root of the problem.

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #70 on: February 13, 2018, 10:01:25 AM »
I am not surprised the percentage isn't higher.   They is a major shift in Chronic pain management to get people off of opiates prescriptions.  Part of this shift is to change meds to anti depressants and anti convalescents.  These are used to treat migraines, fibromyalgia, small nerve nephropathy and other debilitating chronic pain conditions. Often they don't work very well due to the general lack of understanding of our neurological systems.  In many ways we are still in the dark ages in terms of medical research  and the cultural stigma to mental illness and chronic pain sufferers doesn't help.

If the underlying cause of these symptoms is genetic there is only so much you can do with lifestyle changes. Anyone with a connective tissue disorder like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, knows how much conventional medical advice doesn't work for them and much of it is down right harmful.  In my years of trying to find help with my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome I have come to learn there is no one size all advice, treatments, or lifestyle choices that work for everyone.   
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 11:01:57 AM by PKate »

mrmiyagi

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #71 on: February 13, 2018, 10:03:19 AM »
Because American life is amazingly easy compared to the past. 100 years ago most people had to work hard in order to eat. Didn't have time or the energy to be depressed. Same reason pain medication usage is out of control today. Flame away...

This is a laughably awful take. Let's look at one of hardest working groups of people I can think of - medical residents. Most work 60+ hours / week, some 80 hours / week or even more. No time or energy to be depressed right?

Prevalence of depressive symptoms in medical residents is 29%.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4866499/

GuitarStv

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #72 on: February 13, 2018, 10:38:09 AM »
This is a laughably awful take. Let's look at one of hardest working groups of people I can think of - medical residents. Most work 60+ hours / week, some 80 hours / week or even more. No time or energy to be depressed right?

Prevalence of depressive symptoms in medical residents is 29%.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4866499/
Also a group of people that are regularly exposed to dying or need need give unfortunate news to patients and next of kin without having had time to develop coping mechanism. I'm actually surprised that the figures aren't higher and it may be that some are too tired to actually reflect upon things.

My point being, don't cherry pick your examples.

I think that his point still stands . . . namely that working long hours is not protective for depression.

https://www.cnn.com/2012/01/25/health/working-overtime-doubles-depression/index.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3095591/

dougules

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #73 on: February 13, 2018, 10:47:18 AM »
13% seems actually pretty reasonable. My guess is that the depression rates are a lot higher and a lot of people are unmedicated.

As for why so many people are depressed, well, i see a lot of reasons in this thread suggesting that the rates are worse now, but I seriously doubt people are more depressed now on average than they were in the 50s, 30s, 1800s, whatever.

And no, I’m not a practicing psychiatrist. I’m just an ex neuroscientist with a degree in psychology who happens to have lived with a psychologist for several years. Oh, and I’ve been in therapy on and off for decades, but I think everyone needs therapy.

I doubt there are many other people posting here that have anywhere close to that qualified.

It seems like a lot of people here either don't know how to appreciate their good mental health or don't realize how much they could use help. 

mrmiyagi

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #74 on: February 13, 2018, 10:51:48 AM »
This is a laughably awful take. Let's look at one of hardest working groups of people I can think of - medical residents. Most work 60+ hours / week, some 80 hours / week or even more. No time or energy to be depressed right?

Prevalence of depressive symptoms in medical residents is 29%.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4866499/
Also a group of people that are regularly exposed to dying or need need give unfortunate news to patients and next of kin without having had time to develop coping mechanism. I'm actually surprised that the figures aren't higher and it may be that some are too tired to actually reflect upon things.

My point being, don't cherry pick your examples.

I chose medical residency because I lived it. I also agree the real number is probably higher than 29%. I had pretty mild issues, mostly just when I had to work a long stretch of nights. I never medicated or talked to anyone about it, and if surveyed about it I probably would have answered no.

But the excellent links provided by GuitarStv show the issue is not isolated to medical residents. The "too busy to be depressed" BS spouted by the guy I replied to is not only completely wrong, that mindset is a real detriment to meaningful change.

Malkynn

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #75 on: February 13, 2018, 11:12:52 AM »
I doubt there are many other people posting here that have anywhere close to that qualified.

It seems like a lot of people here either don't know how to appreciate their good mental health or don't realize how much they could use help.

