Medication: The Cost Effective Therapy

Finally, there’s more research suggesting the need to reduce the over-medicating of mental illness, specifically depression. The study conducted by Irving Kirsch of the University of Hull discovered that the benefits of anti-depressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), venlafaxine (Effexor), nefazodone (Serzone), and paroxetine (Seroxat / Paxil), are dependent upon the severity of the mental illness.

The study used a meta-analysis of data retrieved from trials supplied by the US Food and Drug Administration. “When the data from all of these trials had been put together, the improvement in depression amongst patients receiving the trial drug, as compared to those receiving placebo (dummy tablets), was not clinically significant in mildly depressed patients or even in most patients who suffer from very severe depression” – Article

It comes as no surprise that only a small group of participants actually benefited from their medications, and these patients tended to be those who suffered from severe depression to begin with. The severely depressed reaped fewer benefits from the placebo and more benefits from the actual medication than those less depressed. This not only suggests that anti-depressants serve their purpose for those who are really suffering, but it clearly demonstrates that not everyone needs to be medicated to function. Over-medicating is a serious problem within our society because it does seem easier to slap on a Band-Aid as opposed to working through months or even years of therapy. Unfortunately, the social and monetary cost of clinical therapy does not seem plausible for everyone in our society, however it hardly seems ethical or even productive to convert the depressed into addicts.

In my opinion, medication should always be the last resort when alternative measures are more proficient in treating mental illness.

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