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Do we need to be happy?...Coping skills...and drugs


Liz CA
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In light of recent "drug" threads, I am wondering if this Doctor has a point in suggesting that we are now at a point in society where we feel we need to be happy all the time. When we are not happy all the time (and who is?) we are resorting to drugs to bring about a state of happiness.

 

This professional has a doctorate in epidemiology (I am just mentioning this to credit him with the credentials he has earned) and feels past generations had access to drugs (perhaps different kinds) but did not expect to be happy all the time. They accepted life to bring its share of hardships and difficulties and therefore drug use was not as rampant. This person also mentioned that the huge increase in prescription anxiolytics is due to people not learning / having coping skills.

 

This obviously does not apply to legitimate needs for pain meds, etc.

 

What do you think?

 

ETA: I have not linked the article here but will PM anyone with link who wants to read it.

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My dad (a doctor) was visiting me this weekend and said something similar regarding pain treatment (we were talking about the heroin and related Rx pain med problems). He said that before the 90's, eliminating all pain wasn't a treatment goal. That it was acceptable to treat pain to an "adequate" level with lesser drugs and not touch the morphine-class drugs. But somehow the standard of care became that pain must be treated as aggressively as possible, leading to the problem of addiction to Rx pain killers.

 

I know, pain is not the same thing as happiness, but your comment reminded me of what my dad said--that people accepted a certain amount of pain in the past.

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I'm not sure drug use and addiction is about trying to be happy so much as it is relief from pain.

 

I haven't read the article, so I'm only responding to your summary. I think I'd be looking more to societal factors that lead to increased depression and anxiety and illness (modern diet?, more sedentary lifestyles? increased social isolation? uncertainty?...and now that I think of it, I suppose an expectation of happiness could contribute here, too), and to the dramatically increased variety of and access to drugs. Most of our drugs are relatively new, historically speaking.

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I'm not sure drug use and addiction is about trying to be happy so much as it is relief from pain.

 

I haven't read the article, so I'm only responding to your summary. I think I'd be looking more to societal factors that lead to increased depression and anxiety and illness (modern diet?, more sedentary lifestyles? increased social isolation? uncertainty?...and now that I think of it, I suppose an expectation of happiness could contribute here, too), and to the dramatically increased variety of and access to drugs. Most of our drugs are relatively new, historically speaking.

 

Good points. I firmly believe that social isolation in an increasingly high tech world contributes to depression and other ailments.

 

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I don't see any evidence the pursuit of happiness and drug over use are related.

 

People have gone over-board on everything from the beginning of time...drugs/alcohol, rigid religiosity, food, violence, greed whatever. Pick your poison.

 

Have you heard the louis ck bit about telling kids not to do drugs?

 

"How can I say 'honey don't do drugs, they will only solve ALL YOUR PROBLEMS.'" Haha

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Last year while at a checkup, my doctor told me that he thinks SSRI's should be in the drinking water of NY. Seriously. Claimed that they really weren't anti-depressants, but more of a drug to help people cope. Said many of their patients had financial worries...it took all my strength to not tell him what an asshole I thought he was. I live in a very rural, poverty riddled area, and it boggles my mind to think how many poor people may go to him and end up on serious, brain changing medicines.

Wow...just wow.

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I don't know about the happiness/drug correlation. People on drugs know they're not happy. 

 

But, regarding happiness. Being happy all the time is silly, and impossible. I have a book on my to-read shelf called The Happiness Trap - http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781845298258?redirected=true&selectCurrency=AUD&w=AF45AU9631SFN4A8Z3U2&gclid=CLmnoZ6EnssCFRRvvAod4wMF2w- which deals with exactly this issue. 

 

I think being joyful all the time is a virtue. But joyful is not the same as happy. Joyful is making the best of your situation, is laughing sometimes even in darkness, is seeing the bright side, or seeing/creating beauty even in adversity. Joyful is retaining a positive attitude and continuing to have a passion for life/people even in bad times. 

Happiness, however, is fleeting, it comes and it goes, and that's the normal cycle of life.

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My dad (a doctor) was visiting me this weekend and said something similar regarding pain treatment (we were talking about the heroin and related Rx pain med problems). He said that before the 90's, eliminating all pain wasn't a treatment goal. That it was acceptable to treat pain to an "adequate" level with lesser drugs and not touch the morphine-class drugs. But somehow the standard of care became that pain must be treated as aggressively as possible, leading to the problem of addiction to Rx pain killers.

 

I know, pain is not the same thing as happiness, but your comment reminded me of what my dad said--that people accepted a certain amount of pain in the past.