A good therapist is worth their weight in gold.
I think most people could use therapy, but I think it should be mandatory for medical professionals. We have rampant suicide, depression and addiction rates. [even those of us who don’t deal with any death or serious disease]

I’m not at all depressed, I’m known for being pretty happy and chill, but that’s partly because my therapist helps keep me sane. She’s a ball-buster, but she’s brilliant.

PKate

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #76 on: February 13, 2018, 11:22:02 AM »
 
[/quote]

A good therapist is worth their weight in gold.
I think most people could use therapy, but I think it should be mandatory for medical professionals. We have rampant suicide, depression and addiction rates. [even those of us who don’t deal with any death or serious disease]

I’m not at all depressed, I’m known for being pretty happy and chill, but that’s partly because my therapist helps keep me sane. She’s a ball-buster, but she’s brilliant.
[/quote]

The hard part of going to a therapist is find a good one.  I had some dreadful experiences decades ago trying to find a good therapist and gave up.  I do know a good life couch/ therapist that helps me get back on track when I feel overwhelmed but I am lucky that I found something that works for me. 

mrmiyagi

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #77 on: February 13, 2018, 11:40:22 AM »
Sure but my point still stands about cherry picking your examples. You can't take a very unique population that deals with "depressing topics" on a regular basis and try to make broad population claims using it. Case and point, all of the PhD students (and holders) I've known over the years have had at least one MDE while in school. In fact everyone (including myself) seems to have a major crash (i.e., MDE) after our comprehensive examinations and in my department we even plan for it to happen. However, knowing that doesn't tell me much about the broader population. Even if I look at the combined population of professional degree holders I still can't say anything because it's not a statistically significant sample.

The Virtanen et al. article is actually a much better example to use since they have a sample more reflective of the general population.

So you didn't like my initial example. Cool. Here is the point as stated more succinctly by GuitarStv:

"Working longer hours is not protective for depression"

Yes or no, do you agree with this point?

zoltani

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #78 on: February 13, 2018, 11:48:30 AM »
My purpose in starting this thread was not to attack those taking anti-depressants, but to open a discussion regarding mental health in America today. 

I recently read "Tribe" by Sebastian Junger.  While I didn't agree with Junger's premises completely, I found "Tribe" to be a great read and very thought provoking.  The author describes the book as follows:  "It's about why — for many people — war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Humans don't mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary."

Junger gives historical examples of why many people in tribal societies are happier than in modern societies, regardless of the fact that their lives are more difficult.  He also discusses how natural disasters, acts of war, etc bring people together and can actually have a positive effect on people's moods (for example, overall rates of depression dropped in NYC following the 9/11 attacks).  I think many of us lack a sense of purpose and feel we don't belong to anything meaningful.  This may contribute to depression rates.

Another interesting thing about tribal/shamanistic cultures is that something like psychosis or schizophrenia would be seen completely differently than we see it. Their culture would consider them to have a special connection to the spirit world. They would be told that they were special and they would go under apprenticeship with another shaman to actually help the tribe. Today we shun these people, tell them something is wrong with them, and isolate them (or they isolate themselves due to stigma). Of course this can't be good for treatment. In our modern society there are certainly "accepted" mental illness and "unaccepted" mental illness.

That's not to say that people with mental illness should not be on meds, but i think the approach we take is misguided. 

As Jiddu Krishnamurti said "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society"

"What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.”  The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm.  “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé.  These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness.  When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression,” Dr. Somé went to visit him.

I was so shocked.  That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.”  What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop.  This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation.  As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture.  What a loss!  What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”

With schizophrenia, there is a special “receptivity to a flow of images and information, which cannot be controlled,” stated Dr. Somé.  “When this kind of rush occurs at a time that is not personally chosen, and particularly when it comes with images that are scary and contradictory, the person goes into a frenzy.”

What is required in this situation is first to separate the person’s energy from the extraneous foreign energies, by using shamanic practice (what is known as a “sweep”) to clear the latter out of the individual’s aura.  With the clearing of their energy field, the person no longer picks up a flood of information and so no longer has a reason to be scared and disturbed, explains Dr. Somé.

