Posted by: Emily Hardaker1 MAY 2011
A few weeks ago I found an article in the Guardian about The Wombats’ lead singer (Matthew Murphy) and his fight with depression since his early teenage years. Normally I would’ve continued flipping quickly through the paper not bothering to read anything but I used to like The Wombats so I felt compelled to read the piece. It mainly focussed on their new single called ‘Anti-D’ and the story behind it. Going slightly off topic, I have listened to this song and now my opinion of the band has drifted off into the realms of indifference mainly because the song is just so boring. I mean lyrically it is clever and describes his struggles well, however the melody itself is just so dull that it can’t even be classed as a metaphor for depression. This is just my opinion but I’ll leave you to make up your own mind about it. Back to the point though the article raises the issue of which is better, counselling or medication for the treatment of depression and anxiety? For Murphy the journey went from counselling, to medication and then back to counselling again. His thoughts towards the Citalopram he was prescribed are that while it helped to control his symptoms it was also creating new problems, as he felt numb to his own emotions and became increasingly more self conscious. Thus he transferred back to therapy and from the article, appears to be doing well.
While Murphy may have returned to therapy, I know someone who was also in therapy for anxiety. However her view point is completely different as she believes her sessions to be useless, this may be because of her own prejudices about having a young counsellor helping her. But regardless of this it just goes to show that not all people have the same needs and feelings towards their treatment. Further evidence for this point is that a while ago now, a statistic came up in a lecture that went something along the lines of:
Are antidepressants effective? Yes (46%) No or not very effective (30%)
Recently after reading the fore mentioned article, it started to concern me. Because those two percentages are not that different so if a patient walks in with a prescription for an antidepressant how do we know that the Doctor has done what’s right for them? How do they know that the patient won’t benefit more from counselling alone? As antidepressants seem to becoming more increasingly prescribed maybe this issue should be looked into and people should become more involved in their treatment rather than just accepting what they’re given. I know as Pharmacists we tend to lean more to medication as a treatment but maybe in this case we shouldn’t and maybe the patient should take the lead in deciding what’s best for them, within reason of course. Because as Murphy says ‘Please allow me to be your antidepressant, I too am prescribed as freely as any decongestant’.