If you ask me, Ibuprofen is a miracle drug. I was forced to go for a while without dental insurance at a certain time in my life, and I had a persistent toothache.
The only thing that seemed to help was ibuprofen. I'd pop two Advils and be alright until it came back some time later. Of course, this is not the ideal way to treat a toothache, one ought to go to the dentist and get the problem treated.
When it comes to depression, the last century has seen tremendous strides toward pharmaceutical solutions that have brought millions of patients a huge amount of relief from their symptoms. However, each of these drugs has side effects, and some people don't believe that they need a strong, lasting course to get through what they believe is a brief episode -- like a toothache. Depressed people, parents of depressed teenagers and others may wish there was a miracle cure, but, at least for now, they'll have to wait.
So Why Hasn't Someone Developed a Simple Ibuprofen-Like Pill To Cure Our Mental Health Issues?
1. Depression has an infinite number of causes. Some sufferers of depression believe that depression is a side-effect of living. In treating depression, one must treat causes, rather than symptoms, or else the issue will surface again and again -- just like that pesky toothache.
2. The brain is an incredibly complex structure. There are myriad environmental causes for depression, but there are also many people who are genetically predisposed to being depressed, and many people whose brain chemistry causes depressive disorders. For these people, a simple one pill solution is sadly not possible.
3. Depression is a cumulative effect. Sometimes when you work too hard in the yard, or you throw a ball just the wrong way, you wind up with soreness caused by inflammation. This is a pretty easy problem to treat thanks to ibuprofen and other analgesics and pain relievers. Unfortunately, depression is often the result of many factors, none of which is treatable without addressing the other issues. Depression can tie your emotions in knots, and usually they can only be untangled through a combination of therapy and, in some cases, prescription drugs such as Zoloft or Celexa.
4. Depression is every day. Sure, the weight of depression may seem to change every day. At various times that I've felt depressed in my life, I have described it as sometimes feeling like a very heavy jacket, almost too heavy to walk in. It's like having to hold up a whole other person in addition to myself. And of course, other times it is just a nagging feeling in the back of one's mind. When it comes to physical pain, we go to the doctor if the pain persists. If you had a toothache for a year, you'd go crazy. But for some reason....
5. For some reason we are able to prioritize our problems. The first priorities for treatment always seem to be physical. From obvious problems that really do require medical attention, to simple problems such as the common cold, many people do not hesitate to go to the doctor. And yet, when it comes to mental health issues, most people are just willing to grin and bear it. We suffer through it, whether it's because we think we don't have a choice, it's normal to feel depressed all the time, or because of the stigma of psychological treatment, we are creatures of vast inaction on the issue of mental health.
While there may be no quick fix for depression, individuals, especially teens, must take charge of their own mental health and make a decision to seek treatment. Like an abcessed tooth left to rot in one's mouth, depression gets worse over time. It can truly overtake one's life, removing the capacity for simple pleasures and joy, diminishing hope, leading to laziness, lack of motivation and eventually physical health problems.