15.5 million people is hardly a small number. And even more so when that level of people is all within a single country. But that’s the amount of people in the US who’ve been taking antidepressants for more than five years.
And those numbers can be seen in more than a few ways. It’s fantastic if the antidepressants are effective and perfectly tailored to a patient’s needs. This is certainly the case for a large number of people. However, as a recent article notes, that’s often not the case.
The article begins with the story of a woman who had been slowly weaning herself off her meds for about nine months. That’s near on to a year of constantly going through both minor and major withdrawal symptoms. Saying that’s a worrisome situation would be an understatement. And the stats suggest that there are a huge number of people put on antidepressants who don’t need to be on them.
A combination of holistic, eastern and traditional medicines suggest that there’s another option. It’s not one which disregards science. It’s a new form of scientifically vetted meditation that’s based on the core of Buddhist philosophy.
Anyone familiar with the Buddhist concept of mindfulness should see the resemblance in mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy. This therapy, also known as MCBT, is basically mindfulness medication adapted to a different culture. In another recent study, the results of 8 months on MCBT was comparable to 18 months of antidepressants. However, there’s one major difference. It’s natural and totally lacking in any potential negative side effects.
Again, the evidence is equally clear that antidepressants are the best route for many people. But it’s equally clear that they’re vastly over prescribed at this point. It’s quite easy to see that people are using them as a coping mechanism rather than a last resort. Which is why this evolution of traditional eastern meditative practice holds such hope for people struggling with medications.