According to the article Too Many Meds. Americas Love Affair With Prescription Medication, Americans today take too much medications, which in many cases is unneeded, and I definitely agree. What stood out the most to me in this article is the first example, the lady who took anxiety medication, then Adderall to treat the side effect of the anxiety medication, then more medications to treat the side effect of the second drug, and so on. I have a personal experience with mental illness, though not the same type of mental illness as the lady in the article.
I was very lost, unsure of myself, did not know which direction to take, felt like I cannot do anything at all. I was told that it sounds like symptoms of depression, and the psychologist asked me if I want to try antidepressants. I did not want to take them, because I was afraid that I would grow dependent on them. There are two types of dependence: physical and psychological.
Narcotic drugs cause physical dependence, but I was afraid that I would get psychological dependence if I take drugs. In my case the drugs probably would be effective for my symptoms, being unhappy, but only temporarily. They would not do anything about the reason why I was unhappy, they would only mask this feeling of unhappiness by making me feel fine temporarily, but making the underlying problems worse. I think I made the right choice when I told my doctor that I want to try therapy first.
I am not completely happy with my life right now, but I made some changes, and there is definitely progress. The thing is, the first thing the doctor told me when they decided I was depressed is offer medication. I had to be very vocal about not wanting medication, only then I was offered an alternative.
The video Money Talks, Profit Before Patient Safety demonstrates why it is so easy for the doctors to prescribe more medications. I already suspected that there are a lot of salesmen trying to convince doctors to use their companys medication, but what surprised me the most was the number. According to the video, there are 80,000 salesmen from pharmaceutical companies in the US, which is 1 for every 4 doctors. 1 for every 4 doctors, that is ridiculous! There is no way it could possibly make them any money, but I guess it does, since they do not decrease their sales staff. I remember when I worked in a research lab in a university, my job included ordering reagents, and there were salesmen too, going into the labs, demonstrating their products, asking if there is any chance our lab uses certain equipment, organizing product demonstrations (with free food, of course). I also remember the person who trained me for the job told me that the most expensive resource our lab has is people, and he meant it literally. The salaries were where most of the money went, not reagents or equipment. When I heard that pharmaceutical companies have that many salespeople, my first thought was, but people are the most expensive resource! Even though it could only have been true for a small research lab in the university, not for pharmaceutical companies, that still is a lot of people they need to have and pay salaries to. This really is like an arms race, except its salespeople from pharmaceutical companies, instead of weapons in different countries.