October 15

Prescription Meds

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Blog | 2 Comments


Today I’ve had a few cancellations, so while catching up on some of the more menial tasks I am responsible for, I perused the internet. On MSN’s homepage was an article called “There is a Pill for That“. I read it, and there is some interesting data about pharmaceutical advertising.
Recently a friend sent me a video on a similar subject, which is a documentary about the pharmaceutical companies making a lot of money at the expense of those with mental illness. I haven’t watched it yet, and find the subject to be a difficult one. Working in the field of psychology I see many people helped with psychotropic medications. At the same time, I am aware of what I believe to be over prescribing by some doctors (especially family practitioners who do not have psychiatric expertise). For example in a text I am teaching this semester, one statistic claimed over 50% of those with Bipolar D/O may be misdiagnosed.

Beyond this statistic, there is the affect of pharmaceutical advertising. A great quote from the MSN article says in regard to the effect of advertising “almost 80 percent of doctors believe that drug commercials encourage patients to ask for medicines they don’t need.”
It has long been my stance that America is a culture where drugs dominate. There has been movement lately toward a more holistic approach, but this seems to be a small movement, as evidenced by the skyrocketing profits of the pharmaceutical companies. We want a pill to solve the issue, rather than doing the work (eating better, exercise, stretching). When I was in graduate school we had a formal debate about whether adolescents should be using antidepressants. There is an additional risk of suicide in some adolescents with SSRIs. We did not get to choose the side we were on, and I was on the side supporting the use of antidepressants. The other side put together a wonderful argument discussing how more natural interventions (certain foods, exercise, other natural occurring remedies) effectively reduce the symptoms of depression. Despite their well thought out argument, the other side won, generally relying on the fact this is America, and people are generally unwilling to put that much effort into alleviating difficulties when simply taking a pill will do it for them.
I recommend looking at this article.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2009 at 2:07 PM and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Prescription Meds”

  1. Sabrina on October 21st, 2009 at 12:25 AM

    I’m glad you chose to write about this. I’ve lived in several parts of the world and can clearly see the differences between the U.S and the rest of the world when it comes to prescriptions.
    I got two of my wisdom teeth pulled here in the U.S by a very good dentist who I still go to today, I was given a topical anesthetic so that I wouldn’t even feel the discomfort of the anesthesia injections. After the procedure, I was prescribed Ibuprofen 800 and Tylenol 3 for the pain (of which I was very grateful for to be honest). The other two I had removed in Italy. The dentist gave me a mouthwash to keep the area clean and suggested I put ice on it as much as possible. Although I was hating life that first day, I got over it and realized there really is absolutely no need to prescribe what I was given the first time around. Americans need to learn to suck it up (myself included). Pain is a part of life, get over it.
    We ask for pills and doctors give them to us because health care is a business. Then we continue to take them because they were prescribed to us, which means we must need them right? I have worked in doctors’ offices and it is ridiculous how pressured they are into prescribing certain brands.
    Psychiatrists often schedule five patients per hour. I’ve been to a psychiatrist who listened to me for 10 minutes and sent me on my way with a prescription. Also, many times doctors will prescribe things when they cant figure out what’s wrong with you and can only think of that as a solution. I saw a neurologist for a sleep disorder I have. After weeks of numerous tests, his response to me was, “I can’t figure out the root of the problem but I can give you these pills to help”. At one point I was taking 7 pills a day. Obviously none of these pills were going to cure me, just alleviate my symptoms. When I realized that my doctor had the intention of prescribing these strong pills for the rest of my life, I made a choice to stop taking everything, and to be honest, I don’t see much of a difference from when I was on them. People need to stop and evaluate the benefits vs. risks. Many of us forget that taking a pill doesn’t cure you, it just makes your symptoms go away so you forget you have the problem. The advancement of medicine, in my opinion, has set back the quality of our health.

    Isn’t it weird that doctors go to “medical” school? Shouldn’t it be called health school? Just sayin’

  2. William Berry on October 21st, 2009 at 6:11 AM

    I appreciate you taking the time to write this thoughtful response. I totally agree with you, that we Americans are to reliant on medications. Thank you for sharin your personal experience as well, and highlighting how other countries deal with pain differently.
    Thank you again.

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