by Jeff Ball, PhD, Executive Director of PCH Treatment Centers
There is a growing and disturbing trend that has been developing recently that is causing a stir among many in the mental health field. In the past couple of years, TV commercials and glossy magazine ads have been promoting medications, including those targeting mental health, directly to the consumer. Consumers, in turn, reach out to their physicians for a prescription. While well meaning, family practitioners diagnosing mental illness and prescribing medications for it is not the ideal practice standard. It is dangerous and needs to be nipped in the bud.
One example of this is Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine, who is also a judge on “The Voice,” promoting Adderall to treat adult ADHD.
It is estimated that 25% of American adults suffer from some form of mental illness and 1/2 of the population eventually will develop abnormal alterations of thinking, mood and behavior associated with such conditions. This means big business for the large pharmaceutical companies that are clearly reaping the hefty financial rewards associated with this trend… but at what cost to the patient and society as a whole?
[box type=”warning” align=”aligncenter” ]Interestingly, adult onset ADHD is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions and it should come as no surprise that Adderall is fast becoming an extremely popular street drug because it is so easy to obtain. [/box]
Many in the mental health community are lifting their voices of concern amid a tidal wave of promotion by the big pharmaceutical companies to stop the practice of self-diagnosing and encourage family practitioners, instead, to refer their patients to mental health professionals for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Instead of a quick fix in the form of a pill, we are witnessing dramatic improvement among patients suffering from myriad conditions from depression, OCD and anxiety disorders to bipolar disorder, schizoid personality and even schizophrenia through a holistic approach to treatment. Patients benefit greatly through a combination of individual and group psychoanalysis, physical fitness programs, yoga, biofeedback and arts & music therapy. This is not to say that medication is not an appropriate form of treatment in some cases, but they should only be dispensed when necessary and not at the behest of large pharmaceutical companies…or their pitchmen.