A couple of related research studies caught my eye this week. A study in the Annuals of General Psychiatry (as described here by NPR) details that moreAmericans, including children, than ever are being prescribed multiple psychiatric medications. The authors found that patients are commonly prescribed untested combinations of drugs, where the efficacy and possible side effects of the combos are unknown. The study did not find an increase in the number of people with severe mental illness, rather more Drs are writing more presciptions.
The problems with this are obvious. As well all know, the more medications you take the more chance of side effects, this is especially the case for psychiatric meds in which you are attempting to change the chemistry of the brain – something that we admittedly know very little about.
The article attributes the change to “changes in psychiatric practice”. Why is practice changing? What is influencing these doctors to write more precriptions? Is it under drug company pressure? This is something that must be examined.
Especially in light of the findings of the second article, published in JAMA. The authors found that for people with mild to moderate depression, medications was no better in treating these symptoms than placebo. You’re better off taking a sugar pill than Paxil, you’ll get the same benefits without the risk of serious side effects including suicide.
For me, these articles serve to reinforce my believe that better living through chemistry is not the answer. You must address your health through lifestyle, diet, exercise, and a healthy nervous system. That is the way to be happy and healthy.