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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

APA Urges Psychotherapy For Treating Depression

Do you watch television ads? Some are really clever, they pull you in and make you think or make you smile or even make you realize how you might help suffering children or abandoned animals, they remind you about products that may help you decide what to cook for dinner or that it is time to get your children ready to start the new school year. Certain times of the day many television ads promote health and new medications (complete with a very quick overview of side effects that often make the potential cure sound worse than the medical condition itself). The truth is television ads do work, they do get your attention. When you watch certain ads do you ever daydream about how you might design and compose a parody advertisement about certain products?

American Psychological Association (APA) campaigns for the efficacy of psychotherapy for treatment of depression

Take a minute to watch one of the APA's new videos which encourages us to first trying psychotherapy for treating depression.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, then you can see it here.

Depression statistics in the United States

Many organizations gather statistics regarding the prevalence of depression in the United States population. For example:
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) measures trends in effectiveness of care, patient safety, timeliness of care, patient centeredness, and efficiency of care. Their yearly report is called National Healthcare Quality Report. In 2009 2 million youths ages 12-17 had a major depressive episode, while 14.8 million adults age 18 and over had a major depressive disorder.
  • The National Institutes of Health considers the top 10 chronic health problems with depression being in that top 10. The NIH reports that 14 million Americans are affected by depression.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 1 American out of 10 reports they suffer from depression.

Antidepressant statistics

Consumer Reports (according to their website) "is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. The organization was founded in 1936 when advertising first flooded the mass media." Regarding drugs for depression and anxiety Consumer Reports determined:
  1. According to IMS Health, a group that monitors drug sales, U.S. doctors prescribed $9.9 billion worth of antidepressants in 2009, a 3 percent growth over the previous year.
  2. Antidepressants are the third most prescribed class of drugs in the country, after cholesterol-lowering drugs and codeine-based painkillers.
  3. Drugmakers spent almost $300 million in 2009 on ads for two newer antidepressants.
  4. Forty-seven percent of respondents got their prescription from a psychiatrist; the rest obtained it from their primary-care physician, whom they saw separately or as an adjunct to talk therapy with a mental-health professional. 

APA outlines five reasons to first consider psychotherapy for depression

The APA blogged about their new campaign encourages people suffering from depression to consider psychotherapy before medication. Here are their top five reasons:
  1. You learn to work through your own problems.
  2. No one is taking a side, except to help you.
  3. Your secrets are safe.
  4. Long-term value can't be beat.
  5. Psychotherapy works!

The APA's message is all about providing information and alternatives

In some ways, the APA's video campaign resembles what we refer to as a public service announcement (PSA). Each video is quick, about one minute in length. They don't feature images of real people, but cartoon like characters moving through a world of gray tones into a more colorful world. The message is straightforward and provocative. It makes you stop and think...and that of course, is a good first step toward mental health.

What do you think of the APA's campaign? We welcome your comments.

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