We started tracking the top 25 psychiatric medications prescribed in the U.S. back in 2005, with the help of IMS Health and their innovative Xponent service, which tracks the vast majority of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S.
The top 5 are below, while the rest of the list follows.
I am not the only person with an anxiety disorder.
Likewise, you are not the only person with an anxiety disorder.
But it can sure feel that way sometimes, eh? Especially on days when everyone else at the party is acting super sociable, but you’re slunked (is that a word?) down in a corner and too dizzy to talk to anyone.
It’s easy to feel alone on days when everyone else seems to be gathering their groceries from the store shelves just fine, but you’re still hovering in the breezeway, leaning on your cart, and trying to muster up the courage to walk inside.
And it’s easy to feel alone at work, too. Everyone else can pay attention to the corporate PowerPoint presentation in the conference room, but you’re sitting next to the closed door, thinking about how far you are from the office restroom, and flexing your leg muscles for a quick escape.
Every time we say “I am alone!” we are lying.
We are not alone in our struggles…and I made a video, just for you, to prove it:
If you were ever wondering what was the most popular treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), wonder no longer. It’s not psychotherapy. And it’s not some medication developed specifically for OCD.
Nope, it’s good ‘ole antidepressants.
Treatment options for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are currently dominated by antidepressants, and this trend is expected to continue for the next seven to eight years.
That is, unless drugmakers step up their future research to develop new, more effective treatments, according to a new report by business intelligence company GlobalData.
Students and life-long learners alike: at what time of day do you usually study?
When I was in college, I worked a few days per week as a campus computer lab monitor. (In other words, I got paid a few bucks to sit in a room with 30 computers and make sure that the printer didn’t jam up.)
I usually worked the closing (read: midnight) shift, and thanks to an incredibly competent cohort of classmates, I never had much work to do. If the printer jammed, the student who’d jammed the machine would usually walk right over, pull out the offending accordion-shaped piece of computer paper, and print their work again.
Are placebos — sugar pills — just as effective as antidepressant medications in the treatment of mild and moderate depression? That’s what a 60 Minutes piece last night tried to find out.
In discussing her reaction to discovering that the placebo effect may be more powerful than we previously knew in antidepressant research, CBS’s 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl says, “I walked away really confused.”
After viewing her piece, I walked away with the same reaction.
What’s an ordinary person supposed to gain from watching this segment, boiling down decades’ worth of antidepressant research and thousands of studies into less than 20 minutes? I’m not sure.
In a small clinical study published a few weeks ago, researchers didn’t find much difference between the three treatment groups of depressed subjects they studied — a group that received antidepressant medications, a group that received a specific type of not-commonly-practiced psychodynamic psychotherapy, and a group that received a sugar pill.
But there were some serious issues with this study from the onset, issues that call into question not only the generalizability of the results, but also their validity. It’s a shame that Reuters, who picked up on the study just yesterday, glossed over the methodology problems of the study, and instead just repeated the results as a shiny new established fact.
And easily lost in the discussion is the best result of them all — 16 weeks was all that was needed for most people in the study (who completed it) to find improvement in the symptoms of their depression, no matter what the treatment.
Let’s see what went wrong, and what the study actually tells us…
“New Cures for Depression” shouted the 1986 essay in New Woman magazine; “Dramatic Progress against Depression,” blared a New York Times Magazine piece in 1990. Its subtitle was revealing: “The success of new drugs is prompting debate on their overuse—and the value of talk therapy.” That story smugly said that the new wave of antidepressants, including the then two-year old Prozac, which took the country by storm, had “proved to be as effective as the older ones and often safer.” What’s more, the article went on to say that these amazing new drugs worked when old-fashioned talk therapy didn’t. Psychotherapy was relegated to the dustbin of history.
Fast-forward just a couple of years. Suddenly, the manufacturer of Prozac, Eli Lilly, was being sued by families of people who either committed suicide or tried to do so while taking the drug. In the next 15 years, lawsuits for other antidepressants piled up against other manufacturers for the same reason: Forest Pharmaceuticals, maker of Celexa; Lilly (again), maker of Cymbalta; Pfizer, maker of Zoloft; and GlaxoSmith Kline, maker of Paxil.
Today is National Depression Screening Day, so it’s time for your annual depression checkup. Are you depressed? Or are you skirting the threshold of depression, feeling low on energy and taking little pleasure out of life?
You don’t need to make an appointment or go see someone in person in order to find out the answer to these questions. Since 1995, Psych Central has offered an online interactive depression test that gives you an instant result. While nobody can diagnose a mental disorder online, it can give you a quick sense of whether it’s something to be concerned about and make an appointment with a mental health professional to examine further.
The quick depression test is just 8 questions and is an accurate screening measure for depression. It takes most people less than a minute to complete. The longer 18-question depression quiz is the oldest one online and is a more thorough screen for depressive symptoms. It’s a little more accurate, and most people complete it in under 3 minutes.
It is an honor for me to publish the following piece by Ronald Pies, M.D., professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Tufts University School of Medicine, because I find him to be one of the most fascinating psychiatrists in the Northern Hemisphere (I’m thinking the Southern is full of kooks).
He always comes up with an intriguing angle on psychotherapy, antidepressants, the psychology of wellness … you name it, and he — like me — loves the intersection of faith and medicine, as is evident in his book, “Becoming a Mensch.” So, here’s a curious piece about why the we might blame the Puritans for the anti-med movement in the US. Let me know your thoughts, because I know that you will have some after reading this piece. I should probably also tell you that he wrote the foreword to “The Pocket Therapist.” I was once yelled at by a reader for not disclosing that … whatever.
These are not good times for Prozac and its progeny. In the popular media, the use of antidepressants has been likened to swallowing “expensive Tic-Tacs”, while in professional journals, the effectiveness of these medications has been challenged, if not discounted. And even a casual Google search under the terms, “Antidepressants damage” turns up thousands of websites and articles claiming that these drugs cause brain damage, induce suicide, or lead to “addiction.” Yikes!
Antidepressants have long enjoyed a reputation as being a quick and “easy” treatment for all types of depression — from a mild feeling of being a little down, all the way up to severe, life-debilitating depression.
But like all medications, they have side effects and instances where they should not be prescribed. Hence their continued need for a prescription after seeing a doctor.
So what does it mean when primary care physicians are handing them out like candy?
It suggests that your family doctor doesn’t really understand how antidepressants work, or what they are approved to treat. In short, it suggests that antidepressant medications are being over-prescribed by well-meaning doctors who are simply not using very good judgment.