The statistics are extraordinary. In the UK nearly one in five adults experience anxiety or depression, according to a recent survey by the Office of National Statistics.
And of course, on the back of that, there’s also a rise in the level of prescribed drugs to treat it.
But I wonder, is prescription the right way to go in every case? After all, very often the assessments made by rushed NHS doctors are based on a simple survey carried out in their allocated seven-minute-per-patient time slot.
And it’s not just adults. Even kids as young as five are now being diagnosed with depression.
It’s very concerning to think that even these young brains are being prescribed drugs that will change their brain chemistry, often as a first resort!
There must be other ways to deal with at least some of these cases? Surely taking charge of your mental health should always be an option that’s explored?
True, the NHS does use new treatments and technologies such as CBT. But, I ask myself, shouldn’t we be catching these problems sooner, instead of turning them into medical problems. Wouldn’t it make more sense to give people more freedom and more control?
Despite its long history, in many ways psychology is in its early days. This month, we look at the history of traditional psychology and the different schools of thought that make it up. Next month we will be looking wider, at the therapies beyond traditional psychology and psychotherapy.
I believe that if something works, we should use it. If new techniques from outside of the psychological tradition work, then we should use them pragmatically to make a positive difference. Helping people overcome depression, lack of confidence, low self esteem and obesity is not purely the preserve of the psychologists – and next month we will look at some of the other therapies that are making a difference today.
I would also like to welcome a few new, esteemed contributors: Paul McKenna as our sleep expert, Mihir Bose as our Bollywood guru and Robin Sharma as a regular contributor focusing on success and leadership.
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