The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

60° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cure for what ails Generation Rx not found in a pill capsule

    Our generation has come to be known as Generation Rx, a label stemming from our pill-popping tendencies.

    I won’t go on a rant about the use of Ecstasy or Acid at parties or recreational prescription drug abuse. I’ll leave it to Brother Dean Saxton IV to condemn that #YOLO mentality, because the Rx label is about more than our partying habits.

    From antidepressants to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medication to sleep aids, we’re a generation that wants a pill for every ache, pain and bother.

    ADHD medication usage by women between the ages of 21-44 rose by 264 percent between 2001 and 2010, according to America’s State of Mind Report by Medco Health Solutions, Inc.

    Additionally, in 2010, more than 20 percent of American adults took at least one type of psychological or behavioral disorder medication.

    As of 2010, antipsychotics were the greatest moneymakers for pharmaceutical companies, bringing in $14.6 billion per year. Unfortunately, antipsychotics are known for causing weight gain, which increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease and can shorten life expectancy.

    Our use of prescription drugs is indicative of our need for immediate satisfaction, regardless of the long-term consequences.

    The truth is that a patient’s mental health can be often improved without medication. According to Scientific American, psychologist Bill Pelham from Florida International University found that the behavior of children with ADHD improved significantly after their parents were taught to manage their own stress and utilize behavioral tools.

    Instead of spending the time to try proven therapy techniques, however, many still look for a quick fix.

    But medications for psychological and behavioral disorders may not be the cure-alls our generation seems to think they are.

    In a 2008 study conducted by the British Medical Journal in the U.S., which surveyed 1200 internists and rheumatologists, 679 of the surveyed practitioners admitted to prescribing placebo medications to their patients specifically to influence a patient’s mind rather than treat their body.

    Furthermore, according to a study performed by the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2012, a trial conducted at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School failed to confirm that psychotherapy, pharmaceuticals and clinical management are better for patients with major depressive disorder than just a placebo and clinical management.

    The health ramifications of these kinds of medications are not entirely understood, and if placebos can be just as effective as pharmaceuticals, then it’s time for Generation Rx to start seriously considering types of treatment beyond medication.

    —Kimberlie Wang is a physiology freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search