Two interesting — and unrelated — stories about treating depression are in the news today.
A new analysis of phone therapy research by Northwestern University shows that when patients receive psychotherapy for depression over the phone, more than 90 percent continue with it, according to the New York Times.
Perhaps it’s a sign of our non-face-to-face generation but the number of people who dropped therapy after getting it by phone was only 7.6 percent, compared to 50-percent for the in-person kind, which few people apparently want anyway. Among patients who say they want psychotherapy, the story says, only 20 percent actually show up for it,and half of those drop out.
Therapy, massage, and other techniques not spelled “drugs” was the message behind a Star Tribune piece today on a movement to treat depression in children with “mind-body therapies.”
At Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, kids are being taught how to manage depression and anxiety with everything from scented oils to deep-breathing, exercise, prayer and “quiet reflection.”
“I think people are fed up with having their kids medicated as the only option,” said Dr. Timothy Culbert, head of integrative medicine at Children’s, and Henry’s doctor.
The reaction to the article mirrored the national debate that’s been going on for years in the area of mental health and children. Some alleged mental health treatment is a “legalized drug addiction,” another — like this one — said chemical imbalances cannot be ignored in an organ that communicates with itself via chemicals.
Would we tell a diabetic to use vitamins or stress-relief techniques to help with their insulin? This is just another article perpetuating the idea that mental illness is not a real, medical condition needing treatment, that we can “think” our way out of it.
But there is a developing concern about the side effects of a new class of antipsychotic drugs. Prescription rates for the newer drugs have increased more than fivefold for children over the past decades and a half, and doctors now use them to settle outbursts and aggression in children with a wide variety of diagnoses, despite serious side effects, the New York Times said.