Monthly Archives: August 2009

Quote of the Week

We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.
               – Vince Lombardi
                  American football coach
                  1913-1970

Overdosing on Antidepressants

Antidepressant drug use in the United States doubled between 1998 and 2005, according to a report in The Archives of General Psychiatry.  But I’m telling you that there is no way in the world that the incidence of profound depression doubled in that same period.  No way.

About 13 million people (or 6% of the population) were prescribed an antidepressant in 1996.  By 2006, that number rose to more than 27 million people.  Again, there’s no way that the incidence of profound depression increased that much. 

Try this number on for size:  more than 164 million prescriptions were written in 2008, totaling almost $10 BILLION  in US sales.  Unlike the incidence of profound depression, I believe that the incidence of making money off prescriptions for depression did indeed double between 1996 and 2005.

As a licensed psychotherapist, I can tell you with great candor that the psychological and pharmaceutical communities have a huge investment in income – plain and simple.  It’s been amazing to me (and I have commented on this publicly for thirty years) how there are trends in diagnoses and grandiose treatments.  For a while, everyone was agoraphobic; then every adult claimed to have some level of ADD; then there was a trend toward multiple personality disorder.  Now, being bi-polar is the illness of choice, or so it seems.

I’m going to state the obvious:  yes, there are people clinically depressed to such a severe level that medicine might be the difference between life and suicide.  I have recommended interim treatment for people who seem to be suffering profoundly.

However, this “doubling” issue is occurring for a number of reasons:  1) trends in the psych industry; 2) money-making efforts by pharmaceutical companies (notice all the TV commercials); 3) the growing weakness of the American public to deal with frustrations and setbacks; 4) the social acceptance of copping to a mental illness to explain various personality/behavioral issues; 5) insurance companies not paying for psychotherapy (requiring high out-of-pocket expenses for treatment).  The bottom line?  Numerous studies show that therapy is as effective (if not more effective) than drug use alone.

I’ve become more and more concerned about people trying to “cure” what is normal.  I’ve said this on my program many times:  being sad and deflated over job or love losses is normal; having childhood disruptions in one’s life is normal; hanging on to them as an identity, attempt at attention, and as a cop-out for responsibilities is not accepting (and not enduring) what is normal

A sixteen year old male called my radio program the other day.  He was sad that “the love of his life” dumped him, and he didn’t see any future for himself.  I told him that what he was calling the “love of his life” at 16 was not what he would choose as the love of his life at 26.  I also told him that this adolescent “drama” was normal, and that he would go through it a number of times, before he truly recognized who would ultimately be the “love of his life.”  His attitude lightened up as he began to understand what normal meant.  I told him to distract himself with sports (releasing powerful endorphins) and friends, without harping on his situation, and it would pass…until the next time.  That is just simply what life is like.

We have people who can’t take a joke, can’t tolerate a difference of opinion (after George W. Bush was re-elected, a psychologist in my area published an article talking about the massive depression in his patients who were Democrats – I was stunned and horrified that people would seek therapy for an election disappointment), who call everything “harassment,” who go through difficulties and say that the rest of their lives are “ruined” because of that event, who say they can’t function anymore in life because somebody pushed them too close to their actual potential, and so on. 

Frankly, I worry that Americans are getting spiritually and psychologically weaker – voluntarily – because victimhood is attractive, and because there is a group for every type of victim that will help them to prolong the suffering.

Jobless College Grad Sues Her School

A young, female graduate of Monroe College in the Bronx, New York, is suing the school for a total of $70,000 she contends is the amount she spent on getting a degree that promised her a job. 

I looked up Monroe College on the Internet, and this is what I read:
“Whether preparing for a career or simply needing a part-time job, the Monroe College Office of Career Advancement provides expert advice and valuable services to help you.  Every student at Monroe College has a Career Advisor, who provides one-on-one assistance with career decision-making, resume and letter writing, and job search strategies.  The Office of Career Advancement helps with career assessment, resume writing, job search and strategy, employer recruitment and placement, interviewing skills, and other job search guidance.  Registering with E-recruiting allows you to view online job listings, post a resume to the database, and access additional web-based career resources.”

