There is always debate about how to treat mental health issues effectively. As someone who deals with this everyday, the solution is sometimes as individual as the patients themselves. However, according to a recent article in Psychology Today, it could be argued that drugs are being over-prescribed. It starts by saying :
“We hear so much these days about how psychotherapies can help people with mental health problems. But the most recent figures tend to suggest that as many as 57% of people with mental health problems are being treated solely with medications without any form of psychotherapy. And that figure is not going down—it’s going up!—up from 44% to 57% between 1998 and 2007. In addition the pediatric use of SSRIs has risen significantly between 1994 and 2000, largely to treat childhood anxiety and depression, and has often occurred without regulatory approval.”
The author, Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D. gives some very convincing arguments as to why this trend is happening and will continue into the future. Among others, he states that when only one line of treatment is available, small bouts of mental illness can be “medicalised” and turned into longer term issues. One of these issues could also be the long term use of prescription drugs. Additionally, prescribing drugs alone from the outset could have the psychological effect on the patient that his “recovery” is now out of his own hands and dependent on the medication. He also argues that while drugs will sometimes subdue symptoms, ( he did mention that a study of depression sufferers found that 60 percent felt better in the short term after being medicated) they will not change the way patients think or perceive the world and that a mixture of medication and psychotherapy should be the minimum offered.. Most sinister of all was his theory that many first points of contact for mental health sufferers were GP’s and family doctors who were poorly trained in recognizing psychological issues. However, something he wrote which was of no surprise to me was the influence of the big pharma companies on the situation. I quote :
“Drug companies need to sell drugs to survive, so will have an incentive to invent new disorders to generate a market for new drugs. Very often this may lead to the medicalization of perfectly normal emotional processes, such as bereavement”
The internet is playing an ever increasing role in the battle for mental health. Online therapy is becoming more and more popular and this trend is likely to continue in my opinion. However, according to a recent article by Elana Premack Sandler, L.C.S.W., M.P.H, help is coming from a very unlikely source.
A recent finding by researchers at Brigham Young University offers a very modern kind of hope. Twitter, it seems, may provide a proxy measure for suicide rates. States with a higher proportion of people tweeting about suicide are states that have higher-than-average suicide rates. The opposite seems to hold true as well—states with lower proportions of people tweeting about suicide have lower-than-average suicide rates.Twitter is providing real-time data about suicide risk, which is something that those of us thinking about the implications of social media for suicide prevention can get pretty excited about.
The excitement she refers to comes from the fact that the most up to date data concerning suicide rates is at least three years old. We all know how things can change over a period of three years. Twitter and presumably other social media sites are offering “real time” statistics and that can only be good for “real time” solutions. The challenge is to use this data to the best effect. It is another way in which technology and social media are impacting our daily lives, this time in a positive way.
Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a Counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals,couples, groups and companies globally. Online therapy is, in his experience, effective for treating a number of major conditions. Are you having issues that you need to talk through? He has a range of plans that can help you get the help you need. Online Therapy details : Here ……