 

As someone who has had chronic pain since the 90s I will tell you no doctor has ever made it about eliminating all pain. That's why they call it pain management. You manage it the best you can. The goal is to use the right amount of pain medication to get your pain to a tolerable level while still allowing you to function normally. 

 

There are a lot of things people accepted in the past that we don't accept now. To say that people should just accept a certain amount of pain sounds callous. Most people, fortunately don't know what it's truly like to live with pain on a daily basis. Every. Single. Day. Most doctors who treat pain patients don't even know. At one point I had a doctor tell me no one should have to live with that kind of pain every day. That's where we are now, and that's not a bad thing. Why should I or anyone else with chronic (unfixable) pain "suck it up and deal" with pain all the time. I do think we should be working to try and find acceptable pain medications that don't lead to addiction or send some people searching for stronger pain relief. However, I don't think we need to go back to You're in pain? Too bad, so sad.

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As someone who has had chronic pain since the 90s I will tell you no doctor has ever made it about eliminating all pain. That's why they call it pain management. You manage it the best you can. The goal is to use the right amount of pain medication to get your pain to a tolerable level while still allowing you to function normally.

 

There are a lot of things people accepted in the past that we don't accept now. To say that people should just accept a certain amount of pain sounds callous. Most people, fortunately don't know what it's truly like to live with pain on a daily basis. Every. Single. Day. Most doctors who treat pain patients don't even know. At one point I had a doctor tell me no one should have to live with that kind of pain every day. That's where we are now, and that's not a bad thing. Why should I or anyone else with chronic (unfixable) pain "suck it up and deal" with pain all the time. I do think we should be working to try and find acceptable pain medications that don't lead to addiction or send some people searching for stronger pain relief. However, I don't think we need to go back to You're in pain? Too bad, so sad.

I deal with chronic pain too. It's hard for people with aren't in pain 24/7 to understand. It's pretty hard to function, concentrate to actually do anything when you are in a ton of pain. It even affects blood pressure. It's not about not being strong. At my best it's like I feel like I have the pain the level of the flu. Without any pain meds I'm at a 7-8 every day. I don't expect to feel perfect or happy every day but I also feel that people shouldn't have to deal with pain so much every day that it literally takes over their life.

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Going by your summary, I would disagree. People have always used drugs. 

 

When the first cavemen discovered how chewing a certain leaf made him feel, he waved all the other cave people over. Heroin and cocaine were legal in the states until 1920 or so. Even after that, many 'patent medicines' relied on unlisted drugs and/or alcohol - they might not have cured you, but you sure did feel better, lol. 

 

Amphetamines were over the counter in the states until the mid to late 1950s, the same decade that gave Valium-type pills the nickname of "mother's little helper" because they were so widely prescribed.  

 

There were waves of opium addiction in the 17th and 18th centuries. Alcoholism in England was at crisis levels in 1800s (gin alley, etc). 

 

And so on, and so on. I'm going by memory here, so my dates may be a bit off, but the crux of it is that people (as a group) will take whatever is on hand to make them feel better. You can think of it what you will, but using drugs is nothing new in any class of society. 

 

Edited to add that this one isn't remembered as well, but tranquilizers were also known as Executive Excedrin (that is, not marketed to or used by women over men). 

Edited by katilac
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As someone who has had chronic pain since the 90s I will tell you no doctor has ever made it about eliminating all pain. That's why they call it pain management. You manage it the best you can. The goal is to use the right amount of pain medication to get your pain to a tolerable level while still allowing you to function normally.

 

There are a lot of things people accepted in the past that we don't accept now. To say that people should just accept a certain amount of pain sounds callous. Most people, fortunately don't know what it's truly like to live with pain on a daily basis. Every. Single. Day. Most doctors who treat pain patients don't even know. At one point I had a doctor tell me no one should have to live with that kind of pain every day. That's where we are now, and that's not a bad thing. Why should I or anyone else with chronic (unfixable) pain "suck it up and deal" with pain all the time. I do think we should be working to try and find acceptable pain medications that don't lead to addiction or send some people searching for stronger pain relief. However, I don't think we need to go back to You're in pain? Too bad, so sad.

I agree entirely! Pain management isn't about eliminating pain. That's why the word management is in there.

 

A lot of people (including doctors) do not understand that happiness is not the opposite of depression. Normalcy is what depressed people desire. Clinically depressed people are unable to use coping skills unless their depression is under control and is being managed well. Only then can people implement coping skills that they already know and to learn any new needed coping skills. A good way to think about it is to think of it like a torn muscle. Recovery may require surgery before productive physical therapy can take place. Then, when the physical therapy starts, they don't do it by teaching a new skill, they start working with basic activities like flexing and walking. That's how recovery from depression works, too. Learning new coping skills without a sense of normalcy would be like running a marathon immediately post surgery. Human brains simply can't make it that large of a jump. Treatment is needed first.

