Have you seen TV commercials for anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications lately? First they show how awful life is with that nagging anxious stomach, the icky feeling of nervousness and dred, the isolation, or the urgent need to run to the bathroom. Then after taking their medication the commercial paints a bright picture of getting back to a perfect, happy life with birds chirping and the sun shining. These commercials tap into our deep desire to just feel happy and normal again…quickly! They are trying to fool us all into believing that if we go to the doctor with a complaint (anxiety or depression) and get a quick prescription for this wonderful medication, we will be 100% cured…right away. And as smart as we all are, we really WANT to believe that the commercials are RIGHT. Stick with me as I walk you through a medical study that shows how these commercials are part of a fantasy.
There was a meta-analysis (large study) of 3,000 patients who received either of these four things:
- antidepressants (SSRI’s – Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, etc.)
- psychotherapy (like counseling)
- placebo (sugar pill)
- OR no treatment at all
The scientists (Kirsch and Low) found that:
- 27% of therapeutic responses were due to drug activities
- 50% were due to psychological factors
- and the remaining 23% to “non-specific” factors
What this means is 73% of the response to the drug was unrelated to the actual medication in the pill they were taking! Virtually no better than taking a placebo!
If a pill can only help our anxiety and depression 27%, what gets us to 100%?! In the real world of Integrative and Functional medicine, we realize that taking the prescription may be PART of the solution but it is not a miracle cure and rarely does 1 pill equal 100% success. While we all want to find that one magic pill for our anxiety and panic attacks, GI distress and bloating, or fatigue and chronic tiredness, it just isn’t out there.
Integrative and Functional Medicine’s Approach
As an Integrative Physician, I approach the body and mind from multiple angles. A single medication or supplement may only get you 27% of the way there, but by adding multiple strategies to the equation, we get closer to our goal of relief from anxiety and depression. In my practice, no matter what your reason for your visit, you get a discussion on Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Mental Health. And we customize a plan for your unique issues. You’ll walk away with plenty of easy strategies to get to the root of the anxiety or depression — including what foods minimize (or worsen) anxiety and depression, some great ideas for stress reduction, lab tests to see what is going on inside your body, and support for your specific challenges to feeling better.
Contact us if you need some help with your anxiety: [email protected]