Monday, February 27, 2012

Preventing and Treating Depression

One of the greatest and most painful issues facing our country and the western world is the huge rise of Mood Disorders (Anxiety and Depression). If you have read my blog before you know that since the Korean Conflict the number, percentage and frequency of people, especially females who suffer from these painful mental and emotional problems has risen dramatically.

People are having emotional struggles earlier in life, later in life and more in-between. This also brings terrible consequences for those who care and love the suffering seeker. The financial costs are high but the costs in stress and lost involvement may be even higher.

A recent study published in December 2011 examines the trends in depression care for Medicaid clients over the past 10 years. Claims data for 56,805 Medicaid recipients who had been hospitalized for depression at least once or who had received out patient care at least two times for depression between 1996 and 2006 were examined.
Costs went up by 30%, but outcomes did not improve.

Hospitalizations went down, but costs increased anyway.

The increase in cost was related to increased use of medication.

Much of the cost increase was due to the use of anti-psychotics for treating depression.

However, despite the huge increase in using anti-psychotics, none of the participants were diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia as well as depression. (Psychosis)

The percentage of people who received out patient psychotherapy decreased from 57% to 38%

The percentage who used medications went up from 81% to 87%

This is striking and troubling. The costs are skyrocketing but people are not getting better. Is the change in treatment because they want better outcomes, namely a decrease in symptoms? Or, is it because those prescribing these ineffective drugs are forced to do so by Medicaid who pays for the treatment?

It is well known among Therapists that drug treatment alone is not effective. In fact, as 60 Minutes reported two weekends ago, anti-depressant drugs are little more effective, if at all, than the client's faith in them (The placebo).

Talk therapy is much more effective than drugs, if it is used together with family and community support.

If you or someone you love is depressed or anxious, insist upon getting talk therapy (C0unseling). Many Doctors who write prescriptions for drugs are Internists and Family Doctors. Insist upon seeing a Counselor or Psychiatrist before you take a drug from them.

Go to our web page and take the Depression Check List found in the free downloads section for a quick and simple assessment of how you are doing.

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