Anti-depressants: the new pill that cures all ailments?

I think we've all heard that in the army, if a person says he is not feeling well, he is just given Panadol (Paracetamol) as a remedy regardless of what the problem is.

Now, though I do not think we should be taking Panadol for all illnesses, that pill is perhaps better than the new one-pill-cures-all that doctors prescribe nowadays: anti-depressants.

I know that anti-depressants pills have been useful in helping many people so I won't say that they are bad altogether. However, prescribing those pills to people who don't really need them is bad.

Some years ago, I went to the doctor because I was having a fever. The doctor asked me about my job. I told him about my work and said it was stressful. He sent me off with some pills and medical certificate for 1 day's rest from work. I didn't take the pills - all I really needed was rest. Anyway, I found out that he prescribed me anti-depressants without even telling me!

My dad went to the doctor (a different one) a few days ago. The doctor prescribed him anti-depressants. Why?? Because the doctor said he has obsessive compulsive disorder for taking too many showers in a day and for insisting that all used clothes must be washed and dried immediately. In my opinion, my dad's so-called obsessive compulsive disorder is not a big deal. Yes, it can be inconvenient for my family at times but it can be comparable to a mother insisting that the dishes are washed immediately after meals. As for taking too many showers, my dad bathes in the morning when he wakes up, before going out, when he comes home, before he sleeps, and sometimes extra if the weather is very hot - it's not like he's scrubbing his skin so hard that it bleeds. In humid Singapore, many of us can't tolerate feeling sticky also. My dad certainly isn't depressed either. He's happily retired and enjoying life. He's been behaving this way for years so I don't understand the sudden need for medication without any attempt to try counselling, if my dad's behaviour really was a problem.

There was another occasion when I went to another doctor and he tried to slip anti-depressants into my prescription. When I was collecting my medication, I asked the receptionist what those pills were for. She told me they were anti-depressants and I rejected them straightaway. She insisted that the doctor prescribed them so I must take them but I refused to pay.

Is it just me or are many doctors prescribing anti-depressant pills to those who don't need it? If the doctors feel that I really need those pills, they should at least tell me what they're prescribing, why I need it, and the possible side-effects. It's utterly irresponsible to just slip it in!

It's bad for my health to take anti-depressants when I don't need them, and it's bad to have those prescriptions on my medical records as well. It's not in the doctors' best interest to recommend counselling or a healthier lifestyle because they need to make money.

(Note: In Singapore, the drugs are sold by the doctor not pharmacist. So it is in the doctor's own interest to prescribe more drugs to the patients. I am not saying all doctors do this. I am sure there are many who are ethical.)

My dad took the pills for 2 days, then he felt a very painful burning sensation in his body. He has stopped taking them.


~Pink Miu Miu~ said...

It's not a good sign if one has to resort to pills to suppress their depression... hopefully one can deal with it positively ..

Every problem has a solution, even the toughest one so never never give up! That's what i strongly believe :).

Anonymous said...

I'm a doctor in Malaysia and we also see this worrying trend here.I would even go to the point of calling it legalised drug pushing because some patients become dependant on it and have to keep on going to these kind of doctors as the ethical ones would not participate in such a practice.

David said...


You have touched just the tip of the iceberg on this topic.

The overuse of anti-depressants pills over here is an ongoing discussion.

Most doctors are responsible and have people go through appropriate evaluation before presribing anti-depressants, however there are doctors who will prescibe such pills after only one visit and talk with the patient.

Very often there are correctable behavioural problems that once dealt with deliver better results in quality of life improvement, far better results than one can expect from a pill.

Excellent post!


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should examine how you carry yourself...

Rock Hard said...

What's got to do with how you carry oneself to do with medications prescriptions?

Kym, Doctors are humans too. Doctors is an occupations to cure illness. General Practitioner is like a business man whose job is to cure and make money too.

If everyone is healthy and do not the services of doctors, they may need to reevaluate their career choices.
Most of the GP makes profit from drug prescriptions. A pill may cost just a few cents and sold it to you for a dollar or two.
Pharmaceutical industry gives the doctors some good benefits if they sold more of their brands of drugs. In terms of monetary benefits.
If not, how on earth you think doctors can drive big expensive cars and stay in posh apartments?

Hi Yu-Kym,

I am taking anti-depressants now as I used to have clinical depression a few years ago.

But now that you've talked about the issue, it's weird that doctors are prescribing such medicine so freely! I didnt know that; I thought that only those with depression get those pills.

But anyway, my pills have no side effects on me at all. It just makes me feel calmer.

And yes, from what I know, anti-depressants is just something to calm you down. To regulate your hormones and minus off those sad hormones. Something like that.

Cheers :)

GENE said...

To prevent or cure depression, you have to find out the root cause, not treating the symptom. Chronic stress is always one of the major contributor to depression. If you have deficiency in GABA neurotransmitter in your brain, it will very likely stack up high level of stress and increased risk of suffering from depression. Why go for synthetic anti-depressant pills if we could provide nutrition therapy to fix this illness?