Anti-Depressants and the "Quick-Fix"

  1. From my experience of working in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, I have noticed that often times people come in for suicidal attempts and major depression. An observation I have made is that a patient states they are suicidal/depressed and health care providers reply with, "let me get your medicine." To me it seems like the health care industry promotes the "happy-pill" as the cure-all, and when these psych patients leave treatment they relapse right back into the same pattern of suicidality and depression.
    Therapeutic communication is left by the wayside, and our patients are not getting the solutions they need. To me it seems as if when the pill doesn't seem to be working anymore, another suicide attempt/success occurs. Should it be considered mal-practice to promote and instill in these patients that they need a "med-adjustment," when what they are looking for is answers to real life-controlling issues. Does everything have to be a psychiatric "biological" problem? Do you think it is unsafe practice to prescribe/administer anti-depressants, when an equal amount of counseling is not being provided? What are your thoughts on this issue?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   judy ann
    Therapeutic communication is left by the wayside, and our patients are not getting the solutions they need. To me it seems as if when the pill doesn't seem to be working anymore, another suicide attempt/success occurs. Should it be considered mal-practice to promote and instill in these patients that they need a "med-adjustment," when what they are looking for is answers to real life-controlling issues. Does everything have to be a psychiatric "biological" problem? Do you think it is unsafe practice to prescribe/administer anti-depressants, when an equal amount of counseling is not being provided? What are your thoughts on this issue?[/QUOTE]

    I just watched a Montel Williams show that demonstrated just what you say. There were several teenagers who were prescribed antidepressants (most Effexor) and sent on their way. One young man found himself holding his classmates hostage with his rifle. Another assured his mom that he was just fine, and she should go to work. He hung himself while she was gone. Most of these young people demonstrated the cardinal sign of giving away prized possessions just prior to this kind of act, but no one recognized this as a warning that should be followed up. Sad. All these kids were prescribed by a family doc or pediatrician. None were refered for counciling. Too very bad.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    I agree that therapy should be aggressively promoted, and paid for by health insurance. However, all the therapy in the world can't balance a depressive's brain chemistry, and to treat depression with therapy alone is no better than with medication alone. You need both components for a complete and lasting recovery. Trust me on this one........I've been there.
  5. by   hmccartn
    we need a balanced approach... i dont think it should be nurses offering counselling because most havent been trained in counselling techniques... and there are the realities of not enough time to provide it even if we were trained... in canada the system is inundated and only the most ill patients get admitted and for every other mental health service there seems to be a huge waiting list.. greater accessibility to counselling by trained professionals is a must, along with medication when it is deemed necessary..just my opinion
  6. by   jnette
    Quote from hmccartn
    .. greater accessibility to counselling by trained professionals is a must, along with medication when it is deemed necessary..just my opinion

    ITA. I've seen too many ppl sent home with a baggie full of drugs and nothing more... thus the revolving door syndrome. I always felt this was criminal.
  7. by   judy ann
    Quote from mjlrn97
    I agree that therapy should be aggressively promoted, and paid for by health insurance. However, all the therapy in the world can't balance a depressive's brain chemistry, and to treat depression with therapy alone is no better than with medication alone. You need both components for a complete and lasting recovery. Trust me on this one........I've been there.
    I also have been (and am) there. Unfortunately, the word psychotherapy has gotten a bad name, and isn't often suggested by other than mental health professionals.
  8. by   leslie :-D
    actually, antidepressants are not exactly a quick fix since they take weeks to take effect and there are a myriad of adverse s.e.'s (usually transient) in the 1st 4-6 wks. and i strongly believe that alot of depression is related to a chemical imbalance therefore meds would battle half of the problem. as nurses we need to be more holistic in our approach in addressing someone's psyche as well as the pathophys.
  9. by   mattsmom81
    This is a sad topic for me as I have had friends and family commit suicide, and many young OD's i see in my ICU were REALLY attempting suicide. Too often the appropriate combination therapy has gone by the wayside. Meds alone can be a godsend to some...but most depressives need therapy and understanding, supportive networks of caring human beings. Not just 'better living through chemistry'...which is what the pharmaceutical companies push today. All the ads we see on TV and in magazines push this 'pop a pill' mentality which is so short sighted, IMHO. Our lifestyles today with the too often disjointed family structures and lack of personal connections to 2 loving caring parents have left our children to cope with life in ways my generation cannot begin to comprehend. I see such sad things in young people today it breaks my heart some days. Wish I knew the whole solution...but I DO know it won't be an easy fix.
  10. by   Dixiedi
    The really sad thing it's not JUST in psych!
    Docs are prescribing "happy pills" to anybody. Is it to shut them up because they don't take the pts complaint seriously or is it because they don't have time to completely understand the pts complaint?
    I'd really like to know.
  11. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from Dixiedi
    The really sad thing it's not JUST in psych!
    Docs are prescribing "happy pills" to anybody. Is it to shut them up because they don't take the pts complaint seriously or is it because they don't have time to completely understand the pts complaint?
    I'd really like to know.
    it is my understanding that some of the mds are getting a kickback when prescribing certain drugs (from the pharmaceutical companies), especially the newer ones. that's just one of the reasons.

    but antidepressants should correct the chemical etiology and therapy would complete the exogenous etiology. now i'm wondering if mds still get incentives, the less they refer to other specialists.....
  12. by   teeituptom
    Ahhh the American Dream


    Over Medication


    Dont talk about it, Medicate it

    Dont analyze it, Medicate it

    Dont think about it, Medicate it

    dont treat it, Medicate it


    from one who is old enough to remember when Psychiatrists actually tried to help their patients rather than just push pills like they do now.

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