Edited by TechWife
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I think there are some unrealistic expectations about what happiness "is", and people who think they need to be there all the time. 

you don't have to be perky happy every minute of every day . .  face it - what parent is "happy" at getting up with a screaming toddler at 2am?  you do it because it needs to be done.

 

I think the reason so many people have had such a horrendous time with anti-depressants is they weren't actually depressed (which has certain chemical properties in the brain.)  something else was going on, be it overtired, exhausted, mood disorder (not the same as depression), nutritional deficieny, THYROID!, etc.   I think alot of drs can just be lazy and so they prescribe antidepressants instead of actually looking further to see what is actually going on.

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Although I agree, I have to wonder... My husband does operations overseas and they recover without the narcotics that people seem to require here. They are not just putting up with the pain either. They are walking and smiling and laughing a day or two after surgery.

.

 

I was walking and laughing a day after surgery, too. But, I was still in pain. It's ridiculous to think that someone who is walking and is in good humor isn't in pain.

 

 

Edited by TechWife
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Although I agree, I have to wonder...  My husband does operations overseas and they recover without the narcotics that people seem to require here.  They are not just putting up with the pain either.  They are walking and smiling and laughing a day or two after surgery.  

 

I'm kind of that way.  I've had some operations and childbirth and afterwards, I have only taken tylenol or ibuprofen.  Pain meds make me way too sick and I hate the way they feel.  Did I hurt, yes I did but it let me know if I was doing too much.  I don't know I prefer pain to feeling "out of it."  Now obviously, Lady Florida, I cannot speak to chronic pain or what you have endured..

 

I'm just musing.

What kind of surgery is he talking about?  I've given birth twice without pain meds, broken bones, had many injuries that I just gutted out.  I was totally unprepared for the pain I've experienced recovering from this surgery (basically reconstructing my ankle.)  When the anesthesiologist saw the list of pain meds I can't have, he laughed and said "You will be screaming for something when the anesthesia wears off.  What is the least problematic?"  I did not want to have narcotics.  But, I agreed reluctantly.  Well, the take every 4 hours narcotic only gave me enough pain relief to sleep two hours at a time.  The other two hours, I was gripping the sheets and crying for mercy.  It was getting up to an 8 or a 9 (my definition of something that you can't be distracted from no matter how hard you try.)  After a day of that dh finally called the doctor to ask what else we could do (they added Valium, which helped, but I wasn't pain free, but it became tolerable enough to sleep.) 

For the past 2 weeks, we have been dealing with episodes of unmanaged pain.  I still joked and laughed despite wanting to cry but there was no walking around on a joint that won't be bearing weight for another 2 weeks. 

 

I was walked no and laughing a day after surgery, too. But, I was still in pain. It's rediculous to think that someone who is walking and is in good humor isn't in pain.

Exactly.  But, unmanaged pain can lead to depression, something I struggle with anyway.

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I want to read it. Please PM it to me.

The past few weeks I've been thinking about this very thing. Am I required to be happy all the time? What does it mean if I'm not? Am I ungrateful? A miserable person? We are going through one of the toughest times we've ever had in our lives and I am still able to be happy, find pleasure in simple things, and sometimes I cry.

Please send me the article.

I'm around people that have been on drugs for years and I don't like the way they act about 95% of the time, but would they kill me if they weren't on the drugs?

 

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I work in pharmacy, so this is my life so to speak.

 

 

Yes, antidepressants are over prescribed.  No one will tell you different.

 

The problem is that a doctor, can't magically rate the patients level of depression, the support system they have at home, the access to further medical care, the access to basic needs like food, water, and human touch....and when someone is depressed, they often don't have the motivation to exercise, eat right, get sleep, and get therapy.  

 

Sometimes people need to get on meds, so they can even get to the point of beginning to recover. Once on the meds, some people find it is easier to stay on them than do the hard work of recover to deal with the initial situation.  But more often, the same people seem to keep getting kicked around by life and they struggle to even become stable in the first place, let alone move on and recover. 

 

 

Literally, thinking off the top of my head of my patients who are on SSRIs. Their other diagnosis is...or they have a...

1. has a severely autistic daughter at home all day,

2. has a stack of health concerns and is significantly immobilize.

3. has a husband who owns his own business and a daughter with CF

4. mom with a daughter who has significant mental health issues (inpatient care level)

5. recovering alcoholic

6. has a borderline abusive husband (verbally abusive) but can't leave due to $$.  The abuse isn't bad enough to get into a shelter..this one is a friend so I know a bit more about her life

7. mid 20yo girl, whose Dad and brother died 2 months apart last  year and is now alone in the world.