Then it is possible to help the person align with the energy of the spirit being attempting to come through from the other world and give birth to the healer.  The blockage of that emergence is what creates problems.  “The energy of the healer is a high-voltage energy,” he observes.  “When it is blocked, it just burns up the person.  It’s like a short-circuit.  Fuses are blowing.  This is why it can be really scary, and I understand why this culture prefers to confine these people.  Here they are yelling and screaming, and they’re put into a straitjacket.  That’s a sad image.”  Again, the shamanic approach is to work on aligning the energies so there is no blockage, “fuses” aren’t blowing, and the person can become the healer they are meant to be.""

https://www.jaysongaddis.com/the-shamanic-view-of-mental-illness/

Here's another story of Shamans helping someone with schizophrenia: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/03/24/how-a-west-african-shaman-helped-my-schizophrenic-son-in-a-way-western-medicine-couldnt/?utm_term=.13a40a881cae

TheWifeHalf

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #79 on: February 13, 2018, 11:56:14 AM »
My purpose in starting this thread was not to attack those taking anti-depressants, but to open a discussion regarding mental health in America today. 

I recently read "Tribe" by Sebastian Junger.  While I didn't agree with Junger's premises completely, I found "Tribe" to be a great read and very thought provoking.  The author describes the book as follows:  "It's about why — for many people — war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Humans don't mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary."

Junger gives historical examples of why many people in tribal societies are happier than in modern societies, regardless of the fact that their lives are more difficult.  He also discusses how natural disasters, acts of war, etc bring people together and can actually have a positive effect on people's moods (for example, overall rates of depression dropped in NYC following the 9/11 attacks).  I think many of us lack a sense of purpose and feel we don't belong to anything meaningful.  This may contribute to depression rates.

I understand this. 15 - 20 years ago TheHusbandHalf and I were raising our 3 kids, fixing up our house. Now, the kids are gone, house is one room shy of being done, and I've actually thought  of needing a 'purpose.'  The car accident really took away my ability to drive anywhere alone, so I'm still in the 'what am I going to do now?' phase.
I've lately been throwing myself into the Disabled Veteran's groups, plenty of opportunities to help there, in a way I can help.  I try to think of what I CAN do, not what I CAN'T.

Valhalla

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #80 on: February 13, 2018, 12:21:13 PM »
Because American life is amazingly easy compared to the past. 100 years ago most people had to work hard in order to eat. Didn't have time or the energy to be depressed. Same reason pain medication usage is out of control today. Flame away...
I kind of agree with this.  Most people never get physical activity any more.  Physical activity / exercise is one of the best anti-depressants you can have in life.  Exercise makes you feel good, combine it with music and you have nirvana.  Most people don't want to exert themselves or even think about exercise, sadly. 

mrmiyagi

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #81 on: February 13, 2018, 12:39:33 PM »
The Virtanen et al. article is actually a much better example to use since they have a sample more reflective of the general population.
So you didn't like my initial example. Cool. Here is the point as stated more succinctly by GuitarStv:

"Working longer hours is not protective for depression"

Yes or no, do you agree with this point?
Well, considering that the Virtanen et al. article GuitarStv included in their post says that working longer hours is a risk factor for developing depression, I'm going to have to go with "no" since the quote you give says it's "not [predictive]." ;-)

However, do you get my point about cherry picking data? If you had a medical residency then it's a pretty safe assumption that you went to medical school and should be fairly scientifically literate. My PhD program has been beating statistically significant samples and populations into my head since day one so my mindset about cherry picking and p-hacking might be the same as physicians and homeopathy. :-D

"Protective", not "predictive". Basically that's the null hypothesis that someone from the "too busy to be depressed" camp would have to disprove. But I think you get that and just misread my post, no big deal.

I get your other point. Medical residents are a very busy group of people with higher than average depression rates. It's just one example, they are not necessarily representative of all very busy people. Just felt like you were beating that into the ground a bit when we actually likely agree on the larger topic at hand.

mm1970

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #82 on: February 13, 2018, 01:06:00 PM »
Quote
I think it turns my brain off when I try to sleep, my brain just never turned off. Ever.

I have this problem on and off and have since my first pregnancy.  In fact, it's the reason for the second kid.

