Depression is a mental illness so common that most everyone has a general idea of what it is and know at least a handful of people struggling with it. First instinct of society is to refer these people to the psychiatrist, doctor, or other mental health professionals to get help. Causes of depression according to mayoclinic.org include biological differences, brain chemistry, hormones, and inherited traits. First instinct of the doctors, psychiatrists, and health professionals is to prescribe medications to alter all those things for the better. "Don't get discouraged," says Mayoclinic. "Most people with depression feel better with medication."
In fact, from 1999 to 2012 the amount of Americans on antidepressants increased from 6.8 percent to 13 percent, per the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). NBC News reports that one in six Americans take psychiatric drugs, mostly for depression.
New innovations to improve the qualities and quantities of medication are surfacing now more than ever. Medications are being prescribed at the highest rate the world has seen so far. And yet depression still holds the reign of power regardless of medication as the number one mental illness and leading cause of disability worldwide. Spending on medication has increased by 130 percent since 2006 because depression has grown to an all time high of 15 million Americans. An increasing amount of those sufferers are young people, such as college students, which are especially vulnerable when paired with stretches of anxiety considering the end of the semester nearing.
If science is working so hard to overcome this, it doesn't make sense that the opposite result continues to fester. According to Huffington Post, "most patients taking antidepressants either don't respond or have only partial response . . . success is considered just a 50 percent improvement in half of depressive symptoms. And this minimal result is achieved in less than half the patients taking antidepressants." Furthermore, 86 percent of people taking antidepressants have one or more side effects. It's kind of hard to find the right one when the odds are more likely that they're not going to work anyways.
Then there are those who do happen to find that right medication. However, while 40 percent of people taking a placebo report improvement, just 60 percent taking the legitimate drug saw positive change in their symptoms. In other words, 80 percent of people see results only with a placebo.
That is how powerful our brain is, and the thoughts we believe. That if we really believe it is working and act accordingly in the world, we can heal ourselves from mental disease. It sounds silly to say that if we believe we can make our lives different than they will be, but it is really that simple. We have been conditioned to go looking for the complicated answers that manipulate science and our bodies only to come up empty, or worse, more depleted than before.
Often it is discussed how the Homo sapiens didn't have the same resources as modern man, like the medications so highly popular today. Yet we don't hear talk about depression plaguing the Homo sapiens. Rather than manipulate and escape through pills, they lived simply and coped through focusing on themselves and their environment when obstacles including the ones their brains may have thrown arose.
For some, the medication alone does work. Everybody suffering wants to be lucky enough to be one of those people. But for most, a big part of the battle that often gets overlooked is their own unique roles, attitudes, belief systems and how pharmaceutical companies do everything in their power to convince the vulnerable that they are here to help. And that is a lot more complicated than just taking a pill.