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Depression in Women: Are We Over-medicating?

Depression in women is becoming more commonly recognized and diagnosed.  As reported by CNN, when compared to men, women have twice as great a chance of being diagnosed with a mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, which may require them to receive medication for treatment.  Dr. Julie Holland, psychiatrist and author of Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy, explained how nearly 25% of American women are treated with medication for psychiatric purposes, relating to depression, anxiety,  and issues with sleeping during the night.

Depression In Women

When women are diagnosed as depressed, doctors seem to be quick to resort to prescribing medication to solve the problem. According to a report given by CNN, there are a platter of prescriptions that get handed to women on a regular basis for treating psychiatric illnesses. It’s curious as to whether they all truly need to be prescribed, or if these individuals would benefit from alternative methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, before resorting to just medicating.  Dr. Holland claims females are naturally more “emotionally expressive,” so if they could first address their underlying issues, instead of immediately turning to medication to “push down emotions,” she thinks the result might prove more effective.

Was self medication the root of the troubles?

It’s common for women who are seeking psychiatric care to treat their emotional and mental condition, to wind up walking out of their doctor’s office with a prescription for a pharmaceutical. These patients are expressing symptoms to their doctors, and instantly, it’s as though the only answer is: medication. Medication can be great supplementary help, but a pill alone cannot be a simple fix-all for every individual.

Self-medicating is a prevalent theme in society today, that seems to be affecting those from Park Avenue all the way down to park benches. There are those that attempt to control their moods through various behaviors such as excessive indulgence in sex, food, alcohol, prescription pills, and even illegal substances. Eventually, self-medicating doesn’t work, and many of these women are left to deal with their mental health disorder as well as an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.

Side effects

Dr. Holland mentioned there are side effects with medications, too.  Some of these prescriptions that professionals give their patients, numb them to the point where they are unable to cry, lack sexual arousal, and become flat with no real emotion.  “Talk about authenticity,” Dr. Holland spoke.  “If you can’t cry or climax, that’s a big cut in authenticity and I think that’s a problem and SSRI’s make it very hard to cry and they make you less interested in sex … less responsive.”  Not to mention, this numbing effect can take a toll on family members as well.  The mother and child relationship can be jeopardized.  Dr. Holland went on to explain, “Sometimes if you cry, it really shows your kid that they did something that’s affecting you and it underscores a lesson that their behavior has an emotional affect on other people, so if you don’t have that visible sign that they’ve done something to upset you then they miss out on, you know, feedback.”

The question is no longer asking about whether a prescription medication would be effective for the individual, but rather which type of medication that individual should go on instead, insinuating that they need to be on it.  This means the choice has already been made about whether the individual should be taking the prescription medication or not. It would almost appear that many parmaceutical companies have society convinced prescription drugs are the answer to any mental challenge.  Although, if a medical professional should suggest adding medication to an individual’s treatment regimen, it can provide excellent supplementary support.  Medication alone may not provide complete relief for the sufferer because it is no cure-all for mental health conditions, and seeking necessary supplementary professional advisement is suggested.  “Our sensitivity and our emotionality is an asset,” Dr. Holland summarized.  “It is not a symptom that needs to be medicated away.”

Mental health conditions are often co-occurring with substance use disorders. Do you think you may have a serious issue with drugs and/or alcohol like addiction?  Contact The Watershed for help. When you call now at 1-800-439-5959, you give yourself the opportunity to walk away from the disease.  So don’t wait, free yourself now.

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