8. Lost 2 jobs in 5 years (recession related) and is getting divorced

9. has 2 Very ADHD sons (the mean/destructive type of ADHD)

10. mom with PPD

11. diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

12. multiple sclerosis

13. bipolar

 

 

I can go on and on.  I have worked in the same pharmacy for 9 years and know my patients well.  I can't think of hardly any patients who are on antidepressants who haven't had something significant happen in the recent past, or who live with a life long significant health issue.  If antidepressants help them get though the day, I will not think twice about selling them to them.

 

In fact, I would say that most of the patients who take them would like to stop.  They just know that it will mean that they are trading the anxiety/depression relief....for a much more unstable life.   It isn't that life won't have happy moments and bad moments, but that the depth of depression/anxiety can get to the point of ruining the happy.  

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Since I work with people with anxiety/mood & other disorders, I understand that often you need to get to a better place where you can utilize some other tools as well. And thank God, we have those meds now. This is not what the article is referring to.

 

This person whom I referenced was talking more about the average woman / man who encountered a rough patch in life and resorts to drugs because of the mental discomfort or struggle it causes them.

Edited by Liz CA
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More people are getting help when they need it. Good.

 

Struggling through is not necessarily a virtue. 

 

This is what I am wondering about. And I want to make clear that nobody is saying people on anti-depressants or any other prescribed drug should quit.

But I want to come back to this issue of coping with anguish, struggling, grief, etc.

 

We are two weeks past the day my bil died from brain cancer at a fairly young age. We are still grieving and there are painful moments and memories that come unbidden and can make us take a deep breath. My dh has not been sleeping well. We could take a little something - I am sure we could find a doc who would prescribe a little "upper," but even though it's still raw and painful right now, I feel we can struggle through this. Eventually, we will sleep better again, and the memories will make us smile instead of wipe our eyes. It will take time but I believe it's time well spent, grieving and remembering. I think the article was referring to this kind of "drug use" and not the kind where you are finally rendered functional. We are functioning, going to work, etc. but we are sad and it will take a while to process. But I don't want to numb this kind of pain and anguish - not because I feel it's a virtue but it will make me grow as a person.

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This is what I am wondering about. And I want to make clear that nobody is saying people on anti-depressants or any other prescribed drug should quit.

But I want to come back to this issue of coping with anguish, struggling, grief, etc.

 

We are two weeks past the day my bil died from brain cancer at a fairly young age. We are still grieving and there are painful moments and memories that come unbidden and can make us take a deep breath. My dh has not been sleeping well. We could take a little something - I am sure we could find a doc who would prescribe a little "upper," but even though it's still raw and painful right now, I feel we can struggle through this. Eventually, we will sleep better again, and the memories will make us smile instead of wipe our eyes. It will take time but I believe it's time well spent, grieving and remembering. I think the article was referring to this kind of "drug use" and not the kind where you are finally rendered functional. We are functioning, going to work, etc. but we are sad and it will take a while to process. But I don't want to numb this kind of pain and anguish - not because I feel it's a virtue but it will make me grow as a person.

I am so sorry for your loss.

 

I don't think your situation is one where people are seeking drugs. You are standing two weeks after a loss, experiencing normal grief. Someone who has underlying issues might not be functional and may not have the ability to cope, not necessarily due to "lack of skill', bit not being healthy enough to use normal coping skills. I could see that person looking for relief, whether it be counseling and/or appropriate pharmacological medication. Or, of those are not available (or seem so) turning to inappropriate use of alcohol, pharmacology or illegal drugs.

 

Then there are those who become clinically depressed, not bouncing back due to differences in brain chemistry. I have been in this category. I wasn't emotionally healthy enough before my dad died and equated grief with an eventual slide into depression so o coped by not dealing with it ... Which, not surprisingly, lead to the very depression I was trying to avoid.

 

I hope this makes sense. I am awake due to pain from surgery. I'm getting it back under control with appropriate use of medication and repositioning pillows, but having trouble falling asleep and came here a distraction from the pain.

 

Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk

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I would just like to add my .02 as someone who takes antidepressants. There is/was no major trauma in my life. The first time the thought of suicide occurred to me, I was in the 6th grade. Now, I did not have a perfect home life- but there was no abuse or anything. The first time I was treated for depression was during college. I had friends, I was doing well in my classes, I had a boyfriend, everything was roses- until I couldn't drag myself out of bed anymore. I had to call my parents, they came and took me home. I got on meds, and went back to school the next year. There was nothing bad in my life at all. Since then, I have had times that are worse than others. I'll be fine for awhile and then not so much. I've learned to pay attention to the early signs that I need to change/get back on my meds. These times have no correlation to what is going on in my life at the time.

