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Total pharma quackery: Antidepressant drugs prescribed for nearly everything... even conditions they don't work for


(NaturalNews) While their name implies that their sole purpose is the treatment of depression, it turns out that doctors are prescribing antidepressants for an assortment of other medical problems as well. In fact, a Canadian study recently found that just over half of antidepressant prescriptions written by Quebec doctors in the last ten years were for depression. This begs the question: What were the other nearly 50 percent of antidepressant prescriptions for?

Antidepressants are also routinely given for insomnia, fibromyalgia, obsessive-compulsive disorders, chronic pain, migraines and panic disorders. However, doctors also prescribe them for a number of "off-label" conditions that they have not been approved to treat. The researchers discovered that two thirds of antidepressant prescriptions for problems other than depression were written for off-label – and thereby unapproved – purposes.

This could help explain why antidepressant use in the U.S. skyrocketed by 400 percent in the years from 1988 to 1994 and 2005 to 2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 11 percent of adults and teenagers now take antidepressants, so this is far from a small problem.

Off-label prescriptions leading to concern among experts

Making matters worse is the fact that doctors are blindly writing these prescriptions with no proof whatsoever that they can even help with these off-label conditions. The idea of doctors prescribing medications to people when they have not been proven to work is a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

McGill University epidemiology and biostatistics professor Robyn Tamblyn said: "The thing that's of concern here is that when prescribing for conditions other than depression, often these are for indications such as fibromyalgia and migraine where it's unknown whether the drug is going to be effective, because it's never been studied."

In their study, Tamblyn and a group of colleagues examined electronic medical records by primary care physicians between 2006 and 2015 in Quebec. During that time, just 55 percent of the antidepressants prescribed were for depression.

Among the more than 100,000 antidepressant prescriptions studied, 18.5 percent were for anxiety disorders, 10 percent were for insomnia, 6 percent were for chronic pain, and 4 percent were for panic disorders. A number of the conditions cited – including ADHD, menopause, migraines and digestive problems – represented unapproved uses. Some doctors even prescribed them for PMS, sexual dysfunction, bulimia and urinary problems.

Antidepressant over-prescription completely irresponsible given the potential ramifications

While it might be tempting to believe that no harm can come from giving people "happy pills," nothing could be further from the truth – whether they are necessary or not. Antidepressants have a number of rather scary side effects, and raise one's risk of heart disease, breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.

What's the worst that could happen? While side effects such as headaches and indigestion are more of a nuisance than anything else, these drugs have also been linked to suicide, and more than one mass shooter has been on antidepressants. That is exactly why the use of antidepressants should be reserved for the most extreme cases of depression, and only when natural treatment methods have failed.

The World Health Organization recently responded to research that was published in the European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology showing that antidepressant use among young people rose dramatically in several countries between 2005 and 2012.

WHO Director of Mental Health Dr. Shekhar Saxena said that the off-label use is of particular concern: "These are medicines which have not been tried amongst young people, have no justification for being used widely in young people. There are legal regulations and professional guidelines and off-label use of drugs many times crosses both of them. That's something the World Health Organization is very concerned about."

Of course, as long as pharmaceutical companies are out there exerting their pressure essentially unchecked, the number of antidepressant prescriptions being written by doctors is only likely to go up rather than down. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this epidemic is the fact that many of the problems doctors are handing these pills out for can be alleviated through lifestyle changes like regular exercise, a healthy diet, meditation and spending more time with nature.

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