Normalize therapy and destigmatize medication, but don’t forget to be happy
While most college students may be unfamiliar with brand names for cancer drugs, they’re no stranger to names like Zoloft and Prozac. Polypharmacy—taking multiple medications at the same time—is also nothing new on college campuses; we toss drugs around like a rag doll being ripped to shreds by a hyperactive puppy.
But with that rise in antidepressant ads on social media, the normalization of medicines andantidepressants‘ in the New York Times, the mental health crisis demands our attention more than ever. While increasing our comfort level with antidepressants is important, we still need to ask ourselves whether, as a society, we are overprescribing and undertreating. My argument is not against using drugs. I am not a doctor and cannot judge this professionally or morally. Instead, I think it’s wise to acknowledge that by reducing the stigma of prescribing antidepressants, we are increasing our reliance on these drugs with blind faith in their effectiveness, although not enough solid research and more testing is needed to back this up.
In 2020, the National Alliance on Mental Illness questioned that 21% of adult Americans suffered from mental illness and 16.5% of them out of stock medication to control their symptoms. But like the rates of people with mental health problems climb, as well as the number of psychiatric drugs a teenager might have in their system at any given time. In severe cases, doctors have been known to do this unemployment benefit more than 10 drugs at a time.
While studies are not objectively conclusive, some researchers from University College London have claims The effect of antidepressants and other mental health support drugs has no more significant benefit than that of placebo. The long-term effects of polypharmacy in adults and quality of life after medication have not been adequately studied. In a 2022 to learn who compared the quality of life of Americans with depression who took antidepressants and those who didn’t take medication, the researchers found no significant differences. In fact, people can do this even after stopping medication experience Withdrawal symptoms that lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as side effects such as nausea and weight gain. Pharmaceutical companies have to accept the loss of quality of life in the long term.
But most drugs have reduced impact over time. If patient switched to new drugs every time drugs stopped working—maybe use Medicine only tested for schizophrenia, but not for depression or anxiety – the long-term consequences are unpredictable. So, to add to the long list of unknowns, not enough research has been done to know the consequences of taking multiple medications that are not taken for the right reason. Some medications, such as Lamictal and Effexor, Come with warnings of suicidal behavior and growth retardation. Others are added to recipe lists without being effective on the correct ailments. The temporary effect may ease the emotional pain for a moment, but will the medicine last forever? We do not know it.
In my research, I read articles and articles about stories of people – even young children – who keep changing recipes because nothing works. Access to such a wide range of medicines are Physicians have the freedom to mix and match at their discretion. Certainly we shouldn’t blame them for handing out medicine the way I hand out Milky Ways on Halloween — they do their best to help patients desperate for their help — but these stories offer a critical look at the state of mental health care in our society today. A 13-year-old girl went out take Adderall and Paxil attempted to break away from one or the other, which led to behavior issues and depression that couldn’t address any of the struggles she had in the beginning.
Pediatricians and doctors across the country now face a staggering problem: addressing mental health crises. However, the formal training they have receive does not adequately meet the needs of teenagers. New questions arise. What is the mental health crisis young adults face? The causes of anxiety, depression and suicide are so individual and yet so global that there is no single cure. Medications might help in the short term, but they won’t alleviate the social pressures that surround us all the time. Drugs can’t treat everything.
We treat teenagers and young adults with mental health issues like guinea pigs, using mental health to test new drug discoveries. People pay for drugs because they provide a simpler and often cheaper therapeutic solution. Excuses to avoid therapy can be many and varied – too much work, not enough time, or it’s just not important enough to make our priority list. But we still want to feel mentally better, so we take a handful of pills instead.
Psychiatry itself is encased through socio-economic divisions, with drugs sometimes remaining the only option. Brain and mental health treatments are not as readily available as they are often not covered by insurance and most therapists live in more affluent areas with complicated healthcare costs. But that alone doesn’t change the fact that more than 111 million Americans live with limited mental health care. Specialized treatments are significant fewer developed only in rural areas of the USA extraction more traction in recent years, the availability and accessibility of mental health professionals continues and most providers do not work under a traditional health insurance system, leaving patients with out-of-pocket expenses they cannot afford. Treat A major depression could cost at least $10,800 annually. Take this hypothetical example of a person suffering from depression. Suppose a doctor has required like Zoloft and Prozac – the average 30-day cost of both would be $819. Certainly, the exact cost will depend on a number of factors. Now add the cost of therapy, each session of which could cost at least $100 an hour, depending on where the patient lives and their insurance. But here’s the catch: The treatment can’t even do it work.
As we navigate Through collective traumas like the pandemic, our pill consumption continues to increase exponentially. Since 2017, the number of teens using antidepressants has increased by 41%. Almost every college student I know has either flirted with them or is actively taking these prescription drugs; but the long-term effects of the drugs—especially in combination—are almost completely unknown. Writing this off as normal fails to take into account the magnitude of the situation.
Rates of mental health problems are not going down anytime soon. Along with the increased cultural tolerance of drug use, people are Will being more open to talking about their problems and medications is the simple, immediate improvement in the negative and depressing feelings we face. Not only are young adults facing the worst mental health crisis of the century, but neither is the polypharmacy techniques checked enough to prove their effectiveness, safety, or any kind of long-term effects.
The situation feels hopeless, a crisis with no clear answer. But the thought of children and young adults taking prescription pills — handfuls of them — for years, decades, and maybe the rest of their lives should warrant a little more concern and anxiety. People deserve to feel better, but not at the expense of their future.
Sophia Ling (24C) is from Carmel, Indiana.