When the pill is the problem, not the solution

By Shlomo Maital      


  I’m afraid this blog very often sins, by becoming ‘preachy’.   Even if blogs are meant to convey strong opinions, they can be tiresome if they incessantly preach.

  This blog is about the criminal overuse of anti-depressant drugs, fueled by the greed of Big Pharma, with some doctors complicit as well.

   Here are the data. Judge for yourselves.  (source: Global New York Times, Aug. 14: “Medication blues”, by Roni Caryn Rabin). 

  *  1 in 10 Americans now takes an antidepressant medication.  Among women in their 40s and 50s, it is one in 4.

* 2/3 of more than 5,000 patients diagnosed as depressive in the previous 12 months DID NOT MEET THE CRITERIA FOR MAJOR DEPRESSIVE EPISODE, according to the DSM, Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 

* 6 of 7 elderly patients 65 and older diagnosed as depressive did not meet the criteria for depression.

  * Most people stay on anti-depressants for at least two years; some take them for a decade or more.  These drugs have side-effects. Some are serious. 

* A NYC woman was prescribed an anti-depressant a few weeks after her husband died, even though she thought feelings of grief and sadness were appropriate.

     Once, we knew that life had ups and downs.  When you’re experiencing the downs, you fight through them.   The drug culture that says, “pop a pill for every possible symptom of occasion” has led to a different drug culture, one that consumes a variety of drugs, mostly illegal, to make us feel good.      

   Recently a well-known Israeli doctor, speaking on TV, admitted that he had given testimony about certain drugs before a Knesset committee – but he admitted, he forgot to mention that he had received large grants from the drug company. 

   Can we trust our doctors, who get trips, junkets, research grants and other perks from drug companies?  Can we trust the drug companies, struggling to maintain obscene profit margins with a dwindling pipeline of over-costly drugs?  Are we over-medicated?  

     What is most angering is that American soldiers, struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, and there are thousands of them, appear to get minimal care, if any.  Why are some people popping pills for imaginary disorders, while others are not getting the treatment they need?