- Corliss, Julie. “Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Anxiety, Mental Stress.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, 3 Oct. 2017, http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967.
Background: Julie Corliss of Harvard Health Publishing opens up this article with a brief anecdote about her mother, who is an active believer in the power of meditation. Even at the age of 81, her mother still attends a weekly meditation group, and stresses the importance of living for the moment; not worrying about past troubles or worries of the future. The article shifts into a discussion about the acceptance of meditation by doctors as a means of healing. Further acknowledging that calculating the effectiveness of meditation can be challenging due to biases among those who are open to meditation and those who are not, Corliss is able to establish credibility. But, she then cites a diligent study done at Johns Hopkins in which 19,000 studies were evaluated, with only 47 study groups meeting the requirements for the study. In these 47 groups, the results showed that meditation can definitely have positive effects on things such as depression, anxiety, and pain.
Why its important: This article provides a background on the practice of meditation, which is another alternative form of healing to prescription medication. I decided to use this source because it cites a study that was extremely carefully examined for any biases or irregularities, so the results should be conclusive. The results of the study can help me build a claim for my article by giving me evidence of meditation being effective.
2. Novetney, Amy. American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, Nov. 2013, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/music.aspx.
Background: This article from the American Psychological Association discusses music and its applications in medicine. The article discusses how although music had previously been used as a means of calming psychological health problems, it is now being used more and more as a means of reducing physical pain and improving body functions as well. The article talks about how listening to music and tuning into the rhythm can help us keep a steady heart rate, which keeps down stress and helps our immune system. The article then cites a study done on patients receiving IV’s, in which some of the patients would listen to music as the IV is inserted, and some did not. The results showed that the patients listening to music felt less pain in the procedure, and showed lower levels of stress.
Why it’s important: This article talks about the overwhelming positives that come with using music medically. By providing examples of music improving physical and psychological functions, the article adds credibility to my paper. In my attempt to show music as a better alternative to prescription medication when dealing with mental health problems, this article will be vital.
3. usmedicine.com. “More Opioid Prescriptions Adverse Effects for Vets With PTSD.” U.S. Medicine, 20 Apr. 2015, http://www.usmedicine.com/agencies/department-of-veterans-affairs/more-opioid-prescriptions-adverse-effects-for-vets-with-ptsd/.
Background: This article from USMedicine.com opens up with a study that shows how Veterans returning from battle are much more inclined to be prescribed prescription drugs by a physician. Furthermore, those Veterans showing symptoms of PTSD who were prescribed drugs were far more likely to develop adverse or negative side effects from the medication. The article then talks about how the rate of prescriptions being used in veterans with PTSD was higher than the rate of those without PTSD. And, among the amount of patients with PTSD that were also battling drug abuse, the rate of prescriptions being handed out was the highest, sitting at about 1/3 of that group. Going even further, veterans with PTSD symptoms were more likely to take higher doses of medication than those without the symptoms, and they were more likely to request a refill earlier.
Why it’s important: This study shows a specific group of individuals suffering from a specific mental illness brought on by time at War. Veterans have had to experience a lot of physical and emotional trauma, meaning they are more susceptible to mental health illnesses and are very important to study. In this study, we learn that veterans receive prescriptions more easily than other people, and those veterans with PTSD are refilling and reusing the prescription at a faster rate. Ultimately, what the study shows is that as veterans with PTSD were prescribed anti-depressants, the frequency with which they used the drugs increased, with little actual improvement. This shows a growing dependency on the medication, that may have caused the increase in use itself.
4. Douglass, Frederick, and Celeste-Marie Bernier. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Broadview Press, 2018.
Background: Frederick Douglass’ autobiographical recount of his days gives the reader an insight into the mind of an American slave in the 1800’s. African Americans were inhumanely enslaved by white settlers in the US, and suffered never-ending punishment and brutality. The story basically talks about Douglass’ ups and downs during his days as a slave, and his journey to freedom. One particular anecdote in the beginning talks about how a slave’s master would know if his slaves were happy or not. If the slaves were singing, they were deemed happy. Douglass, however, explains that slaves often sang songs to deal with their pain and to uplift those around them. The unity they felt in song would give them hope to carry on.
Why its important: The American slave was subject to some of the most brutal treatment in the history of this world. Treated as less than human, and dealing with illness and hunger everyday, life was a painful reality. Although we don’t have medical records, Douglass’ novel shows that slaves definitely suffered from symptoms of depression and anxiety. With no signs of hope, the novel shows that they found strength in music. When singing, they were suffering, but they were together. They maintained hope. These early examples can be used as an introduction into my position paper.
5.Borchard, Therese. “How Music Therapy Can Relieve Depression.” Stroke Center – EverydayHealth.com, Ziff Davis, LLC, 4 May 2017, http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/music-therapy-to-relieve-depression/.
Background: Theresa Borchard discusses the history of musical therapy and how it grew to become an accepted alternative to other forms of treatment. Borchard mentions the earliest beginnings of the practice, dating all the way back to ancient Greece. Moving forward to more modern examples, Borchard discusses the introduction of musical therapy to veterans suffering from PTSD and depression after WWII. Hospitals would employ live musicians to perform for veterans recovering, because it would ease tension and help the patient’s mood. This became so popular, that in 1950, the NAMT was founded. The National Association for Musical Therapy certified actual Musical Therapists, and provided a blueprint for the practice. Borchard then shows evidence of a study that suggests musical therapy combined with other treatments is more effective than those treatments without the musical therapy.
