More from SciAm – Antidepressants on the Rise

Last month Scientific American had an online article on the ongoing and alarming rise of antidepressants. The author essentially concludes that the phrase “disorder” and its rampant use DSM-IV are to blame. He suggests that the phrase “disorders” has a much friendlier connotation than would “disease” and, when coupled with the introduction and rise to fame of SSRIs, creates an unwarranted propensity to diagnose (and treat) depression.

I’m a little surprised to be stumbling on so many articles questioning both the efficacy and prevalence of antidepressants. While I still believe they are enormously beneficial to some sufferers, I have some sympathy for the notion that depression may be over diagnosed and treatments thereof over prescribed.

Whether the symptoms justify clinical diagnosis or not there is certainly much more sadness (clinical or otherwise) in America than previously appreciated. I wonder where it comes from. Why do we seem to have such a hard time coping?

I recently read a book by Victor Frankl called Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl was a Psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz. He pioneered a psychological school of thought that he called “logotherapy”. The prime tenant thereof was that a man who’s life has meaning can overcome almost anything. A typical session would involve a therapist trying to help the client realize the intrinsic value and meaning of their life.

Over 12 million copies are in print worldwide.

Maybe a large part of the problem is our mutual struggle to apply meaning to our lives. I sure don’t know. Do you?


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