Americans on Psychiatric Meds

Research is showing that American doctors are over-prescribing many of the different kinds of drugs, especially antibiotics and opioid painkillers.  Health care expenses in the U.S. have risen to $3.2 trillion annually as of 2015.  According to a government report, prescription prices combined with over-prescribing are reasons for these rising costs.  Psychiatric drugs were not included in the report however, statistics reveal a clear trend of over-prescribing these as well.  It is estimated that 1 in 6 Americans are now on anti-depressants or some type of psychiatric drug and have been on them long-term.  This is a significant increase that nearly doubled from 1 to 10 Americans in 2011.

According to Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, the findings say that it reflects a growing reliance on prescription meds to manage common emotional problems.  Seniors, women and Caucasians appear to be the ones that use the psychiatric drugs the most.  Research shows that anti-anxiety drugs account for nearly 1/3 of the 23,000 prescription overdoses in 2013.  Several parameters show that mental health in the U.S. is declining, even while prescriptions for psychiatric drugs are increasing.  Suicide rates are at a 30-year high and prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths have become a public health emergency.

Dr. Edmund S. Higgins, a psychiatrist who has authored a number of articles and books on psychiatry has noted that better treatment alternatives are sorely needed. He makes mention about research showing that a single dose of psilocybin, known as magic mushrooms, has helped many cancer patients in two separate studies achieve immediate and long-lasting relief from anxiety and fear of death.  Wouldn’t this be a better answer for this condition than taking those anti-depressants?

These antidepressants raise your risk of suicide while offering little hope of remission for major depression.  This is like adding insult to injury, and many of these drugs have serious side effects.  It seems that treatments that are scientifically validated as being the most effective are typically being ignored.  Exercise is one of the most effect treatments for depression, and one that is increasing as a healthy lifestyle strategy.

The use of vitamins and supplements will boost the effectiveness of antidepressants.  Some found to improve the impact of the medication are fish oil, vitamin D, methylfolate and S-adenosylmethionine. Some diet and lifestyle factors before resorting to a psychiatric drug might be to:

  • Eat real food and avoid all processed foods, sugar, grains and GMOs
  • Increase consumption of traditionally fermented and cultured foods
  • Get adequate vitamin B12
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels
  • Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats
  • Use beneficial herbs and supplements as SAMe, 5-HTP and St. John’s Wort
  • Evaluate your salt intake
  • Get adequate daily exercise
  • Get enough sleep, and
  • Use energy psychology.

Given all of the information above, doesn’t it make more sense to handle depression with some of the suggestions above and alleviate the chances of side effects from these potent drugs?  This is a serious subject and is up to each person to individually take charge of his or her health.

Dr Fredda Branyon