Concerns over the rate of prescriptions for anti-depressant medications in the United States have been steadily rising for some time, as critics suggest that the treatment option alone is sometimes unnecessary or inadequate, and may not provide long-term solutions. Recently, those in favor of promoting different treatment modalities such as psychotherapy and counseling have gained support from a study based at the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, which shows that while the drugs can be significantly effective for clients diagnosed with “severe” depression, those with mild to moderate symptoms are likely to receive a much greater benefit from other treatment options.
The study was based on the work of six previous studies on the efficacy of certain psychiatric drugs, and forms a more comprehensive view of the potential of such drugs to impact the lives of a wide range of clients. In many initial studies of antidepressants, notes the study, trials are arranged to ensure the greatest chance of winning approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and additional considerations may not be given the attention the deserve.
Psychotherapy and other types of mental health treatments may benefit greatly from the study, as more general practice physicians become aware of the potential for more meaningful care through such services, and avoid prescribing medications in inappropriate situations. The information should also be adequately distributed throughout the public consciousness, as clients have traditionally been exposed to considerable amounts of advertising from pharmaceutical companies positing their ability to help with mental health concerns. While many clients may still benefit from the use of such medications, the prevalence of therapy and counseling for moderate issues is bound to become greater as further academic work is produced.
© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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