Beard N Bones

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #83 on: February 13, 2018, 01:39:45 PM »
Quote
I think it turns my brain off when I try to sleep, my brain just never turned off. Ever.

I have this problem on and off and have since my first pregnancy.  In fact, it's the reason for the second kid.

A brain that doesn't turn off.  That's a typical woman's brain for ya!

Mrs. Rocker

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #84 on: February 13, 2018, 01:40:08 PM »
In some cases antidepressants are prescribed when a patient is having physical symptoms but the physicians are unable to diagnose the issue. This happens with difficult to diagnose diseases such as auto-immune disorders. The "it's in your head" syndrome.

little_brown_dog

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #85 on: February 13, 2018, 01:49:36 PM »
Interesting topic –

+1 to a lot of what other posters mentioned: decreased stigma/increased willingness to seek treatment for mental illness, unique and new psychosocial stressors like social media/cyberbullying/etc, and lifestyle patterns that exacerbate illness and poor health such as poor diet (and it’s associated chronic illness, which in an of itself can cause depression) and terrible sleep health (sleep deprivation/poor sleep habits are one of the top risk factors for depression).  But I would also add systemic social isolation to the list. Social isolation is often talked about by psychologists and researchers as a big contributor to poor health and depression but we rarely think about it in our own lives because it is the new normal.

Many middle class Americans are more socially isolated than ever before. This is due to huge social shifts in how we live our lives, including but not limited to: the breakup of the multigenerational family unit into separate households, the globalization of family and family members routinely moving far away from each other and their hometown friends/community, young adults attending colleges far from home and making great friendships there – only to watch all those friends scatter around the globe upon graduation, frequent job hopping in young professionals so that they never make long lasting friendships/communities in their workplaces, two-career couple lifestyles which leave entire neighborhoods vacant during the daylight hours…the list goes on and on. Worse, all of these things frequently occur simultaneously for many of us. It isn’t uncommon to live far from family, have few friends locally, not really have anyone at work you can socialize with, AND live in a neighborhood where no one ever seems to be around, all at the same time. Parents have it really rough because they are expected to raise children in almost completely isolated nuclear units most of the time. There are no longer grandparents and aunties and uncles living in the same house or neighborhood to help ease the burden of childcare or just be there to talk and provide much needed adult interaction on a daily basis. Making friends as an adult in this environment can feel damn near impossible too, and you will hear many people lament that making friends as an adult is harder and more awkward than dating.

I am a SAHM and because of that, I find that I notice social isolation a lot more than other people might. It used to be the norm to live your daily life – hour by hour – surrounded by friends, family, neighbors, extended relatives, etc. The idea of privacy was a joke. Everyone was always up in each other’s business because everyone lived in the same place and rarely left (which also caused its own huge mess of societal problems/poor treatment of anyone who was different/etc). But now the norm is to live your daily life by yourself and with your partner and kids, with occasional visits/playdates/holiday gatherings/etc as stand ins for “appropriate socialization.” Most of us have only a "wave hello" relationship with our neighbors, rather than anything resembling a real friendship. We might have a few good friends, but too often they move away for new educational or career opportunities elsewhere, and Face-timing with them every now and then just isn't going to replace day to day interaction.

Humans were not meant to live alone...it messes with us, deeply.I frequently wonder if many of the people nowadays with mild-moderate clinical depression are actually just feeling the effects of this systemic loneliness and isolation, but because this type of life is considered normal, no one identifies it as the problem and instead describe their moods as sadness/numbness/lack of fulfillment/etc. So they go to the doctor and the doctor confirms that yes, they are not happy and yes, they need help. But since there is no obvious social problem to hone in on as the reason for their disorder (like a death, divorce, job loss, etc), they are given a pill to help control their moods better because the reason why the person is sad is a mystery. Systemic problems frequently manifest as individual “mysteries” when in reality they are just the effects of a wide scale problem that is so all-encompassing no one actually even realizes it is a problem.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #86 on: February 13, 2018, 03:00:51 PM »
The answer to the thread is simple. People are fcking depressed. It's pretty irritating when people who have no idea what is going on spout off about the bullshit big pharma is pushing. Ok, let's go back to ECT and lobotomies, or worse-old school insane asylums.

