One of my friends was diagnosed with an eating disorder and depression last year. She spent most of the day in her room with the lights off sleeping or crying. It was difficult to watch her go through this time especially at college, where we, her friends, were her only support. I remember the moment I decided that her behavior was not normal and that it was time to do something about it. After talking this over with my other friends, we decided to confront her about what was going on and encourage her to get help. Although she was resistant we finally got her to agree to go see a therapist. However this was just the beginning of the battle.
Her therapist was encouraging her to go on antidepressants, which both her and her family were completely against. My friend believed that she was strong enough to fight her depression on her own, and that using antidepressants was a sign of weakness. Just as Jen said “mind over matter.” She believed that using drugs shows that her mind alone was not strong enough. However her father, who was a doctor had a different view. He believed that therapy would not be any help and that using drugs was the only way to treat medical problems. However his argument got a little fuzzy because he was still against antidepressants. He did not consider treating depression with antidepressants the same as treating any other part of the body with a drug treatment. So my friend with confronted with very different opinions on both the use of drugs and therapy.
My friend’s struggle to decide to use antidepressants or not reflects perfectly the different clinical views of treatment for psychological disorders. Miller and Keller state that, “In psychopathology, one of the most unfortunate consequences of the naïve competition between psychology and biology is the assumption that dysfunctions conceptualized biologically require biological interventions and that those conceptualized psychologically require psychological interventions.” I agree with Miller and Keller that both treatment types are effective in different situations. There is a time where “psychological interventions” can be most effective and times when it is not enough. My friend viewed her depression as a psychological problem and thus believed it could be treated through therapy, but her father viewed it as (mostly) a medical problem and believed that it could be treated medically (again his argument gets little fuzzy). There are obvious problems when you separate these two views because in many cases by viewing the disease as both a psychological and biological disorder better treatment strategies can be developed.
Just for fun I posted a link to Tom Cruise talking about how he is against the use of drug treatment for depression. In this interview when discussing Brooke Shields use of antidepressants he says, “But what happens with the antidepressant is it masks the problem there are ways with vitamins and through exercise and various things. I’m not saying that that isn’t real” (Tom Cruise). But are vitamins and exercise always enough??