I haven’t got exact figures, (I’m sure someone could hunt them up for me? HINT HINT) on the use of antidepressants in Denmark. I understand it is pretty high. Especially given the “fact” that Denmark often comes on top or near the top of “Happiness Surveys”.
One Dansplanation I heard accounting for the level of antidepressant usage in Denmark was it was the old people in institutions that were pulling up the average. I am not sure how that makes it better? Presumably old people in care homes are “people” too and should count towards the overall average happiness level of a country. If being in a care home is depressing enough to necessitate the usage of pharmaceuticals and a lot of people are in such depressing situations, then that country is not as “happy” as everyone thinks.
Anyway. As with most Dansplanations, it is total bollocks. People from all sorts of walks of life are on antidepressants. As you probably already know, the usage of antidepressants is not a magic bullet and often controversial.
Here is a selection of stories from Denmark about mental health. The first deals with borough councils forcing those who are on sickness benefits for depression to take antidepressants, the second is about a borough who want to force a woman to receive electroshock treatment against medical advice, the third is about a man who the borough councils would like to force to have electroshock therapy before they will help him find a part-time “flexi” job, the fourth is from a couple of years ago about how pregnant women are forced to choose antidepressants because talking therapy is too expensive for them; and the last is from a few years ago about a woman who became depressed after being falsely accused by the borough council of abuse who can no longer afford the medication.
If I hear one more person praise Denmark’s social services system and free health care, I swear to God, you are going to lose a tooth. The social system is highly variable. If you get a shithead social worker, your life is over. If you become mentally distressed (which is super common in this country), your freedom of choice is over. Do what they say or ELSE. Even if your doctor does not agree with their treatment recommendation. They are the ones who decide.
Danish health care is NOT free. Our taxes pay for it and we pay top dollar. If you need treatment, for example talking therapy or medication, you pay a large contribution towards it. On top of your tax contributions. You would expect excellent quality for that amount of money but instead, Danish health care is just barely mediocre.
Still, I expect a lot of people will believe none this will happen to THEM. People who are sick or mentally ill deserved it; because of some misdeed or negative thinking in their past. You will be so careful to avoid their mistakes, so the boroughs will never force you to have electroshock therapy. Right?
This is taken from DR: Boroughs can force the sick onto antidepressants
The Appeals Board has just ruled that boroughs are allowed to force the sick onto antidepressants, if their sickness benefits are to be extended or they have to retire early due to ill health, writes the union magazine 3F.
This has happened despite two previous ministers Bertel Haarder and Inger Støjberg (V) promised in a consultation a year ago that boroughs must never force the sick onto antidepressants.
Vice-president of 3F Johnny Skovengaard thinks that it is an attack to force citizens to take anti-depressant medicine if they don’t want to lose their income.
“It’s a slippery slope… what’s next? That sick citizens have to be forced to take stronger medicine? Minister for Employment Mette Frederiksen must get on top of this case,” said Johnny Skovengaard to the union magazine 3F.
The Appeals Board stressed however that psychiatrists or doctors should prescribe the antidepressant medicine as treatment.
Taken from TV2 South: Vejen borough council suggested electroshock to a woman
Vejen borough council recommended to a chronically depressed woman that she should have electroshock therapy.
A woman from Vejen has to live for six years without income. It isn’t until 2018 that she can have a basic pension. Vejen borough will not give her sickness benefits or early retirement.
The borough do not think that all possible treatments for her chronic depression have been explored. The borough think that electroshock treatment is a possibility.
But the treatment is not recommended by her psychiatrist and she is frightened of it.
“I think that all treatment possibilities have been exhausted. I cannot think of any treatments that we have not tried,” said psychiatrist and consultant Lokalpsykiatri Brørup Sven Bjarne Nielsen to Politiken.
The woman can now look forward to a good six years where she has to live on her husband’s income.
