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Anxiety over depression medication causes anxiety, depression

Posted by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 8:20 PM
  • 1 Replies

Fear Of Antidepressants Leads People To Shun Treatment

by Nancy Shute

11:28 am

September 14, 2011

As common as antidepressant use has become, many depressed people still fear treatment.
Enlarge Amanda M Hatfield/Flickr

As common as antidepressant use has become, many depressed people still fear treatment.

Amanda M Hatfield/Flickr

As common as antidepressant use has become, many depressed people still fear treatment.

Antidepressants are the second-most-prescribed drug in the U.S., making them seem about as common as Pez candy.

Yet many people won't tell their primary care doctor that they're suffering symptoms of depression because they're afraid they'll be prescribed antidepressants, according to some new research. And the people who are suffering the most are the ones least likely ask for help.

There's long been a stigma about mental illness, and though people are far more upfront about depression than they were in years past, that stigma hasn't gone away. Just ask someone who's been turned down for life insurance because they took antidepressants long ago, or someone who's afraid to tell the boss why they're struggling to make it in to work.

But clinical depression is common, affecting almost 7 percent of adults each year. Given that, and the suffering it causes, you'd think people would be hustling to the doctor's to get help. But you'd be wrong.

 

Researchers asked more than a thousand Californians if they would tell their primary care doctor about symptoms of depression. Almost half the people said they had their reasons for keeping the symptoms secret. The No. 1 reason: 23 percent said they feared that they would be prescribed antidepressants.

"There's this anxiety about medications in general," Robert Bell, lead author on the study, told Shots. With antidepressants, he said, that anxiety includes worries about side effects as well as stigma.

The findings were published this week in the Annals of Family Medicine.

There were other reasons for not telling. People didn't think that it was a primary care doctor's job to deal with emotional issues. They had fears about confidentiality. They feared being referred to a psychiatrist. And they didn't want to get tagged as a psychiatric patient. The more depressed the people were, the more likely they were to say that these reasons for not seeking care applied to them.

Bell is especially concerned about the notion that people won't seek treatment for depression from a primary care doctor, because that's where care for depression is most readily available.

"Depression is something that the primary care physician is trained to deal with," says Bell, who is a professor of communication and public health at the University of California, Davis. "I think most people assume if you're depressed that you're off to the psychiatrist, and that's not true."

A recent study found that 7 percent of all visits to a primary care doctor include a prescription for antidepressants, but other studies have found that 25 percent of people with depression aren't getting diagnosed or treated in primary care.

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by on Sep. 14, 2011 at 8:20 PM
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Naturewoman4
by on Sep. 15, 2011 at 8:13 PM

After my sis died at 42, from breast cancer, my two left for college, & separated from my husband, I went on antidepressants for the first time.  I went a yr., then finally decided to give them a try.  I helped me alot!  I went off for a few yrs., then went back on them, but now able to wean off.  I also, took ambien for sleep & xanax for panic attacks.  I don't take ambien anymore.  Xanax, I take only when I'm bad.  Which I'm not anymore.  But, have them just in case.  I think it's good IF you can do it naturally.  BUT, if your body is getting torn up, inside & out, you tried everything else, I'd say give it a try.  For me, it was better than what was going on with my health. 

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