Are we over-diagnosing mental illness?

To ease the heartache of her first child’s stillbirth, Kelli Montgomery chose rigorous exercise, yoga and meditation over the antidepressants and sleeping pills that her physicians immediately suggested.

“‘You need to be on this medication or that medication.’ It was shocking to me that that was the first line of defense,” said Montgomery, 42, director of the MISS Foundation for Grieving Families in Austin, Texas. “From the time I was in the hospital to when I was seeing my general practitioner, that’s what they were insisting on.”

Her choice stemmed partly from a longtime aversion to taking prescription drugs. It was also the result of listening to a growing group of psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers from around the world who argue that depression and other normal responses to life’s toughest challenges are too often labeled as disorders — and as such, demand medicine with sometimes dangerous side effects.

Full story of over diagnosing at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Are Antidepressants Overused?

People Overusing AntidepressantsAntidepressant prescriptions in the UK have increased by 9.6% in 2011, to 46 million prescriptions. Does this reflect overmedicalisation or appropriate treatment? Two experts debate the issue on bmj.com today.

Glasgow GP, Dr Des Spence, thinks that "we use antidepressants too easily, for too long, and that they are effective for few people (if at all)"

He acknowledges that depression is an important illness, but argues that the current definition of clinical depression (two weeks of low mood — even after bereavement) "is too loose and is causing widespread medicalisation." He also points out that 75% of those who write these definitions have links to drug companies.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines do not support the use of antidepressant medication in mild depression, nor necessarily as first line treatment of moderate depression. Instead, they promote talking therapies.

Full story of overusing antidepressants at Science Daily

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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Antidepressants during pregnancy don’t raise infant death risk

Antidepressants During Pregnancy Not a RiskIt’s a heated question: should women take antidepressants during pregnancy? Some experts argue for it and some against, but a new study may ease the minds of women facing the decision.

Researchers say taking a common type of antidepressant does not increase the risk of having a stillborn child or losing an infant early in life. The study was published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

"It does strengthen the view that these meds are safer than we once thought," explains Dr. Jennifer Payne, director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Although there is much discussion about the risks of using antidepressants, experts emphasize that failing to treat depression can also lead to health problems for mom and baby.

The study

Researchers looked at the medical records of more than 1.5 million newborns and their mothers from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and other Nordic countries. About 29,000 of the mothers-to-be had filled a prescription for SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – the most common type of antidepressant prescribed for depression during pregnancy.

Full story of antidepressants during pregnancy at CNN Health

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Antidepressants during pregnancy can be tricky

Antidepressants During PregnancyFor years, pregnant women who suffer from depression have been told it’s safer for them and their unborn child to continue taking antidepressants during pregnancy.

Now a new study is challenging that advice, suggesting the opposite is true and advocating against most women taking these drugs. If the depression is severe, however, the benefits might outweigh the risks, so it’s best to check with your psychiatrist or physician.

Experts say about 13% of women take an antidepressant at some point during their pregnancy. Many drugs are called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Taking these medicines while pregnant, however, may raise safety concerns, according to a review of existing research published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction.

Study findings
"There is clear consistent evidence of risk with the use of these drugs by pregnant women and we know there is a range of pregnancy complications that are associated with the use of these drugs in pregnancy," says study author Dr. Adam Urato, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Metrowest Medical Center in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Full story of antidepressants during pregnancy at CNN Health

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/