As depression continues to increase at an alarming rate in our society, so does the use of antidepressant medications. These prescription drugs are widely lauded for their ability in treating the disorder and are immensely popular. Many attribute their ability to conquer depression to the antidepressant medications they were prescribed.
However, support for these drugs is not universal. There are many who argue that the use of antidepressants does not represent an optimal intervention for depression and that other means of treating the disease should be preferred.
There are some in the anti medication crowd who will argue that research and opinion supporting the use of prescription antidepressants is so tainted by the vested financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry that it must be approached with a great deal of suspicion. Those sharing this viewpoint will argue that antidepressants are wildly over prescribed and that the number of people diagnosed with depressive disorders includes many who probably need no intervention whatsoever.
Even those who do not share this hard line perspective, however, still find occasion to critique the use of antidepressants.
Critics of antidepressants often begin their attack on the drugs by noting that no one is absolutely certain why the medications work at all in successful cases. They are naturally suspicious of these so called wonder drugs because there is a lack of certainty about exactly why the drugs tend to produce the desired results in many patients.
Additionally, those who are not sold on antidepressants will often argue that they primarily serve to mask depressions symptoms while leaving the underlying causes of the disorder intact. Some, for instance, will point to research that indicates depression could be the result of significant emotional trauma earlier in life. It is possible, they argue, to deal with those issues and to redirect ways of thinking after making that realization as a means to ending depression. Medication, in their estimation, leaves the underlying problem intact while failing to solve the problem created by these underlying problems.
Antidepressants, critics will argue, are too rife with possible negative side effects to justify their use in light of those observations. All prescription medications, it seems, carry with them some risk of unintended consequences and antidepressants are not an exception to that rule. Patients taking the medications can suffer from a variety of side effects ranging from the merely inconvenient to the severe. In some cases antidepressants can actually spur a wholesale increase in depressive symptoms.
Those who disagree with the growing trend toward increase antidepressant use say that performing a cost benefit analysis regarding the drugs demonstrates a reason to seek out alternatives. They maintain that the risk of improvement, when viewed in the context of the uncertain nature of the drugs and their potential detrimental side effects, should compel one not to seek treatment from depression in the form of a pill.
What alternatives to antidepressants do critics provide? Generally, their alternative treatments focus on a combination of more natural solutions and therapy. Improved nutrition and diet, for instance, may be offered as a means of reducing depression. Some also call for the use of particular herbal supplements in order to balance nutrition and to deal with depressions symptoms.
In conjunction with such alternatives, critics of pharmaceutical solutions also support the use of therapy as a means of dealing with depression. As noted, many believe that underlying emotional problems cause depression and that it can be best dealt with by recognizing and healing those root causes.
Behavioral therapies focusing upon the development of new skills and ways of approaching problems are offered as an alternative to drug use. It should be noted, of course, that many proponents of prescription solutions also support the use of therapy in conjunction with medications.
So, in conclusion, we can say that antidepressants are widely used and there is no evidence to suggest that use will decrease in the immediate future. On the contrary, it appears as if the use of antidepressants as a mental health tool will actually continue to accelerate.
However, the level of criticism about these drugs, is substantial enough to warrant attention. Anyone considering the use of antidepressants should at least be familiar with some of the arguments posited against them to insure that they will be making a fully informed decision regarding their mental health.
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