In this article he shared that according to the Mayo database 68 percent of the people living in Olmstead County (home to the clinic) were prescribed a prescription drug.
I do not know why I expected the home county of the Mayo Clinic to have healthier than average residents. Yet somehow, that was exactly what I expected.
What was most shocking to me was that 13 percent are taking antidepressants and 12 percent are taking painkillers. What I got from this is that 24 percent of the population is suffering from physical or mental pain. That is nearly I quarter of the population!
The thing that really got to me is the high number of people taking antidepressants. You can hardly watch an hour of television with out seeing a commercial for antidepressants, and /or something else you can take when your antidepressants are not working. What is even more interesting is that Paul John Scott quoted the father of pharmacology, Nathan Kline as saying the following in 1964 “Most depressions will terminate in spontaneous remissions”.
He also adds that many people continue taking antidepressants for years because the withdrawal symptoms can mimic the illness.
I have personal experience, having had with a bout of depression and was prescribed medications that created horrific side effects such as extreme sweating, hair loss, ringing in my ears, and insomnia. I stopped taking them and looked to alternative healing such as Bio-identical Hormone Balancing, Yoga, Meditation and Lomi Lomi (Lomi Lomi is an ancient form of Hawaiian body work). I write more about this experience in my first book The Birth Of Wonderment.
What I realized during that time is that there are many things that can lead to depression and just popping a pill may mask the symptoms does not necessarily fix the underlying issue.
I am not suggesting that anyone else stop taking medication or avoid it if they feel that is the right path for them. I am not a doctor. I am a spiritual seeker looking to live my best happiest, healthiest life
As a seeker of wisdom, I have to wonder about how many people never get to the root cause of their depression and just keep refilling that prescription, eventually becoming addicted to the medication without ever addressing the core problem.
It is no wonder that we get depressed. We are exposed to toxins at every turn, our food in genetically altered, we work in artificial lighting in stressful noisy environments, face long commutes in heavy traffic, we are on sensory overload all the time! Add to that, the economic crisis and being faced with commercials of perfect people living perfect lives in what appear to be perfect homes. Who could blame someone for getting down sometimes?
Yet, when someone is in the dumps, how many people have never had a health professional suggest alternative methods of healing? I have read that quite often a 30-minute walk outside can be as helpful as taking an antidepressant.
I know that it makes me feel better any day of the week, just spending time in nature or with animals is a generally happy thing to do. Getting a dog is supposed to be one of the healthiest things you can do. Dogs cost money and exercise takes time.
Acupuncture may help, Reiki (energy work- an ancient Japanese modality) may also offer some relief, exercise does help and none of these have side effects- beyond a sore muscle or two. I find the calming effects of Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong to be soothing also.
It is my humble opinion that we need to dig deeper and ask more questions when it comes to our health. Addressing issues of childhood trauma, post-traumatic stress, family and relationship issues in addition to the generally over stressed, over booked ways we live, seems like a good place to start. This also takes time and energy, some folks simply will never want to open that Pandora’s box!
How many people never really see a mental health professional, because getting an appointment with a Psychiatrist takes weeks? How many have no insurance or insurance that offers no mental health coverage? And when they do very little time is spent getting to the root of things, yet a prescription is written after a 10-minute consultation.
There is also the negative stigma that also accompanies any type of mental health issue. How many people suffer in silence? Even though 1 in 5 people will experience some form of mental illness at some time in there life time.
So, is a pill the answer? Are the side effects to simply be tolerated? Yes some people may need a pill but, it is time to take a closer look at the way we live and make some positive changes for our health. To nurture our bodies, minds and spirits.
I know the path I will be taking, how about you?
Artist, Author, Alchemist