Weak sauce. We need to pull ourselves out by willpower. Get your ass out of bed and shape up. If you feel depressed, take an ice-cold shower and run laps. That's all anyone needs! Oh, and quit eating sugar!

/sarcasm

Johnez, I'm glad your wife is doing better.

I take antidepressants because they help me when NOTHING ELSE helped. Those who think we should use non-pharma methods instead--do you really think we haven't tried?? Do you think I'd be taking costly pills with side effects if exercise and herbal tea worked just as well?

We don't fully understand how antidepressants work--so what?? We didn't understand the mechanism of action for aspirin for a long time. Does that mean it didn't relieve pain? Would it be OK to chew willow bark (natural salicylates), or is that prohibited too?

I'm really fucking tired of people who know nothing about depression making pronouncements about how it isn't real, or it's a conspiracy of the medical-pharma establishment, or it's caused by Western culture, or it's caused by bad parenting, or it's curable by diet, or it's curable by just talking to a good friend, or it's just an excuse for laziness, or it's since not cured by drugs therefore drugs are bad mkay.

OurTown

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #87 on: February 13, 2018, 03:39:11 PM »
I never had to take meds so I certainly will not sit in judgment of anyone else.  I have, however, had good results with cognitive behavioral therapy, which can be done as self-help (usu. as a journal practice).  I also have had good results with mindfulness meditation.  I also felt 100% better after I quit drinking. 

There are some people with mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety who can manage without meds and who choose to live without meds.  Every person is unique, of course.

Cranky

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #88 on: February 13, 2018, 04:48:35 PM »
We’ve raised the bar for happiness awfully high?

I don’t have a problem with people take medication, but then I wonder why people still seem so miserable. I often feel like I’m the only really cheerful adult I meet in the course of a day.

It puzzles me because at the same time people are saying “Life is so much better than it was 100 years ago. I’d have been miserable  then!”
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 05:42:49 PM by Cranky »

Mr. Green

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #89 on: February 13, 2018, 04:57:37 PM »
Isn't over a third of the US population now obese? If only a third of those people suffered from depression as an effect of being obese that practically meets your 13% number right there.

zoltani

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #90 on: February 13, 2018, 05:05:57 PM »
Isn't over a third of the US population now obese? If only a third of those people suffered from depression as an effect of being obese that practically meets your 13% number right there.

Yeah, only obese people are depressed, alert the medical community you have it figured out!



kimmarg

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #91 on: February 13, 2018, 06:15:22 PM »
Medication is a treatment. 
It does not fix the problem. 
Medication is only a tool to help manage symptoms.

Absolutely. And that's why I've been on medication. It managed my symptoms which enabled me to take some action towards the under lying problem.

Letj

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #92 on: February 13, 2018, 06:47:37 PM »
Interesting topic –

+1 to a lot of what other posters mentioned: decreased stigma/increased willingness to seek treatment for mental illness, unique and new psychosocial stressors like social media/cyberbullying/etc, and lifestyle patterns that exacerbate illness and poor health such as poor diet (and it’s associated chronic illness, which in an of itself can cause depression) and terrible sleep health (sleep deprivation/poor sleep habits are one of the top risk factors for depression).  But I would also add systemic social isolation to the list. Social isolation is often talked about by psychologists and researchers as a big contributor to poor health and depression but we rarely think about it in our own lives because it is the new normal.

Many middle class Americans are more socially isolated than ever before. This is due to huge social shifts in how we live our lives, including but not limited to: the breakup of the multigenerational family unit into separate households, the globalization of family and family members routinely moving far away from each other and their hometown friends/community, young adults attending colleges far from home and making great friendships there – only to watch all those friends scatter around the globe upon graduation, frequent job hopping in young professionals so that they never make long lasting friendships/communities in their workplaces, two-career couple lifestyles which leave entire neighborhoods vacant during the daylight hours…the list goes on and on. Worse, all of these things frequently occur simultaneously for many of us. It isn’t uncommon to live far from family, have few friends locally, not really have anyone at work you can socialize with, AND live in a neighborhood where no one ever seems to be around, all at the same time. Parents have it really rough because they are expected to raise children in almost completely isolated nuclear units most of the time. There are no longer grandparents and aunties and uncles living in the same house or neighborhood to help ease the burden of childcare or just be there to talk and provide much needed adult interaction on a daily basis. Making friends as an adult in this environment can feel damn near impossible too, and you will hear many people lament that making friends as an adult is harder and more awkward than dating.

