Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Big Debate - Tom vs. Brooke

Much has been made on the news lately of the Brooke Shields/Tom Cruise war on the use of psychiatric drugs and I feel compelled to put in my 2 cents.

Funny enough I don't really take either side even though Tom is REALLY annoying me. The fact is I had post partum depression - badly. When Brooke appeared on Oprah for the first time to talk about it, I could really relate to many of her feelings. After a few months of treatment (therapy, exercise, taking time for myself, etc.) my psychiatrist decided meds might be a good idea. So I did take them. The side effects were awful. But they did their job. Six months later I weaned off of them and I know they helped me get over the hump. I wasn't 100% better, but what I was doing clearly wasn't working.

I also believe that as a society we are over-medicated. We are constantly taking medication for this and that. And just throwing a pill at a problem isn't the answer either.

I'm a middle of the road kind of girl. I don't believe in just prescribing something and problem solved. But I don't believe that you should across the board condemn something either.

Look at diabetes. A responsible doctor wouldn't just give you insulin and say, "here you go, now you're all better". He'd talk to you about the importance of diet, exercise, etc. working in conjunction with the insulin. Bear in mind that diabetes is a chemical imbalance.

So why, WHY would we just throw an SSRI at someone telling them their anxiety/depression will disappear? I believe the first line of defense should be perhaps cognitive therapy, importance of diet, benefits of exercise, and perhaps vitamins. But if you're doing all that and still sick, maybe it's time to consider medication. Most of the time anxiety and depression - the chronic kind - is caused by a chemical imbalance of serotonin.

I know because I still have an anxiety disorder. And I'm not on meds. I am trying to manage it with exercise, cutting out caffeinek, getting sufficient sunshine and taking specific vitamins.

In the end I truly believe what it comes down to is what course of treatment works for that individual, and it is irresponsible for Mr. Cruise to take it upon himself to impose his opinions on those who are suffering from this disease.

Perhaps if he lived with someone who suffered from it or suffered from it himself he'd be more understanding and tolerant.

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