Shrink: Sadness Is Normal, Don't Medicate

Canadian psychiatrist advises against taking pills
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2014 5:13 PM CST

(Newser) – "That's why they call it the blues"? Not in Canada, apparently, where a top psychiatrist says people refuse to accept life's normal emotional downturns and hope doctors will make their lives better—with drugs. "We’re not always happy, and there are often good reasons for unhappiness," Joel Paris tells the National Post. "But there’s this idea that we should all have high self-esteem, fantastic relationships and tremendous jobs." It's a poignant remark in Canada, which ranks third-highest in the world for the consumption of antidepressants.

Canadians took 86 daily doses of antidepressants per 1,000 people daily in 2011, behind Australia (89 doses) and Iceland (106 doses). Like other experts, Paris says antidepressants are good in cases of severe depression, but often fail when the depression is only mild. DSM, the psychiatry "bible," may exacerbate things by stating depression can be diagnosed if someone experiences two weeks of depression most of the day, problems sleeping, low energy, change in appetite, and loss of interest. But those can follow any of life's traumas, like a breakup or loss of job, says a US expert. (Read more depression stories.)

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