I am a SAHM and because of that, I find that I notice social isolation a lot more than other people might. It used to be the norm to live your daily life – hour by hour – surrounded by friends, family, neighbors, extended relatives, etc. The idea of privacy was a joke. Everyone was always up in each other’s business because everyone lived in the same place and rarely left (which also caused its own huge mess of societal problems/poor treatment of anyone who was different/etc). But now the norm is to live your daily life by yourself and with your partner and kids, with occasional visits/playdates/holiday gatherings/etc as stand ins for “appropriate socialization.” Most of us have only a "wave hello" relationship with our neighbors, rather than anything resembling a real friendship. We might have a few good friends, but too often they move away for new educational or career opportunities elsewhere, and Face-timing with them every now and then just isn't going to replace day to day interaction.

Humans were not meant to live alone...it messes with us, deeply.I frequently wonder if many of the people nowadays with mild-moderate clinical depression are actually just feeling the effects of this systemic loneliness and isolation, but because this type of life is considered normal, no one identifies it as the problem and instead describe their moods as sadness/numbness/lack of fulfillment/etc. So they go to the doctor and the doctor confirms that yes, they are not happy and yes, they need help. But since there is no obvious social problem to hone in on as the reason for their disorder (like a death, divorce, job loss, etc), they are given a pill to help control their moods better because the reason why the person is sad is a mystery. Systemic problems frequently manifest as individual “mysteries” when in reality they are just the effects of a wide scale problem that is so all-encompassing no one actually even realizes it is a problem.

This is an absolutely awesome post and nails a lot of what’s wrong with society. Clinical depression is real but there’s no doubt that the structure of society today clearly contributes to unhappiness and depression. I was raised in a traditional environment like you described surrounded by extended family, friends and neighbors and I can attest that it’s a supportive environment that helps you thrive especially if you’re poor.  No one seemed depressed to me even if they had difficult lives because there was always someone to support you and help you.

Holyoak

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #93 on: February 13, 2018, 07:35:42 PM »
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4866499

Also a group of people that are regularly exposed to dying or need need give unfortunate news to patients and next of kin without having had time to develop coping mechanism. I'm actually surprised that the figures aren't higher and it may be that some are too tired to actually reflect upon things.

Perhaps so for the news breakers, but ironically I was a hospice volunteer for veterans, and despite the stigma that it has to be an extremely depressing endeavor, nothing could have been further from the truth. 

Affording people the opportunity to pass with dignity with someone who gets them with no judgement, many times being the first and last person to hear of the horrors of war they experienced, tucked away for many decades as a demon that haunted them, finally exorcised as a cathartic release leaving only peace is far from depressing.  You know the soldier who's family, friends, spouses, coworkers who would say "he never talked about the war'...  Well, they did with me at times, and they just wanted to go out like a soldier or honor.  It was humbling and profound, and literally as if you lifted a truck off of their psyche, leaving them light and content to pass on. 

As for depression, Look at how 'we' live.  Compassion and empathy are looked at as weakness, God forbid your actual look is not that of the perfectly altered one you post, Lose your job, and everything cascades into the abyss.  Cultural tribalism cares not of right or wrong, only winning at all cost, no matter how much earth you scorch.  Kids are managed, not reared, civility and culture are not instilled rather despised.  Coarseness, anger, aggression get a lot of likes, as does showing off what you leverage being a perfect cog in the social media metrics machine, drug addled dopamine hit junkies, pushed to high tolerance, always seeking to up the dose but never getting the high.

Perpetual militarism, fear stoking, religiosity, not enough free time, work encroachment, dropped in a NY second if you don't toe the narrowest of lines.  My God, it is absolutely insane how much we squander in this country.  We should have every country on earth so far below us on any positive metric, but just can't help ourselves.  You want to know a truth I have never been able to disprove?  Go to countries that are very poor economically, but rich with fine family traditions, and see how many of the children don't smile. 

