hormones/ antidepressants - feminist issue?(16 Posts)
Its not at all about gender proportions. Women get a higher proportion of anti-depressants prescribed because women seek treatment and men do not. Men try to deal with it alone. They hide it and tough it out because its seen as a more profound exhibition of weakness than a physical ailment. Mens 'self treatment' for depression is isolation, risk taking, suicide, violence, gambling, alcoholism and other nasties.
I wouldn't expect anyone to become tolerant of my moods. Why on earth should anyone tolerate (ie - put up with) anyone else's bad moods?
Perhaps we should learn to control our "moods" so they don't negatively impact other people rather than expecting other people to learn how to respond "correctly". Bear in mind the fact that the correct response for one person might not be for another. Take some responsibility for ourselves.
Normal biology is a medical issue I think. Not that many women go to hospital and say 'no painkillers' because they intend to deal unaided with the biological effects of giving birth. Is 'XYZ' medication inappropriately prescribed is always a good question to keep in mind and doctors can certainly over prescribe rather than follow a patients ideal interests, I have personally encountered that. But going through periods or menopause can effect different women in quite profoundly different ways. I know one woman who just breezed through menopause with little if any negative effects while my mother in law had a hellish time even though she is a 'tough as nails' character.
I'm on fluoxetine for meno issues, namely flushes and severe pmt-type mood swings, I can't take hrt so I'd be stuck without them , I feel like they've saved my sanity. My problems were so severe that DH thought I was having a breakdown.
Given that there have been studies which show that certain SSRIs and SNRIs are extremely effective in controlling hot flushes in menopausal women, I can't see a problem in prescribing them for that, despite them not being licensed for that purpose (as of 2005). This might explain the rise in prescriptions for these drugs for menopausal women.
Far more difficult to wish away is the propensity for GPs to prescribe anti depressant medication to women of all ages, without also referring them to specialist services who might be able to accurately diagnose them. I'm not trying to bash GPs here either, but a 5-10 minute appointment really isn't enough to accurately diagnose type and severity of depression. Many of the women I have looked after who have been prescribed ADs have neither had how they work, their side effects nor things to look out for explained to them. GPs are still prescribing ADs with side effects that are undoubtedly worse than the original depression (not GPs fault, NICE guidelines are bloody awful). And too many women are still not being told how to slowly withdraw from their ADs in order to prevent withdrawal suicidal thoughts and ideations, and in the worst cases, actual suicide or parasuicidal behaviour.
And before anyone decides to leap about saying that men have it worse, they do. This is a mixture of toxic masculinity, where looking weak is awful and depression is seen as weakness, the stigma of mental illness being perceived as being much worse for men because weakness and men not being very good at going to the doctor. Not because GPs are failing to diagnose or treat depression in men.
It's a very involved area and there is definitely something in the idea that women's "natural" state is sub-par in some way and so they need to be medicated for everything and everything. Often root causes are ignored. So why do so many women struggle with ante-natal & post-natal depression? Is it a hormonal inevitability? Is it something to do with "modern living" - isolation / high standards / gender roles with work? We don't really know do we. And we get fed hormones from the word go and does anyone really know the impact of that? Like, known side effects of the pill are loss of libido, feeling crappy/depressed/ and it is supposed to tamper with our scenting if you like of who we fancy so what on earth is that doing to us?
Just loads of things and while I too have had a fair go at the pill, the Mirena (and fuck me was that a disaster) and ADs and so on I can't help but wonder if we really know the subtler effects of all this when it's going on at such a high level in the population.
I always remember about SAF (I think it was) who had worked in a residential setting with extremely depressed high risk of self harm girls and young women. She said that all of them had been sexually abused and no-one mentioned it or was interested in that link. So this sort of thing.
There's so much with all of this I don't know where to start and yes there are feminist issues there and also issues for the whole of society.
FWIW menopause is supposed to be awful for many women and so if something helps then fair play to them taking it. Interesting whether the ADs work due to relief of physical symptoms or possibly many menopausal women are depressed due to well society doesn't treat post-menopausal women particularly well does it. You become invisible at about 40 and it's downhill all the way after that as far as the media / society is concerned IYKWIM. Dunno
ADs have been shown to clinically reduce the incidence of hot flushes in menopausal women. It works pretty much instantly if it's going to work. A 2 week trial is usually recommended, because, if it hasn't stopped them by then, it won't. The ADs which are most efficacious for treating hot flushes are also those which have the more difficult side effects, such as dry mouth, loss of libido, suicidal thoughts, ideation and if those are left untreated, suicide.
It's all a bit rock & hard place really isn't it.
One of my colleagues at work is going through it and she is having a bad time, I might mention it next time she collars me in the bogs.
I wonder about 2 thongs wrt depression.
1) With omni, how much of women's depression particularly is due to the patriarchal, sexist nature of our society (in a less sexist vein, how much of depression is due to our sick antisocial society generally) and the amount of shit we have to put up with
2) Following DadWasHere, above, are there any reliable figures of how many men and women both are following what he describes as the 'male' pattern of dealing with depression? Given that its not reported and so is under the radar? I hope I don't sound like the female equivalent of a mansplainer, but I know for a fact there was at least one woman followng that male pattern a few years ago. Mental health research isn't my area though so I don't know how common that really is,
2 things that is. Not thongs at all. Damn ipad.
Also - I hesitate to say this in view of the numbers of people on them, but it has been shown that placebos work regardless. I thought it was fairly well established that anti-depressants are little better than placebos? www.badscience.net/2008/01/washing-the-numbers-selling-the-model/
I've always thought that they mostly work because seeking them out and asking for help is itself a positive step, so I'm surprised that they would work as hrt replacements. Perhaps they've moved on a bit. Best cure for depression imo, if it helps anyone reading this, is creativity, fresh air, exercise (hence why gardening so good, or dance) and a bit of socialising when you can face it.
sorry puffins will read better next time. Sleep deprivation.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.