Gary's new website

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Been feeling depressed or stressed lately?

If you live in a city like Wellington and if you go to the doctor as an adult, the overwhelming odds are that you will be going because you are either feeling depressed or stressed, or both. The overwhelming odds are, as well, that you will be prescribed a mind altering drug that is euphemistically cloaked with an uplifting trade name. Treatment may include one drug to put you to sleep and another to get you going during the day.

Direct to consumer drugs advertising has a lot to do with this. Surveys show that direct to consumer drugs advertising influences patient actions and doctors will prescribe what the patient requests 70% of the time the patient asks for the drug by name. Drs are heavily influenced themselves by advertising. Their professional journals and conferences rely on pharmaceutical advertising and subsidies. You know the adds: Looking miserable and left out, along comes the happy pill and you are transformed into the "Life of the Party". The other kind of ad that comes on is the authoritative tv personality health advisor who recommends this and that pill in a way that sets out to normalise drugs use. In all cases, the long list of side effects is quickly flashed, or scrolled incomprehensively for about 1 second.

"So what's your problem with this, Moller?" You might ask.

My problem is that the public is being sold expensive and addictive so-called quick fixes that may cause huge problems many years down the line. The quick fix is no such thing either, because it is masking the symptoms while failing to deal with the causes. If the medication deals with the real causes, then I do not have a problem.

So the recipient of the happy pills is being set up for all kinds of horrible health problems that may not show for many years. These may be diseases of the digestive system, liver cancer, kidney failure, circulation problems, gum disease and dementia. During the interim they must contend with brain fog and the stress of the increasing drain on their finances as new medications are added to the mix to offset the increasingly horrible side effects of the toxic chemical cocktail mix. The doctor is in the unfortunate position of having few other treatment options other than to prescribe.

Meanwhile, the original causes of the anxiety and depression go untreated; causes such as a lousy job, family or relationship problems, financial problems, lack of sunlight, cofffee or alcohol abuse or poor nutrition and fitness to name a few.

Just so that you have something uplifting to look forward to after reading this rather depressing article, I will soon post an article that outlines some of the very good natural alternatives to the happy pill option for feeling anxous and/or depressed.


Anonymous said...

I have just been prescribed antidepressants because in my 30 odd years I have only ever had about 5-6months without some kind of abuse, neglect, stress or drama. I have always used things like prayer, sleep, eating well and running as my means to cope. While they helped, they didn't deal with the underlying issues - that is, my thought processes, my wiring. They were my 'mask'. When I had an injury that stopped me from running and then when I later started to have children, I found that things started to gradually change over time; no matter how many goals I set, I could never complete them and never stick to anything. My motivation for anything worthwhile in life is non existent & without my coping strategies I have essentially been progressively struggling & on a downward spiral for years. Yet I am not that unhappy - I don't cry. I just feel numb & quick to anger or stress whenever someone or something upsets me. If antidepressants in conjunction with therapy help me get back what is important (joy for life, motivation & running) then so be it. Natural alternatives may be the best for someone mildly depressed who just needs to sleep & eat better etc, but for someone like me who has had undiagnosed depression for over 10 years, someone who is prone to apathy and anger rather than tears, the issue is so much more complex. My point is Gary, you are not a psychologist so perhaps just bare in mind that there are many people who visit your site who have been through unimaginable hell whose chemical balance is so out of wack that they need some medication before things like therapy have a chance to even work. Medication & therapy should always be synonymous and yes, I agree in NZ there is too much medication and not enough effort to address the underlining causes. People like me are however, the exception to this. All the sleep, herbs (I have tried many - made almost no difference except primrose oil which is a godsend for PMT), nutrition and & exercise in the world can't change how I feel at the moment. Further, when you feel like crap & have no motivation you can't make yourself do the things you know will help - I have been trying unsuccessfully for 6 years! These things can help yes, but I am certain that the medication I am on is what will help to get me & others like me, over the hump, to cross the abyss so that I can finally get my normal, happy, rational self back.

Gary Moller said...

Re above comment:
Yes, the points you are making are fair cop. Please bear in mind just how long ago I wrote this article because things have moved on since then. The big development for me has been the introduction of the ICL Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis - please go to the information about this test via the "Key Words" box in the upper right column of this page. The HTMA allows us to identify the underlying biochemical drivers of conditions such as depression and anxiety. While it may not be possible to get off the antidepressants, there is still much that can be done to alleviate the underlying causes as well as to reduce the negative impact of the medications.

Anonymous said...

Thank you - I will have a look. Re the ICL Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis I find this particularly fascinating as my own hair and scalp has changed over the past few years - it is a lot more sensitive which I am sure has something to do with my nervous state.

I share your concerns about the negative impact of these kinds of drugs & how overprescribed they are however, because I am personally in a position where they seem the only thing that can start to correct how I am feeling I now appreciate their value.

That said, I have no intention on being on them for life and long term want to focus on natural remedies to prevent being back in this position, along with continual use of the tools & strategies my therapist is giving me. I am lucky as I have someone who understands the value of therapy in conjunction with medication, but who does not see either of these things as something one has to become dependent on for life.