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More reasons why Fox “News” is dangerous

The title of this piece by a psychiatrist on Foxnews.com was alarming in itself: 7 Strategies to Completely Defeat Depression.  Seriously? A doctor who states that there are ways to completely defeat an illness about which we know so little does not inspire confidence in those of us who have fought the uphill, long-term battle.

After such a misleading title, his opening thesis is sensible enough:  psychotherapy is an important tool in recovery.  He follows with further reasonable advice: the correct medication in conjunction with therapy can have positive results. I  start to squirm again, though, when he goes on to mention several  antidepressants by name.  Ethical?

Here’s a rundown, point by point, of the rest of his foolproof strategies:

3. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (Mayo Clinic, an organization respected world-wide, states that this procedure is relatively new and more studies on its effectiveness and possible side effects are in order.)

4. Ketamine infusions, which this doctor says he has found to be effective, are still completely experimental and not approved for depression treatment at this time.  I’m one who hopes this treatment will be approved in the future, but it’s highly irresponsible to pretend that it is available for “completely defeating depression” as the title of the article states.

5. Bright light therapy – yes, it’s been in popular use for some time, and does help a lot of people.  It does not completely defeat depression.

6. Vitamins and other supplements – again, a helpful tool for some. Vitamin D gets a lot of good press and appears to make a difference in depression. But vitamins and supplements are hit-or-miss, depending on the person.

7. ECT – this procedure does provide relief from depression for many who have found other treatments ineffective. However,  the author downplays the aftereffects of electroconvulsive therapy, making it sound perfectly innocuous.

8. (Face-palm…isn’t the title of the article “7 strategies?”) This one is titled “Very nontraditional approaches.”  Here he actually suggests that people who get their “news” and health advice from Fox should try smoking marijuana (which, no matter where you stand on legalization is still against the law in most places) or taking highly addictive oxycodone if they’re having trouble recovering from depression. Need I point out the problem here?

He closes by saying that he tells his patients he thinks they can get 100% better.  My question for those of you who, like me, have experienced or lived in close quarters with long-term, major depression is this: wouldn’t it be nice if that were reality?

Yes, we need to offer hope to depression sufferers.  Over 70% of depressed people who seek treatment do find relief.  A combination of strategies can be more effective.  These things are important to know.  It’s important to know, as well, that we’re talking about relief – not necessarily wholesale and perfect emotional health.  And it’s important to know that it’s a continuing battle that for many people will be dealt with over and over again throughout their lifetime.

If you’re living with depression and you need help, please do your research.  And get your medical and psychiatric advice from responsible, reputable, well-respected sources.

-Amy

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