Depression: An all-too-common Illness

by Kindsey on February 18, 2014 - 9:09pm


 The use of anti-depressant is increasing exponentially as is the number of people whom are diagnosed with depression. Of course the correlation between both is absolutely normal. However, more than a few people are being misdiagnosed for depression.

            Christopher Labos wrote in his article “Canadians’ growing use of anti-depressants is problematic” (published February 3rd, 2014) that Canadians, thus Quebecers, are excessive antidepressant consumers; the numbers show that Canada comes in third behind Iceland and Australia for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) prescription (a popular type of antidepressant).However, the medication (SSRIs) are not as effective as we were led to believe since there was a publications bias falsifying the true success of the medication. Also, the SSRIs have many side effects which are, of course, worth it when suffering from severe depression, but unnecessary when the depression is minor enough to be treated without medication. In addition, it is brought to light that misdiagnosis is probably the most common reason for the excessive use of antidepressants.

In the article, “A Glut of Antidepressants” (August 12th, 2013), by Roni Caryn Rabin, we learn that not only Canadians have an increase in antidepressant use but so do Americans. Statistics show that one in ten Americans is medicated for depression. The most common explanation for this increase in prescription is misdiagnosis. In a study, it was shown that almost two-thirds of 5,000 patients diagnosed with depression in the last year did not even meet the criteria for depression. The issue isn’t only that doctors overprescribe antidepressant from which they get a commission; the population asks for drugs just to be able to go through their daily motions without feelings. However, depression can only be identified through “symptoms, […] history and observation”. This makes it hard for family doctors to properly diagnose a person because they can’t spend enough time with a patient to go through all the required questions. Thus, if a patient enumerates some symptoms that could be acknowledged like depression, they directly get prescribed antidepressants even if their symptoms are brought about by the normal process of perhaps grieving a loss

                 The Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research (JSSWR) publishes articles about “social work, intervention programs, and policies”. They focus their interests mainly on how our social and health services are effective. Moreover, they plan social programs and create policies to improve social work practice.

                Therefore, social workers are greatly implicated in mental health issues like depression. For example they must see if the parents are fit to care for either a disabled children or infants. Other cases may involve single parents suffering from depression trying to care for children but not having the strength or motivation to help them. Moreover, social workers also evaluate some our mental health facilities. Thus, they have a great responsibility when it comes to helping out people attained with depression.



I feel strongly about your topic of anti-depressants and I was glad to see your incorporation of Social Work at the end. I would have liked to read more about the positive alternatives to anti-depressants, especially as they relate to social workers. I personally feel that social workers and counselors play a large role in treating mild to moderate depression. This is due to the fact that I have struggled with depression in the past, however I was never medicated. I have a friend who also struggled with depression and was first placed on anti-depressant after anti-depressant, to no avail. Finally, she started seeing a counselor who helped her work through the depression. As of today, she is doing very well and enjoys life much more than when she was on medication. Also, I am currently in school pursuing a Social Work degree, so I definitely believe it is an important career. In your post, you mentioned how social workers evaluate parents and mental health facilities, but I would like to point out that they do much more than that. Social workers don’t just evaluate these distant types of situations, they also work directly with those who are struggling with depression and other mental health issues, so as not to just stick someone on a medication right away.

I really enjoyed reading your article on depression, I work in the mental health field and I see all too often that people are being diagnosed with depression and therefore medicated for it but they are then kept on the medication for a long period of time. I think that situational depression is something to think about and how some people may be depressed because of a certain event and may not necessarily be medicated for that event.
I really liked how you brought in the fact that people are just looking for prescriptions in order to get through their daily motions. I think that in the US especially, people would rather get a prescription rather than work through their problems and try to correct it themselves. I agree that doctors only have limited time to make the diagnosis and I hope that they are not taking money for prescribing and only using the prescriptions for that use. But there are ways to deal with depression other than medication.
Another thing to think about is how people end up with depression. Many think that it can be situational, and that a traumatic event can cause a person to be depressed. Or can a person be born with something genetically that causes them to be depressed in their life. I believe that certain situations cause people to become depressed, and I don’t think that medication is always the answer, simple therapy or counseling can help a person through a specific traumatic event, and medication can be used to help deal with the depression, but it does not necessarily have to be the only form of treatment.

I strongly agree with your article in that too many people are prescribed antidepressants. From my own personal experience with a chronic depression disorder, I can empathize with people who are struggling with it. I do however, believe that not everyone needs to be prescribed medication to overcome their disorder. After several years of being medicated and attending therapy sessions I no longer need to take daily antidepressants. If someone can learn to manage their depression through therapy and learning about their disorder, I believe others can as well. In my opinion, over prescribing antidepressants is going to teach people that they do not need to learn how to manage their emotions, but to take the easy way out with medication.

This brings up some interesting points dealing with the over use of antidepressants. This connected to me personally because one of my family members suffered from depression and I helped him get through it and I knew he was on antidepressants. In his case I do believe it was depression and that the medication did help him get back on his feet and feel better. With such an increase use of antidepressants in Canada and the US; I wonder what can be the cause of people feeling that they need antidepressants. Could it be the increase in societal stress put on by working class people? I also wonder if there are trends in when doctors prescribe these antidepressants the most and when they are most popular to take. I found interesting that you brought up the point that there is no real diagnosis for depression. However, in the last paragraph I am unaware how you can come to the conclusion that social workers are impacted by health conditions such as depression, this was not brought up beforehand.

I definitely agree with your article. I believe that antidepressants are prescribed too quickly to patients. It is hard to make sure that the person is suffering from depression, because as you wrote: "However, depression can only be identified through 'symptoms, […] history and observation.'" This is why there is a lot of misdiagnoses. The only way to ensure that the diagnoses are correct is if we understand more about depression and we can recognize the symptoms clearly and efficiently. We are far from knowing everything about depression as it is influenced by so many environmental and personal factors. However, I feel like the world is making progress in the right direction and that we should be able to prevent and help people from this mental disorder.

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