When addressing societal ills, the tendency is often to focus on symptoms rather than problems.

Home Forums Clamoring for Change When addressing societal ills, the tendency is often to focus on symptoms rather than problems.

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    • #10870
      Guy NaveGuy Nave
      As a way of provoking curiosity and pushing participants to evaluate their position on particular topics, all forum discussions are designed with a “provocative statement” as the basis for the discussion.
      Participants should respond to the forum statement with strongly agree, somewhat agree, unsure, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree and then in their comments explain why.
    • #10883
      Marley CrosslandMarley Crossland

      Somewhat disagree.

      As someone who has what is considered a more difficult mental illness to diagnose and treat, I have a slightly different perspective on this. While I do think that it is crucial to engage in therapy (this is where trauma is addressed), I do think it’s potentially harmful to suggest that it is the more important solution and that medications are merely a band-aid, that ultimately you don’t need them if you address the “root issue.” I have been in therapy for nine years. I have worked hard to process and reframe my traumatic relationships. This work will continue, but I still absolutely need my medication. Mental illness is an illness, like anything else. And while some people experience relief from their symptoms after intervention and never encounter them again, the illness that I have is genetic and life-long. It is exacerbated by trauma but not caused by it. Half of the management of that illness is medication because I cannot function without it, no matter how much work I do in therapy. My illness won’t go away from addressing my trauma (even if it does give me skills to cope with it better). The reason I say it is potentially dangerous to frame the issue this way is that with many populations of mentally ill people, there is some resistance to being medicated (due to the stigma of mental illness and the idea that we should be able to just get over it ourselves). I *know* how difficult it is to stay on medication, and when not having meds can cause a life threatening situation, it’s really really important that people take them.

      I do want to be clear that I agree with the analysis of today’s society and why so many young adults do not function well within it, but in terms of treating mental illness, both approaches of therapy and medication (underlying trauma/ symptoms) are often critical.

      If anyone else who has been diagnosed with a mental illness has a different viewpoint, I would LOVE to hear it!

    • #10903
      Robert ShedingerRobert Shedinger

      Thanks for your feedback, Marley. I hope you are getting the help that you need. It is important to realize,however, that the effectiveness of medications cannot be determined by anecdotal stories about those who have had good, neutral, or negative responses. The effectiveness of medications can only be determined by controlled double-blind studies in which the medication is tested against a placebo. It is well known that antidepressants fail to outperform placebos in most clinical trials, suggesting the possibility that those who do have a positive response might be responding due to the placebo effect rather than the actual medication. Patients should know about the ambiguity of these clinical trials before being prescribed medication in order to be able to make an informed decision. But in most cases this doesn’t happen. The pharmaceutical industry knows about this ambiguity, and as a result, Eric Turner showed in a 2008 New England Journal of Medicine article that the clinical trials literature on a dozen commonly-prescribed antidepressants has been published in a skewed way. Some negative trials were never published and others were published in way to make them seem more positive than they were. This makes it impossible for patients and doctors to exercise informed consent.

      I am also interested in your point about your mental illness being genetic and life-long. I know of no research that has been able to make a clear connection between mental illness and any particular genetic makeup. If you know of such research, please let me know what it is. I would love to be informed. Since there are no blood tests, scans, or any other physical test that can diagnose a mental illness, I don’t know how anyone can know that there is a genetic component.

      There is much that we are told about mental illness that is not well supported scientifically. We continue to live under the sway of the pharmaceutical industry and its chasing after ever increasing profits, and this can lead to approaches to mental illness that are not necessarily in the best interest of patients. Informed consent means that we must become informed.

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