Monday, March 06, 2006


Study shows aversion to psychiatric drugs

Study shows aversion to psychiatric drugs

By Shari Rudavsky

While most people believe psychiatric drugs are effective, they're reluctant to use them themselves, according to a study released last week by Indiana University researchers.

The study found that about two-thirds of Americans believe that using medications can help people with mental health problems cope with the illness, but only 37 percent said they would take such drugs to treat stress, depression or personal troubles.

"What we find here is a real paradox," said Jack Martin, lead author of the report and executive director of IU's Karl Schuessler Institute for Social Research. "They think these things are effective. At the same time, they don't personally want to take these things."
It's not the fear of dangerous side effects or addiction that made interviewees reluctant to take these drugs, Martin said.

"It may well be that some of the reluctance to get treatment has to do with the stigma that they associate with having to take these drugs," he said. "We've got an effective treatment that people are reluctant to use. This suggests that we may want to re-emphasize our educational efforts."

The study, prepared by the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research, is part of an ongoing look at attitudes toward mental health and doctors in this country. It drew upon data from the 1998 General Social Survey, which interviewed about 1,400 people across the country.

It was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, IU and Eli Lilly and Co.
In addition to asking about mental health, the study also polled people on their attitudes toward doctors.
There, again, the results were confusing.

While about 70 percent said they trusted their own physician, nearly the same percentage -- about 60 -- were skeptical about the profession in general, saying doctors take unnecessary risks, charge for unnecessary services, perform surgeries unnecessarily and do not act in their patients' best interests.

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