Friday, May 4, 2012

Fibro Fridays - Depression

Hold on tight - I'm taking on the establishment today. I read in a magazine article once (forgive me I forget which one - I'll try and find it) that one in four people in the United States is on an anti-depressant. One in four! I was shocked. I know depression is as real as fibro and people need solutions . . . but is it really to the point where one in four American have altered brain chemistry and need medication to fix the problem?

Then I started researching and found this article CDC: Antidepressants most prescribed drugs in U.S. The first story shared is about a woman who was frustrated with how her husband was handling the finances so her doctor put her on anti-depressants. It also says prescriptions have tripled in recent years and most psychiatrists are pleased because people are finally getting the help they need.

Even more alarming to me was listed on Depression Facts and Stats. It says that the fasted growing market for anti-depressants isn't fibromyalgia patients or women - it's preschoolers. I can't tell you how scary I find it that these pills that . . . mess with our minds are being given to little children. When I talked to some teachers (off the record) about it they said a lot of it has to do with behavior. That made me angry.

The same website says depression is increasing among children at a rate of 24%. We've all seen the warnings on commercials that claim higher rates of suicides if taken by children under 18. Another page I visited Trends in Prescribing PDF said there haven't been enough studies to see long term side effects for children and that at least a third of these prescriptions were being given without the benefit of a "mental health provider."

Then I found something really interesting. The Emperor's New Drugs is an article put out by the American Psychological Association. They looked at the data supplied to the FDA about the major anti-depressants and found no significant difference between them and placebo.

What does this all have to do with us? I'm not totally sure yet. I do know that nearly every patient with Fibro and CFS are put on anti-depressants as a matter of course - whether they "feel" depressed or not. The symptoms of our disorder mirror depression in a lot of ways, and -- I know that dealing with chronic pain can lead to depression. I did see this article though about CFS: 10 Discoveries About the Biology of CFS. The first one talks about depression.

Since most evidence points to us not starting out with depression, perhaps if we had better support systems, better resources, and could get better treatments - we wouldn't end up needing those anti-depressants. I know they make all the difference for many of you. I wouldn't want to stop that. I only want to cut down on the unnecessary prescriptions and have doctors treat us all as individuals.

What do you think of all this?

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