The first prescription antidepressants were introduced to the American people in the 1950s. Back then, very few Americans were diagnosed with or treated for depression.
But times have changed, and today, roughly 13% of the American population takes antidepressants on a daily basis. And as more people are prescribed these drugs, more research is done on them, and a different picture is coming into focus. Antidepressants may not be the safe and effective treatment that so many pharmaceutical marketers want us to believe they are.
In fact, a study conducted at Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, found antidepressants to be largely ineffective and potentially harmful. Lead researcher Michael P. Hengartner had this to say after their findings:
"Due to several flaws such as publication and reporting bias, unblinding of outcome assessors, concealment and recoding of serious adverse events, the efficacy of antidepressants is systematically overestimated, and harm is systematically underestimated."
Are Holistic Therapies the Answer?
Socrates said in the 4th century B.C., “the part can never be well unless the whole is well.” This is the basic premise of holistic medicine, which has been practiced for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda.
Since the 1970s, the holistic health movement has infiltrated modern medicine, and it is common nowadays to have someone see a regular doctor while also incorporating herbal medicines and acupuncture into their treatment plan.
But it is only fairly recently that people have begun to take a holistic approach to treating mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. And, as in physical health, there are pros and cons of holistic therapy for depression and anxiety.
On the positive side, holistic therapy for mental health can be self-directed, affordable, and does not require the use of prescription medications that come with harmful side effects. Holistic treatments also focus on balancing the relationship between the mind and the body.
Holistic therapy encourages positive thoughts as a means to help bring the mind and body into balance. It is common for counseling and psychotherapy to be a part of holistic therapy for depression. These modalities focus on developing coping skills rather than using prescription medications.
On the negative side, holistic therapies are typically not supported by medical doctors and many people question the effectiveness of treatments. But when you understand that the efficacy of prescription medications are also being called into question, you recognize that treatment for mental illness is a complex thing.
If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you must choose the path to wellness that feels right for you.