JAMA 11 23/30, 2011
The CDC announced that antidepressant use has increased 400% in ten years. Sixty percent of those taking antidepressants had taken them at least two years. Women between the ages of 40 and 59 were the largest group with 23% taking antidepressants.
This news indicates huge profits for the drug manufacturers but the unfortunate part of this story is that most of the people diagnosed with depression
don’t even have it!
Sure, they are depressed, but just because you’re depressed, doesn’t mean you have depression
. Depression is a symptom, not a disease. Depression is a psychiatric label. There are many underlying reasons for feeling depressed. Everyone deserves a thorough medical evaluation before being diagnosed with depression
. Based on the many patients I have seen, I don’t find that happens very often.
Hypothyroidism is the most common underlying cause of feeling depressed. I find that many doctors do not perform a complete thyroid evaluation. Many are told their thyroid is fine when it actually is not.
Other causes of feeling depressed are nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances and even allergies
. In fact, post-partum “depression
” is caused from a hormone imbalance. I have never understood why so many doctors treat it with antidepressants instead of balancing the hormones.
If an underlying cause is found for feeling depressed, then that is the diagnosis, not depression
. If the underlying cause is treated and the depressed feelings go away, then an antidepressant is not needed.
There are many undesirable and even dangerous potential side effects from taking antidepressants Suicidal tendencies, cardiac and neurological side effects do occur. It may seem like a quick fix and it doesn’t take the doctor long to write the prescription but the adverse affects on the individual taking the antidepressant, when they occur, can be long lasting.
At The Block Center the goal is always to Find the Cause and Fix the Problem, Not Just Cover Symptoms with Drugs.
Dr. Block is author of Just Because You’re Depressed Doesn’t Mean You Have Depression www.blockcenter.com