Why its important: Borchard gives a basic timeline that demonstrates Musical Therapy has been practiced for quite some time. The history of musical therapy is important to be discussed because it shows the evolution of the practice over time, as well as giving us credible examples in which it was useful. It is also important to note that Borchard introduces the idea of musical therapy as a compliment to additional therapy, which is likely where I am headed with my position.
6. Brookshire, Bethany. “Search.” Science News for Students, http://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/explainer-what-dopamine.
Background: Bethany Brookshire gives a crash course on the substance Dopamine, and how it works within our body. Dopamine is something our body releases when our brain makes connections between neuro-transmitters. The dopamine is a signal by our body that whatever caused the connection is good. Dopamine acts as a reward-based feeling by our body in this regard. Certain drugs, such as stimulants, can make the brain release large quantities of dopamine, which as a result gets the person taking the drugs high.
Why its important: If I am going to make a case against the promotion of prescription drugs when treating mental illness, then I have to understand how the drug works, and why I am making the stance. Prescription pills can release serious quantities of dopamine, which can give patients with mental health problems a temporary high. The high, followed by depleted dopamine levels, will increase the likelihood that the patient attempts to find the high again. The continuous want to get high and the growing tolerance to the high can cause patients to seek harder drugs. In essence, this source can be used to help me argue that treating prescription drugs with pills can possibly lead to addiction and more depression.
7. Erkkilä, Jaakko, et al. “Individual Music Therapy for Depression: Randomised Controlled Trial | The British Journal of Psychiatry.” Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press, 2 Jan. 2018, http://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/individual-music-therapy-for-depression-randomised-controlled-trial/A1CD72904929CECCB956F4F3B09605AF.
Background: This was a thorough study conducted by the British Journal for Psychiatry with the goal to determine with musical therapy was reliable treatment for people with depression-like symptoms. Two separate groups of subjects showing symptoms of depression were given multiple forms of therapy, but one group received musical therapy in addiction to the other forms. After 6 months of treatment, results showed lower levels of depression in the group that received musical treatment.
Why its important: The study focused on the combination of multiple kinds of therapy and musical therapy help me to construct an organized stance on my paper. More evidence showing positive results when used together only help my position that musical therapy should be used in addition to psychiatric therapy and prescription medication.
8. Hatton, Randy C. “25 Years after Prozac.” Home, Pharmacist.com, 1 May 2013, http://www.pharmacist.com/25-years-after-prozac.
Background: This article done by the American Pharmacists Association looks at the history of Prozac in hindsight. Beginning with a brief discussion of the introduction of Prozac in the 80’s, the article moves on to talk about it’s mainstream popularity and longterm results. Prozac was approved in the 80’s as a much safer form of anti-depressant. Older medicines left you susceptible to many side effects. Because of this, Prozac took off and was hailed as a super drug. Over time, drugs improved, and Prozac usage dropped. By the 2000’s, many questioned the effectiveness of the drug.
Why its important: Prozac was one of the first huge mainstream antidepressants, and it caught on really fast. A whole generation of depressed people were taking the pill, with some claiming marvelous results. The huge popularity of the drug can show both society’s proneness to the placebo effect, as well as show our tendency to trust prescription medication. By discussing the boom in Prozac and it’s slow descent back to Earth, I can advise the reader to be cautious when forming opinions on certain drugs or therapies, because time can show that we don’t know what works for a long time.
9. Mukherjee, Siddhartha. “Post-Prozac Nation.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Apr. 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/the-science-and-history-of-treating-depression.html.
Background: Siddhartha Mukherjee discusses Prozac in this New York Time’s article. Similarly to the previous article, Mukherjee emphasizes the phenomenon that was Prozac’s arrival. People were going crazy for the drug. 30 years later, and Doctors were now of the opinion that Prozac might not even work at all. In fact, it may be increasing depression. Prozac works to increase serotonin levels (or so we thought). Later studies show that it actually diminishes serotonin levels.
Why its important: This study further points to a lack of complete understanding of medicine and its effects. Prozac was once hailed as a super drug, but has since been debunked. This can challenge the credibility of prescription drugs as a whole, and point to safer forms of therapy that do not include pills.
10. Vestal, Christine. “Teen Xanax Abuse Is Surging.” The Pew Charitable Trusts, PEW, 24 Aug. 2018, http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/08/24/teen-xanax-abuse-is-surging.
Background: Christine Vestal opens up a discussion about a newer prescription drug that has become the center of use and abuse; Xanax. Christine discusses how 70% of adolescents will try an illicit drug by the age of 13, with a further 27% likely to try one after the age of 17. However, drug rates in adolescents are generally down. Since the 70’s, kids are less likely to use drugs now than they were then. However, even so, Xanax usage has spiked within the last few years. Although it has not shown up in studies or data yet, Doctors have noticed a huge increase in Xanax prescriptions and usage.
Why its important: This article is particularly interesting because it makes an assertion with no statistics to back the claim up. The claim that Xanax usage is increasing is backed up strictly by the opinions of Doctors and Pharmacists around the drug everyday. This may not show proof (yet) but it does show something even more powerful: genuine concern. By showing a more recent example of a prescription drug that has gotten popular and coupling it with the opinions of professionals, we can hopefully receive some kind of response or call to action by the reader going forward.