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Big Pharma Beats Wall Street Expectations - by Treating Mom with Antidepressants


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I just read Helping Kids Beat Depression... by Treating Mom published in the Wall Street Journal. Author Melind Beck sounds convincing, but the basis for her story is flawed.


Beck claims that one in eight women will have an episode of major depression. Where does this "statistic" come from? It is the number of prescriptions of antidepressants written for women. A large proportion of these prescription are written by primary care physicians who have no or limited mental health training. These primary care diagnoses are flawed and should not be included in the compilation of "depressed" people Then there are psychiatrist like Daniel Levin who was interviewed by the New York Times for the recent story Talk doesn’t pay so psychiatry turns instead to drug therapy and admitted that he just prescribes medication because it is profitable. Diagnoses of depression by psychiatrists like Daniel Levin need to be excluded, because he does not engage in diagnosis beyond his bank account.


Finally we have psychiatrists that practice both talk therapy and prescribe medication. These are the only reliable statistics, but such numbers are not published because it does not serve Big Pharma to increase the number of antidepressant medications prescribed.


Beck's conclusion, "we have an epidemic of depression" that can only be extinguished with a firehose of antidepressants. If the premise of Beck's story were accepted and more antidepressants were prescribed to women resulting in one in seven women taking antidepressant medication instead of one in eight, Beck would announce that the "epidemic of depression" had worsened and we need more antidepressants.


I'm sorry, I can't accept another woman's argument such as Beck's that tries to quantify the normal sadness we experience that would respond to compassion, understanding, love and consideration with a murky unqualified gross diagnosis of depression based on the number of antidepressant prescriptions. Women need women like Melinda Beck to be compassionate rather than promote the myth of a depression epidemic and the necessity for women to be inoculated with antidepressants.


Beck's story would better be categorized as pharmaceutical advertising.


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