Wednesday, January 09, 2002

DEPRESSION: The Washington Post reports on the rise of drug therapy and the fall of talk theraphy within psychiatry as far as treating depression goes. Here, see:

As managed-care companies demanded a shift from open-ended Freudian models of treatment and lengthy periods of psychoanalysis, the antidepressants were heralded as quick and effective. An important reason they were embraced early on is that they were believed to have fewer side effects than earlier medicines.

In the period of the study and the five years since, the medicines have come to supplant psychotherapy in many settings, even though some forms of psychotherapy have been found to be as effective, and even though the combination of medicines and psychotherapy has often been found to be the most effective of all.

As far as I can tell, the entire field of clinical psychology is in a completely weird state, with people with medical degrees being mainly drug-dispensers and people without them being counselors. The article claims this is a result of insurance companies splitting behavioral care from medical care, which ensures "that the behavioral plans have no incentive to improve primary care and primary care doctors have no incentive to provide long-term behavioral care." Psych ailments are weird in general because there's probably still a stigma to them --like you're doing something wrong by being depressed-- and they're conditions, not diseases, meaning they can't be cured as of yet, only dealt with, like diabetes or something. They mention in the article that the most effective treatment is a combination of talk and drug therapy, so I don't know if that means we need better drugs or better talks.

Then the article has this sentence: "Part of a class of medicines that boosts the levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, Prozac and its sisters quickly came to be prescribed for a vast array of conditions and disorders." What, drugs are feminine now?

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