So we live in an age of instant gratification. But is that all bad? Antidepressant use has doubled in the last 10 years. Did an interview this morning on CKNW talk radio on the rise of antidepressant use in the last 10 years. Immediately the interview put me on the defensive. Am I worried? Is this too much drug? Is this the end of civilization as we know it? About 6 percent of people were prescribed an antidepressant in 1996. This translates to 13 million people. This rose to more than 10 percent or 27 million Americans by 2005. Is this a BAD thing? Hmmmmm let's think.... More people are receiving treatment for a disease... Could be one of four options:
1. More people are being diagnosed with depression and treated
2. More patients are seeking treatment for their disease
3. There are more treatment options available for depression
4. Evil doctors are plotting with the pharmaceutical industry to take over the world through happy pills.
I know that the scientific community needs to constantly question advancements in the area of medicine. It's how we preserve safety as we advance. That being said.... am constantly defending the "evils" of medicine as "more people take pills than ever before". Yes, we are popping a hell of a lot of pills in 2009. High cholesterol? Have a drug for that. Headache- gotcha covered. Cancer- yes there are treatments.... why is it some drug treatments get a "better rap" than others.... Is it directly proportional to what we perceive the disease threat to be? For example- your head is freakin' splitting and you feel like your eyes are going to blow out of your skull. Most people would not think twice to take an aspirin. Make no mistake, I LOVE aspirin! Any drug that can prevent heart attack, a stroke or even colon cancer in some people and still treat a hangover is okay by me professionally and personally. I'm training for a triathlon and I am loving a little anti-inflammatory! My point is when there is immediate pain- the treatment does not come into question. Take cancer for example. I have yet to meet a patient who wants to try what is on the shelf at the local health food store before taking chemo. I think we tend to treat when the threat of pain or death is right around the corner. But when we can "live" with a disease (there's irony for you) we tend to favour disease over treatment. In other words.... cancer=chemo, cholesterol=red rice yeast. So... back to the point..... Americans are taking more antidepressants over the last decade? Good for them. It's about time Americans had something to smile about.
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