Medicating Our Problems
Psychiatric drugs have, for decades, benefited the severely mentally ill and eased the suffering of millions. And psychopharmacology, the study of these drugs’ effects on the brain, has enabled numerous life-changing treatment options. Despite these advances in the field of psychiatry as a whole, the idea of medicating our problems has been proven ineffective.
Psychiatric medications come in several forms, though among the most commonly prescribed are antidepressants, stimulants, and mood stabilizers. They are so regularly prescribed, in fact, that one of the questions most often asked of me by new patients is how long I need to talk to them before writing a prescription. They expect the same experience in my office that so many have had with other doctors in the past — they feel unsettled, they seek help, they get pills. And while prescriptions may offer temporary relief of symptoms, patients are not always aware that they also come with severe risks.