Anxiety And Depression: Find The Root Cause Before Medicating

I work in a private school and take care of an entire grade of students. Of the 66 students in the grade, there are 38 students that are on anxiety medication or anti-depressants. When did we stop teaching people to accept their emotions and deal with situations, and just immediately prescribe them medication?

I’m not a psychiatrist nor am I professional in this field but from my own personal experience I feel quite strongly that more people are given medication to solve anxiety and depression, before delving into the root cause of where the anxiety and/or depression stems from. There are many individuals that genuinely do struggle with anxiety and/or depression, and do require medication to help them with day to day life — I have no issue with that, and if it genuinely is helping them cope and manage with their day to day lives then they have every right to take whatever medication they feel will help them. But where do we draw the line?

Working in a school environment, there seem to be far too many teenagers that are being medicated for anxiety and/or depression. When you sit down and have a conversation with them about what is going on in their lives and dig a little deeper you may find that there’s a lot that they are going through. No wonder some of these teenagers struggle with anxiety and depression — they have so much on their plate or they have been through some incredibly tough times in their lives, but they haven’t been given the opportunity or haven’t been taught how to deal with these situations and learn to cope.

I receive emails from parents informing me that their child’s psychiatrist has recently put them onto anxiety medication because they are just not coping with the school load. What?! When did this become a thing? Teach your child about how to cope, teach them how to time manage, teach them that this is all a part of life and growing up and that things are going to be tough at times but it’s what we do to make it work and how we deal with situations.

I fully understand that there are some people who genuinely battle with anxiety and depression with their every day lives, and it’s been a battle they have had to fight for many years. If medication helps them to cope then so be it. That’s okay.

I deal with a handful of students who really go battle every day with some form of mental illness. It’s been a huge eye-opener, and makes me even more frustrated that parents and psychiatrists are okay to just simply put teenagers on medication because they’re simply ‘not coping’.

Simply prescribing medication because you’re struggling with situations and not dealing with them appropriately… I think we need to reassess. If the first thing a psychiatrist does is prescribe medication, perhaps get a second opinion before jumping on the bandwagon. It sounds more likely that they are out to just make some money out of you.

When I was in hospital during the course of last year, the woman in the bed next to mine requested to see the psychiatrist to chat to her. She had just found out that because her liver was in really bad condition, she was going to be tested to be listed on the liver transplant list. She was sad, shocked, and overwhelmed. The psychiatrist came to chat to her in the room with just the curtain separating us (story for another day) and said that perhaps to help her cope she should put the patient on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication.

After the psychiatrist left she chatted to me a bit and said she was feeling really overwhelmed. I shared my story of when I was listed and that I felt the same emotions too, and they are normal when you have just been told such big news like that. She told me it was the first time she had seen a psychiatrist and that perhaps the medication will help her.

Should we not consider the fact that what she’s feeling is normal? And using medication to numb how she’s feeling won’t actually help her cope or learn to deal with the challenges that lie ahead for her?

There are so many resources and different ways to help manage situations and deal with things. Death happens, shit happens, but sometimes instead of using medication it would help us too to learn how to deal with those situations and find a way to cope and manage. Medication is not wrong, but it shouldn’t be the first solution.

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Bold Brunette

Almost everything can be an adventure • Liver transplant recipient• Learning & growing every day.