Are Bad Marriages Being Treated With Unnecessary Antidepressants?

bad marriages treated with anti-depressantsAccording to the latest research many psychiatrists are providing antidepressants when patients complain that they have a bad marriage, even though these drugs will not help with this type of situation and are not necessary when prescribed for this reason alone. According to lead study author and Vanderbilt University sociology and medicine, health, and society professor Dr. Jonathan M. Metzl the medical definition of depression people who are simply struggling with domestic issues are not clinically depressed and do not require antidepressants as part of their treatment. “As it became less acceptable to overtly diagnose homosexuality, it became increasingly acceptable to diagnose threats to female-male relationships as conditions that required psychiatric intervention. Doctors increasingly responded by prescribing antidepressants when patients came to the office describing problems with heterosexual love and its discontents.”

The study on bad marriages and antidepressants was conducted by evaluating records from 1980 through 200 from a medical center in the Midwest, and the research results have been published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. Metzl also explained that “In the charts we analyzed, the pressures of attaining or maintaining heterosexual relationships functioned as common modes for describing depressive symptoms. Marriage woes have little connection to the current DSM criteria for depression and much more to do with ways that society thinks that men and women should behave. And yet these cultural pressures seemed to go a long way in determining whether psychiatrists diagnosed depression or prescribed antidepressants. In many ways, the 1974 decision was a major step forward. But as we show, implicit gender still functioned in the exam room, and our analysis suggests that psychiatry still has work to do in that regard.”

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