As for therapy, I think as with so many things relating to the field of medicine, it's easy to push drugs for profit and patient expectations, where perhaps CBT alone, or combined with other therapies could be equally effective.  Important research blocked by asinine lawmaking concerning certain substances (Psilocybin/Psilocin, MDMA) I think will one day prove extremely beneficial. The black dog is a terrible destroyer of hope, and I truly feel for those who suffer, and wish you all the best on your recovery.

SimpleCycle

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #94 on: February 13, 2018, 08:31:31 PM »
I have no idea what rate of antidepressant use is right, but I have some thoughts.

I think overall, many people probably underestimate the prevalence and potential severity of depression.  It is not just an American affliction.  Worldwide, depression is the leading cause of disability.  Suicide is the second most common cause of death in 15-29 year olds worldwide, and most people who commit suicide are suffering from depression.  Overall, 1.6% of deaths in the U.S. in 2015 were by suicide.

So surely many people who are taking antidepressants have serious depression that needs treatment with medication.  In addition, depression is a chronic illness which sometimes requires long term medication even with therapy, exercise, and other complimentary therapies.

But I do also wonder if in general, Americans are quick to move to medication for all manner of problems, even when lifestyle and non-medication treatments are just as effective.  Lifestyle treatments are hard and require follow through.  Also, in my experience, doctors don't believe their patients will really make changes and push meds hard.

Finally, antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety and chronic pain, which are also both pretty common.  So 13% doesn't surprise me much.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #95 on: February 13, 2018, 08:51:34 PM »
Quote
I think it turns my brain off when I try to sleep, my brain just never turned off. Ever.

I have this problem on and off and have since my first pregnancy.  In fact, it's the reason for the second kid.

A brain that doesn't turn off.  That's a typical woman's brain for ya!

Yep, and I can remember things from 30 years ago!  Imo, both traits that go in the 'plus' column

SimpleCycle

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #96 on: February 13, 2018, 09:08:16 PM »
Sorry for the double post, but a few more things come to mind.

Clearly there has been a huge increase in the sales of certain psychiatric drugs that is not explained by changes in the underlying prevalence of mental illness or even changes in treatment seeking.  Abilify, an atypical antipsychotic that is now approved for adjunctive treatment of major depression, is now the top selling drug is the U.S. with $7 billion in sales.

Perhaps most compelling to me that despite all these drugs we're not doing better at treating mental illness is that at the same time as psychiatric drug prescriptions have increased, so has the suicide rate.  You can definitely make the case that changes in prescribing have mostly been for patients with mild or moderate illness.  Which isn't to say people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety shouldn't seek treatment, but the benefits of medication are not as clear cut in that group and non-drug therapies are a possible alternative.

I think this is one of those things where two things can be true at the same time.  We can both acknowledge that psychiatric drugs can be incredibly beneficial to many people and also think their increased use could be due to some problematic changes in both society and medical practice.


Mr. Green

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #97 on: February 13, 2018, 10:45:43 PM »
Isn't over a third of the US population now obese? If only a third of those people suffered from depression as an effect of being obese that practically meets your 13% number right there.

Yeah, only obese people are depressed, alert the medical community you have it figured out!
That's not what I said.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #98 on: February 14, 2018, 04:33:52 AM »
Americans, so brainwashed that they need drugs, like people thinking they need guns. You’re only lining the pockets of the drug industry. Human civilization has existed for thousands of years without anti-depressants but now everyone needs them to make it through the day. FFS! You’ve been hoodwinked and most people are too weak and too complicit to admit it.

Jouer

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Re: 13% of Americans take anti-depressants, why?
« Reply #99 on: February 14, 2018, 06:48:45 AM »
Americans, so brainwashed that they need drugs, like people thinking they need guns. You’re only lining the pockets of the drug industry. Human civilization has existed for thousands of years without anti-depressants but now everyone needs them to make it through the day. FFS! You’ve been hoodwinked and most people are too weak and too complicit to admit it.
So we should go back to the old days of just locking people in an insane asylum then? Lobotomy? Just let them kill themselves? Spoiler: no.

Anyone who thinks depression/anxiety=sad/weak and not depressed=happy/strong should probably educate themselves before opening their mouths (or keyboards) on this subject. You have no clue what you are talking about. This is the equivalent of someone up to their eyeballs in consumer debt saying you should buy a new fully loaded F-150.