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I have been unmedicated and undermedicated for (over the course of many years) pain, depression, anxiety, and ADHD, primarily due to my fear of being pegged as a drug seeker, because there is this stigma.  I've never considered meds to make me happy.  Therapy and introspection taught me about happy.  But it sure would be nice if my brain chemistry would get on board.

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This is what I am wondering about. And I want to make clear that nobody is saying people on anti-depressants or any other prescribed drug should quit.

But I want to come back to this issue of coping with anguish, struggling, grief, etc.

 

We are two weeks past the day my bil died from brain cancer at a fairly young age. We are still grieving and there are painful moments and memories that come unbidden and can make us take a deep breath. My dh has not been sleeping well. We could take a little something - I am sure we could find a doc who would prescribe a little "upper," but even though it's still raw and painful right now, I feel we can struggle through this. Eventually, we will sleep better again, and the memories will make us smile instead of wipe our eyes. It will take time but I believe it's time well spent, grieving and remembering. I think the article was referring to this kind of "drug use" and not the kind where you are finally rendered functional. We are functioning, going to work, etc. but we are sad and it will take a while to process. But I don't want to numb this kind of pain and anguish - not because I feel it's a virtue but it will make me grow as a person.

I would echo Dirty Ethel's view. I am very sorry for your loss. As far as I can tell from here, you are an intelligent and mentally healthy woman, most likely with many resources to support you in grief. So yes, it is likely you don't need medications to be functional.

 

When I was on an SSRI, it wasn't so I could feel only happiness. That was neither the expectation nor the result. The real reason to be on it was complications of grief that left me unable to cope with loss as a healthy and well-supported individual would. Add to that some in-born tendency towards anxiety and obsessions and this made me actually an excellant candidate for the medication I took.

 

Untreated anxiety and depression benefits nobody. If the remedy for that is being on a prescription (and very inexpensive) for a period of time, or a few years, this is a much better scenario for the nation as a whole. Much better than people who cannot function as contributing members of societymuddling through it simply to stand against drug use.

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I don't see any evidence the pursuit of happiness and drug over use are related.

 

People have gone over-board on everything from the beginning of time...drugs/alcohol, rigid religiosity, food, violence, greed whatever. Pick your poison.

 

Have you heard the louis ck bit about telling kids not to do drugs?

 

"How can I say 'honey don't do drugs, they will only solve ALL YOUR PROBLEMS.'" Haha

 

I don't either.  And hello, years and years ago wasn't stuff like valium "the" coping drug of homemakers?

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I think posters are talking about a few different things on this thread.  It can be important not to confuse them.

 

I suspect most agree there are times when depression (or similar issues) is a chemical imbalance and wouldn't think any less of someone needing meds than someone needing insulin for diabetes.

 

Then there's pain.  I'll be the first to admit an ongoing pain can easily lead to mental issues.  Short pains?  Many can tough those out (and there's no shame in not doing that if one chooses).  

 

Ongoing pain?  I have tons more empathy for those dealing with it.  Use what you need and hopefully it will work.  Since meds haven't worked for me, I'm glad my body has something going on that has gotten rid of the pain even though the issues are still there.  I've no clue if it's a good thing or bad thing it's doing.  I don't care.  I'm grateful!  With variable things I get through the bad days by reminding myself better days will follow.  If one doesn't have that to fall back on, what do people expect them to do?

 

I doubt anyone who has dealt with ongoing pain will ever seriously criticize people's choices.  Those who criticize are likely those who haven't BTDT.  They just think they know it all.

 

Other mental issues?  Grief/blues/etc.  I think we all handle those differently.  I love to get outside and hike/spend time with ponies or travel.  That doesn't help others.  I don't criticize them because they get more stressed in the Great Outdoors.  Why should I criticize them because they have found something else that works for them (drugs/running/cleaning)?  Do I want them to criticize me because I don't choose their method?  (Some do, but I ignore them.)

Edited by creekland
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I think posters are talking about a few different things on this thread.  It can be important not to confuse them.

 

I suspect most agree there are times when depression (or similar issues) is a chemical imbalance and wouldn't think any less of someone needing meds than someone needing insulin for diabetes.

 

Then there's pain.  I'll be the first to admit an ongoing pain can easily lead to mental issues.  Short pains?  Many can tough those out (and there's no shame in not doing that if one chooses).  

 

Ongoing pain?  I have tons more empathy for those dealing with it.  Use what you need and hopefully it will work.  Since meds haven't worked for me, I'm glad my body has something going on that has gotten rid of the pain even though the issues are still there.  I've no clue if it's a good thing or bad thing it's doing.  I don't care.  I'm grateful!  With variable things I get through the bad days by reminding myself better days will follow.  If one doesn't have that to fall back on, what do people expect them to do?

