British Doctors Prescribe Reading Rather than Prozac
British doctors have a new prescription for patients with mild to moderate depression – reading.
Under a new program in the UK, patients are directed to self-help books such as "Overcoming Depression" and "How to Stop Worrying" instead of receiving prescriptions for anti-depressant drugs like Prozac. Doctors say they began prescribing books due to their concern that many patients were either being medicated too hastily or going untreated, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The program, called "bibliotherapy," is also a cost-saving measure. The state-run health care system in the UK can't afford one-to-one counseling for everyone, and patients can wait as long as 18 months for an appointment.
"Concerns about overuse of antidepressants – and about how to treat the growing depression burden in general – have been voiced in many countries, including the U.S., making the British experiment a test case for others to watch," the Post reports.
Bibliotherapy has been used to treat thousands of patients and could reach 250,000 within a few years, according to Neil Frude, a psychologist who set up the first bibliotherapy program in Wales three years ago.
But bibliotherapy is not without its risks. Patients may fail to read the books, and in a few cases severely depressed people have been directed to the self-help program when more serious treatment was required (NewsMax.com, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005).
[TBC: Before the encroachment of psychology, common sense noted that many of our problems are simply fixation on self. For the Christian, we are instructed to “run the race” looking “unto Jesus” (Hebrews:12:1-2), not turning within ourselves.]