Have antidepressants become the American burka? We might claim that there is nothing like that in the United States of America, but we would be wrong. While we do not see women wearing garments that cloak their ability to be recognized and voice their opinions in public, more subtly we have created a chemical burka in this country which can be just as oppressive to women.
Instead of U.S. doctors first referring their troubled women patients for talk therapy so they can be given a safe haven to express, even vent, their fears and pain; too many U.S. women are reflexively given antidepressant drugs that numb the very feelings that let her know if her life, and her society, are on or off track.
Here are some facts that should send up a big red flag about the over prescribing of these medications: Women make up 50 percent of the U.S. population yet account for 79 percent of the prescriptions for antidepressant drugs. One out of three doctor’s visits by women involves an antidepressant prescription. Antidepressant use during pregnancy has increased from 5.7 percent in 1999 to 13.4 percent in 2003. Currently there is a class action suit against the makers of the antidepressant Paxil alleging that the drug taken during pregnancy causes heart valve birth defects. The current meta-studies indicate that anti-depressant drugs don’t work for the vast majority of people they are prescribed for and cause a host of unpleasant side-effects including loss of sex drive and weight gain. Because these drugs mostly do not get to the root of the problem, doctors keep increasing dosages and adding drugs onto the first prescribed medication creating a numbing chemical burka. This chemical burka is robbing our country of the women’s voice of sanity that it desperately needs.