 

I doubt anyone who has ever dealt with ongoing pain will ever seriously criticize people's choices.  Those who criticize are likely those who haven't BTDT.  They just think they know it all.

 

Other mental issues?  Grief/blues/etc.  I think we all handle those differently.  I love to get outside and hike/spend time with ponies or travel.  That doesn't help others.  I don't criticize them because they get more stressed in the Great Outdoors.  Why should I criticize them because they have found something else that works for them (drugs/running/cleaning)?  Do I want them to criticize me because I don't choose their method?  (Some do, but I ignore them.)

 

You know the saying, "You've got everything if you've got your health."  Or whatever that saying is exactly.  So so so true and you know it when you are in pain.  After my second kid I was in DIRE pain.  DIRE does not scratch the surface.  I couldn't get comfortable in any position.  My back was killing me.  I had gone to a few doctors who either wrote me scripts for pain pills or completely dismissed me.  That is no way to live.  I was desperate.   Thankfully I managed to find some help before I did anything too stupid. 

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I think there is some truth to the idea that people are very uncomfortable with things like grief, and other kinds of "normal" depression. I don't agree that people do not seek medication for such things or that doctors don't give it.

 

There seems to have been a period where people were looking at any kind of trauma or serious stress as something requiring special intervention. Things like incidents in schools where all the kids were being offered concealing as a matter of course. What they seem to have discovered though is that medicalizing such processes can determine how people perceive them.

Similarly there seem to be advantages to coming through a depression without drugs in terms of resilience and how likely a recurrence is.

It may be that we are becoming more aware of these limitations but I suspect part of the difficulty is loss of social structures to deal with such problems. We know the very best way to prevent depression from becoming a problem is community life, even when it is biological. But we don't look seriously at addressing that, in part I think because we are disinclined to admit that the two are so closely related - our view of the body is essentially mechanistic. And dependence on social solutions offends our sense of independence. (Not to mention it might affect things like the mobile workforce.)

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People as a general rule don't get antidepressants if they are sad for a few weeks. It has to be longer and more pervasive than that. 

 

Now, after a death, if someone can't sleep at all, and is unable to function safely because of it...say would be a danger on the road or unable to work due to not sleeping, a doctor may prescribe a sleep aid, or some anti anxiety medication. And I think that is a good thing. But I've not heard of using antidepressants for shorter term issues.

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People as a general rule don't get antidepressants if they are sad for a few weeks. It has to be longer and more pervasive than that.

 

Now, after a death, if someone can't sleep at all, and is unable to function safely because of it...say would be a danger on the road or unable to work due to not sleeping, a doctor may prescribe a sleep aid, or some anti anxiety medication. And I think that is a good thing. But I've not heard of using antidepressants for shorter term issues.

Yep. In fact, I remember when I did seek treatment for my issues finding it ironic that I had to be proactive enough to "prove" that I needed help at a time when my mental resources to do that hoop-jumping were already taxed. I had to call multiple people and go to multiple doctor appointments to get an "official" diagnosis before I could have insurance-covered treatments. I remember thinking how odd that was that a person with taxed emotional coping skills had to manage this stress of arranging appointments and getting to them and making phone calls (which I would almost rather endure any kind of misery over dealing with company representatives on the phone.) Crazy!

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But was that a good thing? My mom took Valium from Friday to Sunday when I was little, to " cope" with 3 kids. Basically she slept a lot and talked funny. Taking a drug to cope with basic life like that is shitty. it was overprescribed back then( so popular, try it!) the same as certain drugs are overprescribed now. I also put partial blame on the amount of marketing for meds. I don't think it's done lot this extent in the rest of the world.

 

No my point was the whole "looking for happiness" thing is not new.  We haven't suddenly become less tolerant of suffering, boredom, depression, and unrealistic expectations.

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I am not against medication for mental/emotional issues.  However, I feel this is a field where the competence and integrity of the doctor is extremely important.  The ability to distinguish "not as happy as I want to be" from "always miserable and treatable."  Willingness to prescribe non-drug alternatives first.

 

I do know people who have tried going the drug-free way for many years, trying everything, and ultimately settled on (prescribed) drugs.  They are convinced the drugs are right for them / their loved ones, and I believe them, because they didn't take the easy way first.  Then there are others who have been quickly talked into drugs (or even asked for them), and pretty soon they are on multiple drugs, and the drugs cause side-effects which require additional drugs to treat them, and then you have drug interaction issues ....  And it's not like these people are so ecstatic with the results that it's all worth it.  But at some point, you can't just start over.

