The psychiatric industry has failed in many ways regarding drug, alcohol, and related disorders.This particularly applies to the field’s treatment of adolescents. In an October, 2011 Harvard Health article entitled: Astounding Increase In Antidepressants Use By Americans, Peter Wehrwein points out some alarming statistics. According to his report the rate of use of antidepressants by adolescents increased by 400% between 1988-1994 and 2005-2008. I repeat: 400%! Some of this increase can be attributed to new diagnoses and the development of different medications but no matter how this fact is rationalized it is still a cause for tremendous concern. When seen from the perspective of proper care for children it is difficult to believe that the number of mentally ill young people has increased that dramatically. It seems that diagnoses have been developed to fit behavior rather than as a true attendance to the emotional needs of the child who needs help. This is not to say that some adolescents do not struggle with emotional or psychiatric disorders or that depression was largely ignored for many years. Many, in fact, do and depression was under diagnosed. The point is that not enough of an effort is made to dig beneath the surface in order to better define the issues a person may be battling. Often people are not listened to. They are quickly categorized and medicated.
According to a survey conducted between 2005-2008 eleven percent of Americans over the age of twelve take anti-depressant medication. This same survey shows that: “more than 60% of Americans taking antidepressant medication have taken it for 2 years or longer, with 14% having taken the medication for 10 years or more.” Equally disturbing is the finding that: “less than one-third of Americans taking one antidepressant medication and less than one-half of those taking multiple antidepressants have seen a mental health professional in the past year.” Not only are scores of young people being prescribed drugs to solve emotional issues, they are not being taught effective coping mechanisms through simple talking therapies. It should come as no surprise that as the use of psychotropic medications increase so does the rate of illicit drug abuse and suicide. Use of medication with certain disorders can be highly effective. However, medicine rarely provides a permanent solution. Those struggling with mental or emotional issues should seek help that involves talking and listening.