Today’s trend leans toward medicating many different conditions, from minor colds to serious conditions. For every symptom or problem, there seems to be a pharmaceutical treatment for it which has helped companies who manufacture the medicines to make millions and billions in profits. Almost half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug but the real question is whether these are improving overall health and life.
Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medication. Over 10% of the population takes antidepressants, with women being much more likely to use them than men. Approximately a quarter of all women take an antidepressant with use on the rise for both men and women overall.
Pharmaceutical companies and doctors make a profit from selling drugs to the general public. Billions each year are spent on advertising, marketing campaigns and building connections with practicing physicians to provide antidepressants to people. Some feel overmedication is the issue while others say there are more incidences of depression in the general population.
One major driving force for the prevalence of antidepressants is profit for the companies and doctors. Many patients self-report symptoms to a doctor for help or even ask outright for antidepressants to help cope with lingering feelings of sadness, restlessness or anxiety which may or may not be associated with clinical depression. Self-reporting of symptoms can be unreliant when making a true diagnosis but physicians are quick to write a prescription in spite of a lack of biological tests to definitively diagnose depression. Inaccurate diagnoses can lead to higher incidences of antidepressant prescriptions.
Mental health is still a difficult subject to broach in society. A lingering stigma against mental illness can be a factor which contributes to a rise in use of antidepressants. Moreover, individuals may be hesitant to seek a therapist or counselor to work out any issues even though there is evidence talk therapy is more helpful than taking an antidepressant alone. Some people may feel they will be viewed as weak or unable to cope with life by seeking a therapist. Therefore, medication seems to be an easier solution to a much larger, growing, problem.
True, clinical depression, is a diagnosis which exists for those who are not able to get well on their own without the help of medication, therapy and treatment. It is important to remember in spite of overmedication in society, there are those who need medicine or support to overcome depressive symptoms. The key is balance, a way to examine oneself and society at large to determine what is necessary and what is best for the overall health and wellbeing of everyone, regardless of profit margins.
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