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Number of Americans on antidepressants reaches 30M

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- When it comes to dealing with depression, experts warn that too often people turn to prescription drugs as their first option.

Their warnings come on the heels of recent data that show more than 30 million Americans, or about 1 in 10 people in this country, are currently taking antidepressants.

Dr. Jim Gordon, founder and director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, said while antidepressants do help some patients, they also have drawbacks.

Lots of other options should be considered first, he said, such as getting active.

"Physical exercise, aside from talking with a gifted professional listener, is the single best treatment for depression," Gordon said. "It should be used immediately and always for people who are depressed, not regarded as peripheral or incidental or unimportant."

Other ways to deal with depression include meditation, a healthy diet and having a supportive social environment, he suggested.

Another reason why antidepressants should be a last resort, Gordon explained, is because about 70 percent of people who take them experience negative side effects.

"There's a kind of irony in it because the side effects are things that are likely to make you feel depressed, such as having your digestion thrown off, putting on weight, getting headaches, sexual dysfunction and lack of emotional responsiveness. All of those come out in a very significant number of people," he said.

Additional information is available from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine at http://cmbm.org/resources/self-care/

Read more from:
Depression, Health, Health Care, Medicine, Mental Health, Tennessee, TNNS
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Members Opinions:
July 24, 2013 at 2:34pm
Reading this article was pretty disturbing to me by opening my eyes more to this problem that is gripping our country. It is sad to think that so many people are in need of medication just to calm down their depression symptoms. I am glad this article was written because I do believe this is an issue that needs to be addressed and dealt with.
After reading the facts of what Dr. Gordon said about other ways to deal with your depression symptoms I would have to say I completely agree with him. Being a very active person I would consider myself pretty upbeat and depression free. Even most of the people I know who are also active in sports or working out don’t seem to be down as much as those who don’t. I am a fully believer in a healthy lifestyle leading to a healthy personality. Even studying this matter in my psychology class we learn that most depressed people surround themselves with negativity which in turn sinks them deeper in depression.
I think that education about this issue needs to be more of an importance. If one out of ten people are using medication for depression symptoms it is obviously becoming a huge problem for us.
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