 

Personally I tend to be an even-keeled person, but I've had my ups and downs.  I have found that for me, yoga helps, chiropractic helps, vitamin D helps, communication helps, taking a step back and re-organizing my life helps.  Sometimes none of my bag of tricks seems to help.  I have had people suggest I look into drugs, even though I very rarely complain about how I feel.  I have no doubt I could get drugs if I wanted to.  I wonder how many people who are on drugs would be better served by doctors who knew how to say "no."

Edited by SKL
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Ok. Maybe we haven't, but now there's a ton of new pills and practices targeting us that can be deadly if not used properly. That's my worry, over prescription for the wrong people and wrong diagnosis.

A year after Ken had heart bypass his PCP offered him Lexapro. Why? He sees him twice a year, maybe 10 minutes each to go over blood tests. Dh told him he didn't have the energy or stamina like pre surgery, and that his chest and legs( where they removed veins) still hurt. He is not depressed, even told the doctor that. WTF? This anti psych drug will make him hurt less, or cope with the fact he's not the man he was before a heart attack? I honestly believe the doctor is not unusual this way, they can get kickbacks from drug companies, they think people want a pill, or they really don't care, or they're too lazy. There's a reason Big Pharma makes a killing in this country, and I really don't believe it's because we are a nation of anxiety riddled, depressed, or psychotics.

Some antidepressants are used to manage pain. If your husband didn't understand why it was being recommended, he could have asked for clarification.

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Ok. Maybe we haven't, but now there's a ton of new pills and practices targeting us that can be deadly if not used properly. That's my worry, over prescription for the wrong people and wrong diagnosis.

A year after Ken had heart bypass his PCP offered him Lexapro. Why? He sees him twice a year, maybe 10 minutes each to go over blood tests. Dh told him he didn't have the energy or stamina like pre surgery, and that his chest and legs( where they removed veins) still hurt. He is not depressed, even told the doctor that. WTF? This anti psych drug will make him hurt less, or cope with the fact he's not the man he was before a heart attack? I honestly believe the doctor is not unusual this way, they can get kickbacks from drug companies, they think people want a pill, or they really don't care, or they're too lazy. There's a reason Big Pharma makes a killing in this country, and I really don't believe it's because we are a nation of anxiety riddled, depressed, or psychotics.

 

I agree.  I think part of that is when we go to a doctor the expectation is we want to be treated or expect something.  It's why I don't go to a doctor very often.  I don't want to be treated for anything.  I could go there feeling fine, have a physical, and be told some number is off a bit so here are some pills.  I don't want that. 

 

I don't know if they get kickbacks.  They get perks, but I'm not sure if doctors get paid exactly. 

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But at some point, you can't just start over."

This is not true. Doctors help patients do this all of the time. It is very common to taper down medications to nothing to see what the patients baseline is. Depending on the needs of the patient, no medications are reintroduced, some or all of the same medications are gradually reintroduced or new medications are gradually introduced.

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This is not true. Doctors help patients do this all of the time. It is very common to taper down medications to nothing to see what the patients baseline is. Depending on the needs of the patient, no medications are reintroduced, some or all of the same medications are gradually reintroduced or new medications are gradually introduced.

 

Sure, but the damaging side effects can't always be reversed.

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Not meeting an unreasonable expectation "to be happy all the time" is a huge gaping Grand Canyon pit of difference from clinical depression for which medication is appropriate. Anyone who doesn't understand that 1. has probably never been clinically depressed (not that this is necessary to understand this fact), and 2. probably should not be prescribing antidepressants.

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We are functioning, going to work, etc. but we are sad and it will take a while to process. But I don't want to numb this kind of pain and anguish - not because I feel it's a virtue but it will make me grow as a person.

I'm sorry for your loss :( you are still functional under grief and that does make a difference.

 

My dad is predisposed to situational depression. He pukes, can't eat, lose a lot of weight in those instances. He gets close monitoring and a few days dosage at a time for temporary antidepressants that he has taken in the past. He is not in the states though so medical care and level of care is very different in my home country.

Edited by Arcadia
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A year after Ken had heart bypass his PCP offered him Lexapro. Why? He sees him twice a year, maybe 10 minutes each to go over blood tests. Dh told him he didn't have the energy or stamina like pre surgery, and that his chest and legs( where they removed veins) still hurt. He is not depressed, even told the doctor that. WTF? This anti psych drug will make him hurt less, or cope with the fact he's not the man he was before a heart attack? I honestly believe the doctor is not unusual this way, they can get kickbacks from drug companies, they think people want a pill, or they really don't care, or they're too lazy. There's a reason Big Pharma makes a killing in this country, and I really don't believe it's because we are a nation of anxiety riddled, depressed, or psychotics.

