Psychological Self-Help

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of psychotherapy has not helped, get medication from an MD and consider getting another
I must repeat that antidepressive medication and PMS
treatment are important sources of help. Scientists don't know exactly
how the drugs work, but for some people antidepressants are a
godsend. Strangely, many studies have shown that 30%-40% of
depressed people improve when given a sugar pill for the depression,
while about 50%-65% improve on an antidepressant. We don't know
why placebos are so powerful with briefer and milder depressions. But
for deep depression (including weight loss, early morning awakening,
continuous sluggishness, total loss of interest and pleasure in life)
antidepressants are necessary and far more effective than a placebo
(Brown, 1995). 
About half of all people evaluated by a psychiatrist for any problem
are prescribed drugs! Over half of patients ordered to take drugs by
psychiatrists are told to take anti-depressive medication! And, private
psychiatrists, the most expensive kind, prescribe about 70% of all
anti-depressive drugs, not Mental Health Centers or family physicians
or other public clinics (this may be changing as selected psychoactive
drugs, such as Prozac, become popular and fashionable). As
mentioned, the benefits of drugs can be life-saving for some people,
so psychiatrists like Kramer (1993) strongly advocate Prozac for
depression. Likewise, treatment for PMS helps many women avoid
depression and tension. 
Many depressed patients feel certain that their prescriptions are
very beneficial. Yet, everyone shouldn't assume that drugs will be an
easy, cheap panacea for them. Drug companies spend $5 billion a year
to promote drugs. Recent studies, however, using patient ratings and
effective designs, have found that for many people antidepressive
medication gave little relief from depression (Greenberg, Bornstein,
Greenberg, & Fisher, 1992; Breggin and Breggin,1994; and Fisher and
Greenberg, 1995). Even psychiatrists admit that perhaps 30% of
severely depressed patients are not "cured" by antidepressants.
Nevertheless, the point is: millions of other people have gained relief
by using prescribed drugs even though less than 20% of depressions
have identifiable medical causes. Drugs should not be avoided, but the
truth is that many people won't use drugs, and when they do, the drop
out and relapse rates are higher with drugs than with psychotherapy.
Effective drugs (which include placebos) should be used cautiously in
conjunction with psychological methods (treatment and self-help). 
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