Dec 12, 2007

Medication for SA

There was an article in New York times last week written by Dr. Carlat about being paid by a drug company to present a drug to other doctors. It has raised huge waves over the Internet and got me thinking at various levels. The aspect I would like to comment on now is the personal one - do you medicate for social anxiety or not?

My long time readers probably know already where I stand. I do not take any medicine for this and I am very happy with this decision... actually more and more happy the more I learn about it.

The problem is that therapy is not cheap. Insurance companies will not encourage therapy vs. medication because it is not cost-efficient for them. My insurance company has estimated the average annual cost for an anxiety disorder at around $1900. This includes doctor, medication and tests. Depending on the type of anxiety (low or medium) the doctor costs are between $600-$800. I am not sure how they calculated this, but they reimburse a therapist at $90/session for 20 sessions a year. This makes $1800, more than they plan to pay for both the doctor and medication.

So doctors are assaulted by both insurance companies to recommend medication and by drug companies to recommend their product (insurance might be more interested in cheaper drugs). Read that article in NYT... the push by drug companies can go beyong the short skirted girls with free samples and lunches and the ads we patients see on TV... it can go with respected doctors and researchers supporting one or another drug, with studies paid by drug companies. How can you not be influenced by all this?

So what are we patients left to do... I think I would resist as much as possible and do anything possible to avoid getting on meds. Happiness does not come in a bottle.

I am thrilled at the series of events that made me not take meds and try anything else: it basically had to do with the baby: I wanted to breastfeed at any cost. The baby was thriving and very healthy when breastfed and it kept me going and trying new things until it worked: a new therapist, exercise, meditation... anything to make it get better.

If this didn't convince you, read this article about someone trying to quit taking Effexor.


Chuck said...

I took no medication until I was in my 30s. It did help a lot but it had side effects. Zoloft took away my sex drive. Ativan made me kind of 'drunk'. I ended up not being able to get off either med once I started. So I got to have a 'life' but I had to be high every day in order to be anxiety free. I knew that the way I acted on meds (able to talk to people, laugh with them, get to know them, speak my mind, meet people...) could happen without drugs somehow but wasn't sure.
I have found a way out. Not sure how not to sound like a "used car salesman". Reading these blogs on the internet is like reading the story of my life. I hated my anxieties, I hated my self for being weak, I hated the universe for setting me up to have this.
I am going to post on a few more blogs to try and reach people. I hope some people will talk to me and give my cure a try. It is amazing to be finally free. I wasn't sure it was really truly possible. But it is and everyone so far who has tried this is living proof.

Ileana said...

I seriously hesitated to approve the above comment. It is obviously an advertisement. I would not pay for whatever solution it offers.