80% of Americans with depression are taking antidepressants, although there are several other alternatives. Here are a possible reasons why this is so.
The United States is truly a pill popping Prozac nation. According to Consumer Reports on 6/29, 80 percent of people diagnosed with depression are taking medication.
This begs the question why Americans take antidepressants rather than seek alternative methods, such as therapy or exercise, for depression. Studies have shown seven counseling sessions with any kind of therapist (be it a psychologist or social worker) and/or daily exercise are as effective as antidepressants.
Of course, a good majority of people might also be pursuing other modes of treatment in conjunction with their medication. However, why are pills the predominant form of treatment used?
Taking a look at American culture and society lends a few clues as to why.
These days, everything is about time efficiency and convenience. Counseling can be mentally exhausting as it focuses on the root of an individual’s problem and analyzing thought processes. Therapy can be a time of both self renewal and painful confrontation. At the end of the day, popping a pill is easier and faster than attending an intense therapy session.
Doctors are also a great influence. Physicians are consistently rated in the top five most respected professions in the nation. People respect their authority and opinion and so are more than willing to take the prescription that doctors are more than willing to fill out.
The media presents depression as the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is true, but this skews people’s mindsets to think such an illness can only be cured with medicine. Not to mention that there are antidepressant commercials on every channel. When was the last time you saw a commercial for a therapist?
Taking medication to treat depression isn’t bad. Antidepressants have the power to replace emotional turmoil to peaceful stability. However, this lends to an interesting study of American culture and the debate as to whether or not Americans are a people of dependence on pleasure, the media, and yes–pills.
Sources“Americans prefer drugs to fight Depression.” MSNBC.