 

I had a similar experience with my primary doc, but it seems it was a gender issue. When dh told him he was tired all the time, the doctor ordered a sleep study. When I told him I was tired all the time he prescribed Celexa. What? I'm not depressed I said. Try it, he said. I did. It made me more tired. When I told him that he was surprised, and said he should have given me energy (is this what the drug rep told him?). Maybe if I was clinically depressed and actually had that chemical imbalance that's how it would have affected me. As a not-depressed person it just turned me into a zombie. 

 

Why did that doctor approach our issues so differently? In my case he didn't order any kind of tests but went straight to the Rx. Women do get prescribed these medications more often than men. It probably works both ways. Besides women being prescribed medications they don't need, there are likely undiagnosed men who don't get the medications they do need. 

 

Needless to say, both dh and I switched primary doctors. Dh did eventually get a sleep study but won't wear his C-pap. My tiredness is apparently from his snoring waking me/keeping me awake. So, both of us are still not sleeping well. Neither of us needed depression meds however.

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I don't either.  And hello, years and years ago wasn't stuff like valium "the" coping drug of homemakers?

 

Yes , it was in some circles. The "Mother's Little Helper" phrase was coined by an artist.

 

I totally agree that some people truly need the help they are getting from SSRI's and similar but I am not thinking so much about RX drugs. More like someone who at one time was prescribed something and then figured that it produced a nice effect and the goal was not anymore to possibly get off the drug when possible but to just take the drug and not go through the growth process - like Tap mentioned up thread.

This proves to be a difficult thing to disseminate and articulate because nobody wants to malign people who are really in need of medication, yet it's not just the "young and ignorant" anymore who do meth or illegally procure oxy.

Edited by Liz CA
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Yes , it was in some circles. The "Mother's Little Helper" phrase was coined by an artist.

 

I totally agree that some people truly need the help they are getting from SSRI's and similar but I am not thinking so much about RX drugs. I am wondering about the person who spends time and resources obtaining such devastating drugs as meth (I have only seen horrible consequences from meth), cocaine or heroin in order to either suppress their CNS or get an upper effect. Or someone who at one time was prescribed something and then figured that it produced a nice effect and the goal was not anymore to possibly get off the drug when possible but to just take the drug and not go through the growth process - like Tap mentioned up thread.

This proves to be a difficult thing to disseminate and articulate because nobody wants to malign people who are really in need to medication, yet it's not just the "young and ignorant" anymore who do meth or illegally procure oxy.

 

Actual addiction isn't about trying to get happy, either. It's more complicated than that. 

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Pain and depression are often interrelated.

 

I do think there's an expectation that people be on and happy all the time.

 

But as a PP said, I do not think we should confuse that from the kind of depression and other illnesses that can come from living a modern life, with our sedentary indoor lifestyles (often necessary to make a living), etc.

 

 

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Yes , it was in some circles. The "Mother's Little Helper" phrase was coined by an artist.

 

There was also basically speed in pill form known as "Black Beauties" that were prescribed to give, from what I understand, SAHMs and wives svelte figures and energy to get through the day.

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Last year while at a checkup, my doctor told me that he thinks SSRI's should be in the drinking water of NY. 

 

 

All sorts of things probably already ARE in the water of all sorts of places. Even short of things that make the news like the water in Flint, Michigan. And it may be part of what is affecting all sorts of things, health, emotions, etc.

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Sure, but the damaging side effects can't always be reversed.

There aren't usually any damaging side effects. Most of the side effects are temporary and resolve within a few weeks. The medications that do have long term side effects are used for the more involved patients who have not been successful on other medications. Specialists prescribe these medications and together with the patient they weigh the benefits of stable health against the cost of side effects.

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There was an interview on NPR this morning (here in Oregon anyway) with a member of the OR legislature who is also a doctor--orthopedic surgeon I think--and they were talking about this very issue (though I really think we have more than one issue being discussed in this thread). He was speaking about heroin overdoses and how they are connected to patients getting hooked on Rx meds for pain first. And he spoke about how doctors, himself included, were way over-prescribing these starting in the late nineties without realizing the long-term harm that could come to some patients. He said he's way more careful now to look at how many doses he prescribes, how his patient is weaned off, etc.

 

This thread is really pulling in too many topics--happiness, pain-relief, depression, what one particular patient needs vs. what is happening in a larger societal pattern. I'm not speaking about any particular patient's needs, nor about happiness or depression, but specifically that too many people are given prescriptions for morphine-related pain meds without enough oversight, education, or consideration of other alternatives first. This is at a societal level and the evidence is in the prescription pain-med/heroin abuse and overdose problems being seen nationwide.

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