I don’t see a promise or guarantee or money-back offer.  The college cannot guarantee against the world’s financial issues.  Also, we don’t know how well she did in her courses, or how aggressively she worked on getting a position, or how inventive and persistent she’s been in trying to get herself situated.

I wondered also if she weren’t making a public spectacle in order to bully the college into giving her back her money, as she is heavily in debt and living with her single mother (who is also living on meager resources).  I don’t know her motive first hand.  I just wonder.

It’s getting more and more annoying that more and more people figure they’re entitled to things just because they want them.  That’s an adolescent view (which consists only of a narcissistic perception of the world), and it’s supposed to mature in one’s twenties.

I’m sorry she’s in debt, but she made that choice.  I’m sorry she’s having a hard time getting a job right now.  Maybe she has to choose something to do which has nothing to do with her degree just to sustain herself and her mom through these rough times that millions of people are also dealing with.  I’m sorry she’s mad, but nobody owes her a living.  I’m sorry the media sees fit to make a big deal of her actions without some judgment as to the worthiness of those actions.

I’m not sorry I’m mentioning this, as I want to make sure that none of magnificent listening audience slips into this childish state of pouting and stamping feet when life doesn’t go the way you planned or wanted.  If there is one thing to learn from this girl, it’s that life doesn’t guarantee anything but the opportunity, and she’s wasting it by whining.  If I were an employer, I wouldn’t hire her after reading about these antics.  I would want a more mature individual who does what she has to do to survive, and makes the best of it.  That’s the kind of person to respect and support.

These Days, Most Women Are Pigs

I know the title of this blog may be shocking, but it’s all around us:  women (and even girls) who are sexually available and almost advertise that fact, and/or who are having sex by the third date when they barely know the guy.  If you want to be in a relationship for the long run, watch my video for why this “sex first” approach doesn’t lead to long-term caring:

Video: These Days, Most Women Are Pigs

Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura.

Read transcript here.

“Dance Your Ass Off” is Right On!

Last Monday, I stayed up late to watch “Dance Your Ass Off,” a new reality series on Oxygen.  I’ve said many times (and I stand by it), I loathe even the concept of what has been called “reality TV.”  I find it generally exploitive, humiliating, demeaning, mean, stupid and guilty of lowering the American consciousness to sub-basement levels.  People are embarrassed, made fun of, attacked, and dismissed with a cavalier attitude of so-called judges or peered out.  These shows make it to air, because they’re cheap to produce and because there seems to be no end to the appetite of some of the American public to lick their lips when others are behaving badly or grossly, or when people are being “thrown to the lions.”

When I heard there was a new TV show in which overweight people would compete in dancing, I thought this would be seriously sickening.  What a scenario for making fun of people!  “Dance Your Ass Off ” has some of the elements of the typically disgusting reality format:  judges who have “not too judicious” comments, and someone who gets thrown out after some weeks.  But there is much more to this show in particular (in spite of the spicy title). 

The scores are not only for their dancing (they’re trained and choreographed by a professional dancer), but for how much weight they lose.  They all have access to a nutritionist who guides them in cooking and food choices and portion sizes.  So at the end of the Olympics-like scoring from 1 to 10 for the quality of their dancing that week, the percentage of weight lost that week is added to their individual score.  Therefore, a person could have been graded poorly for their dance program, but if they lost 5% of their body weight, they potentially could win the whole night!

I like that this is just not a typical exploitation of people small or too big.  It’s a real challenge for these people to get fit, lose weight, practice dancing, and perform.  The most significant part of the entire program that I appreciated was that there was no competition between these folks.  They all support each other in losing weight and doing their best.  There are no mean manipulations in order to throw somebody off the island or forced fights just for entertainment’s sake.  These people work hard, and become quite committed to being fit.

It’s funny.  I thought this would be an utterly disgusting display, and it turns out it’s one which is quite benevolent and fun to watch.  Seeing these folks working very hard in spite of their extra weight and lack of fitness is admirable and not something to giggle about.  Most of the time, the contestants behave quite respectfully when the judges are not that complimentary (and I think the judges are often out of order making demands of non-dancers who are overweight).  Nonetheless, overall, this show is quite supportive of the right behaviors.