Depression Demystified

America has a problem…

Bloomsberg News recently reported in the New York Times on a study showing that the number of people taking antidepressant drugs had doubled in the 10 years between 1996 and 2005. According to this article, 10.1 % of the populations of the USA are taking antidepressant drugs. 27,000,000 people then, 6 years of age and older, have been labeled depressed, and are on antidepressant drugs. 27,000,000 is a whole lot of people. There are cities that don’t have 27,000,000 people in them. While the use of antidepressant drugs has gone up, the number of these people in psychotherapy has gone down. The author of the study being highlighted here, Mark Olfson, claims these disturbing statistics indicate a need to have medical doctors, not just psychiatrists, trained to recognize depression and prescribe psychiatric drugs.

I think it would help if we cleared up a few matters about the disorder we are dealing with here before we proceed. Depression in psychiatric jargon is unhappiness in plain English. Drugs are never the best solution for unhappiness, if they are a solution at all. Let me put this another way, taking drugs for any problems you are having in your life will only appear to take those problems away, it won’t actually take those problems off your shoulders.

The solution to unhappiness is to pursue those activities which make one happy. Doing things that only make one unhappy represents a rut people should climb out of if at all possible. Labeling unhappiness depression, and then prescribing a drug for it, is definitely not the way to go. Getting medical doctors to prescribe drugs to unhappy people is not a very good idea either.

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