posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 04:22 AM
I think we need to not paint with such a broad brush, in either direction.
There are ostensible "doctors" who do have their own agendas and who hand out prescriptions like candy. There are adverse effects that result
directly from the use of psych meds. There are even paradoxical effects which result in precisely the opposite effects to those intended. And there
can be withdrawals, of a sort, from certain psych meds. I can't even, fully at least, fault the analogy of coc aine when comparing it to Prozac,
since they both inhibit the reuptake of monoamines, including serotonin. And I do strongly suspect that there is a lot of over-diagnosing and
over-treatment, particularly of children and adolescents.
But there are also caring, well-intentioned mental health professionals who understand the neurological and psychological impact of the medications
they prescribe, and who genuinely have only the happiness and wellbeing of their patients at heart. Some are even incredibly selfless, working in
substandard conditions, often volunteering their time for free, or otherwise going out their way to help people. There are also clinically proven
benefits, when prescribed and tailored appropriately, to the use of psych meds, for those who genuinely benefit from them. And the mechanism by which
they act, while arguably analogous to other substances known to be harmful, is not identical, nor are the effects equally destructive by that
Before I received therapy and medication, I was not a very functional person, and no amount of willpower, determination, or positive thinking was able
to change that (believe me - I tried.) Clinical depression is not just "being sad," and social anxiety disorder is not just "being shy."
Depression in particular is extremely insidious, because it can take root without you even realizing it. Again, it's the quandary of trying to
separate subjective thoughts and feelings from reality, when typically we rely on exactly that - our thoughts and feelings - to perceive reality. When
I was depressed, everything was colored by it. Everything seemed worse than it was. I had no means of separating depression from objective thought,
because every thought existed within a depressed mind and brain. I had no motivation, no energy, and no desire to do anything. There were
physical symptoms as well. I felt exhausted all the time. During brief periods when I was able to realize something was wrong, I attempted to make use
of organic diets, exercise, etc. to feel better. But their benefits were muted by neurological factors beyond my ability to address
significantly enough to change my condition. And I had extensive ruminations of a depressive nature, as well. I was never suicidal, but I was
devastatingly sad most of the time. The sources of sadness were real in my case (often they are not,) but the proportion was distorted.
Depression isn't simply sadness or a negative outlook. The term "clinical depression" is sometimes not well understood, it seems. What it actually
means is a "depression" (a low, or dip) in particular neurotransmitter levels. The most commonly known (in the mainstream it seems) mediator of
depression seems to be serotonin, but that isn't always the particular culprit. In my case it appears to be dopamine and norepinephrine, but
regardless, it is a physical, neurological condition. Yes, it can be influenced by psychological and even separate physical factors, but that does not
always guarantee the ability to "pull yourself out" of depression through things like thinking positive, exercising, eating right, changes of
location or behavior, etc. And it can be difficult to accept that the problem exists, because admitting it can feel as though you're somehow
invalidating your right to feel what you feel. "Feeling down is not a disease" was my refrain. While I still certainly believe that, it can
be a symptom of a disorder.
The social anxiety disorder is a much more psychologically mediated issue than a neurological one in my case (this is not always true by any
means,) but neurotransmitters still play a role because trauma can lead to neurotransmitter imbalances, especially if it occurs in early
childhood or is chronic. For that reason, the same medication that I take for my depression alleviates my anxiety somewhat, but not entirely. I'm
currently in cognitive behavioral therapy for that issue.
Everyone's experience with medication and therapy will be different. Some people won't be helped by it at all. Some will go through many doctors
and/or medications that produce extremely unpleasant or even dangerous reactions before they find one (or a combination) that works for them. I had a
lot of side effects from the first few I tried, and couldn't remain compliant. My doctors didn't tell me I was being uncooperative or seek to force
me to take them. They changed medications until we found one, and a dosage, that worked for me.
What I can tell you did not happen, is this: I did not lose my ability to feel emotions, or to be creative (I'm an amateur musician and an
aspiring writer.) I did not become numb. I just became capable of discerning between what was actually bothering me psychologically, and
everything being equally overwhelming and crushingly depressing. In short, I became able to see the trees rather than not being able to
see the forest for the trees, and was no longer so overwhelmed that I couldn't function at all.
This will not be everyone's experience, but I believe in keeping an open mind, and I think others should do the same. Ultimately only the individual
knows what will work for them or when something isn't working, but to close one's mind to the possibility that maybe they need some help seems risky
at best to me. But then, there are risks either way, admittedly. I feel that the key is to keep an open mind in both directions.