From a book that I’m reading: (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert)
I do know these drugs made my misery feel less catastrophic. So I’m grateful for that. But I’m still deeply ambivalent about mood-altering medications. I’m awed by their power, but concerned by their prevalence. I think they need to be prescribed and used with much more restraint in this country, and never without the parallel treatment of psychological counseling. Medicating the symptom of any illness without exploring its root cause is just a classically hare-brained Western way to think that anyone could get truly better. (page 52)
The author of the quote above says that they should never be prescribed without associated counseling, and while I agree with that in principle, I can say from my own experience that sometimes the reasons are quite obvious and counseling really isn’t going to help. Sometimes a person simply needs a little assistance through a landslide of problems. In my case, in three years:
- I lost my job.
- I got pregnant after years of trying.
- I went back to college.
- I miscarried.
- I got pregnant again.
- I lost an aunt to lung cancer three weeks after diagnosis.
- I had my child.
- I lost an uncle to an operation he’d had before; this time there were complications and he didn’t survive.
- My husband lost his job, then had to have emergency surgery.
- I found out I was pregnant a second time.
- I lost a great aunt and my husband lost his grandfather.
- I had my child
- And my husband is still unemployed.
Is it any wonder I’m depressed? Is there any real need to explore where my depression comes from? No, not really.
(I was curious about how prevalent prescriptions for antidepressants were. According to an article on CNN.COM on July 9, 2007 (here), they are the most prescribed drugs in the United States. The article goes on to say that adult use of antidepressants has almost tripled “between the periods 1988-1994 and 1999-2000.” What is making so many people depressed? Surely we ought to look at what is causing the problem and try to fix that!)