Okay, so the medication debate is not as black and white as the title may suggest.  It sure is worth having, however, as an article that came out this June in APA’s Monitor on Psychology about the inappropriate prescribing of psychotropic medication spells out.

Before I go any further, I am completely aware that medication can be a game-changer for some people, allowing them to function in ways that they simply could not before being prescribed an appropriate medication.  For many others, more than we may guess, medication may not be as necessary or helpful as we are led to believe.  And when it comes to medicating children, I vote for being even more careful with prescribing, especially in light of the fact that many medications have not been thoroughly researched for kids.

So here’s the low down on the article:

  1. Many psychotropic medication prescriptions do not come from professionals that are well-versed in mental health issues (4 out of 5 come from non-psychiatrists).  Primary care physicians know a lot, but they may not know as much as we need for them to when it comes to something as serious as treating a mental health disorder with medication.  And they may not be in the know on other effective treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral treatment, that are non-pharmaceutical.
  2. The placebo effect is thought to be a major player in the effectiveness of anti-depressants.  Current research suggests that it’s mostly people with severe cases of depression that seem to truly benefit from the chemical impact of anti-depressants.  Most others reportedly benefit from simply knowing that they are taking something to help their depression.  (As would be expected, there is controversy about these findings.  One thing seems clear, though.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy continues to get positive results in the treatment of all levels…

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