When I returned from Mozambique, I started experiencing chronic stomach-aches. I went to a gastroenterologist, and without doing any tests, or logging any of the food I ate, he prescribed antidepressants along with 3 other prescriptions.
When I went to an orthopedist for some knees pain I was experiencing, he again prescribed me with antidepressants, and explained that they can often relieve joint pain.
When I went to a sleep clinic, they too prescribed antidepressants.
After the third prescription I started to get annoyed. I wondered if I was walking into these appointments with a huge cloud over my head. Or if I was breaking down sobbing without realizing it, but I knew that I was just going over the physical problems. It seems like antidepressants are just the go to drug for doctors nowadays.
Before I go further, I have nothing against antidepressants, and I think they can be very helpful when dealing with depression, but not stomach-aches, joint pain, and sleeping problems. Especially when it seems like it’s being prescribed as the first resort and not the last resort, and we don’t even know the long-term side effects of taking these pills for extended periods.
I’ve done a bit of research, and it turns out women are prescribed antidepressants twice as often as men. The Woman’s Campaign group found, “One in three of the women polled had taken antidepressants during her lifetime. More than half of these were not offered any alternatives to drugs. And a quarter were left on the drugs for more than a year without having their prescriptions reviewed.” The American Psychological Association says that women are twice as likely to be clinically depressed than men, but could it be that doctors just think that any ailment a woman has is caused by depression?
Just to give you an update on my hysteria: I no longer have stomach problems because I’ve carefully monitored my eating habits and figured out the foods that upset my stomach. I no longer have knee problems because I do some simple exercises every day that help strengthen the muscles around me knee, and I no longer have sleeping problems because I practice better sleeping habits. All these improvements without a single pill!
I don’t just blame doctors for being too eager to write out a prescription. I think the majority of patients want a quick fix. They would love a pill to solve all their problems so they can continue living unconscious lifestyles. The problem needs to be addressed on both sides of the exam table.
- GPs hand out record 47m Antidepressant prescriptions… a rise of 9% in a year (engineeringevil.com)
- America’s Zoloft Problem (thedailybeast.com)
- Drugged Britain: ARE WE HOOKED ON HAPPY PILLS? (telegraph.co.uk)
- Antidepressant use under scrutiny (stuff.co.nz)