This is taken from DR: Demands on electroshock creates a discussion
39 year old Heine Pedersen from Silkeborg will be forced to have electroshock therapy if he wants a flexijob.
He has been sick for five years with stress, depression and anxiety and now he would like a flexijob. And his borough council are not going to support him before he follows his doctor’s advice and has electroshock treatment.
Despite worries that he will get memory problems from the electroshock treatment, Heine Pedersen has bowed to the borough’s demands.
Silkeborg’s job and citizen service boss Michael Maaløe maintains that the borough has the law on it’s side.
“When his doctor has said it is possibility, he has to try it,” said the job boss.
SF’s workplace spokesman Eigil Andersen said that if the rules are that way, that one can threaten people with electroshock treatment, so the rules need to be changed.
The Social Democratic mayor in Silkeborg Hanne Bæk Olsen said that it is difficult discussion.
“It’s good if people have to take up all the treatment options there on offer from the public authorities. But it is difficult when we talk directly about treatment.”
This is taken from Ekstra Bladet: Pregnant women forced onto antidepressants (31st October 2011)
Conveyer belts: Doctors put depressed pregnant women on dangerous antidepressants because psychologists are too expensive.
The price of a psychologist’s consultation and rushed doctors pressure pregnant women to take medicine that is dangerous for their foetus.
Even though the Health Board in their guidance write that doctors should always make sure they offer depressed pregnant women consultations with a psychologist, doctors forget to refer them to therapy.
Or the patients have to say no to the appointments because they cannot afford the expensive psychologist fees.
Many pregnant women are therefore forced to take antidepressants and expose their children to potential side effects that can in worst cases be massively harmful.
The Medicines board has received information about 86 cases of serious side effects that result from the use of antidepressant medicine in pregnancy. Of these, four cases resulted in the death of a baby and 18 resulted in miscarriage or stillbirth.
Today pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 37 pay 373 kr (65 USD) for the first consultation and 311 kr (54 USD) for the next appointment while they are pregnant, where those who fall outside of that age group have to pay the whole bill of around 1000 kr (176 USD) per hour.
A therapeutic treatment at a psychologist can run up into thousands of kroner and therefore instead some pregnant women take antidepressants that only cost a couple of kroner a day.
The money decides confirms Henrik Dibbern, who is president for the Practice Doctors Organisation.
“Doctors often forget to offer psychological help to the depressed because they have experienced that so many cannot afford it. It’s a big problem that they have to pay for it themselves.
“When we are talking psychological help, it’s a significant amount of many hundreds of kroner every appointment.
“And I have had a large number of patients who wanted to see a psychologist and would have benefited from it but had to choose against because they couldn’t afford it. They must instead take antidepressants which are a lot cheaper,” he said.
Fatal consequences. At the Danish Psychologists Group, the president Roal Ulrichsen also recognises the problem.
“It’s really crappy that some of the economic reasons are prioritised over health considerations, so they or their unborn child are damaged. Especially in the situation where psychological help can be just as effective as medicine.
“It’s a really serious situation, what is going on here. It is the first nine months of the formation of a new life which could have fatal consequences,” he said.
Facts: Without pills.
Many scientific studies have documented that non-medical treatment such as conversation therapy and exercise has an effect on light-to-moderate depression.
The opportunities for psychotherapeutic treatment ought to always be recommended for depression amongst the pregnant, says the Health Board’s guidance on the area.
Medical treatment of depression for pregnant women, by SSRI (antidepressants) can be necessary in some cases. It can be for example in cases of severe depression or when there is a large risk of relapse into depression if a medical treatment is stopped.
According to the Health Board’s guidance treatment ought to happen with the supervision of a specialist psychiatrist.
Taken from: BT: Now I cannot afford medicine (22nd December 2010)
Mie Hansen suffers from a depression but since the prices sharply increased in the summer, she has not been able to afford her treatment with the antidepressant citalopram. The medicine has increased from 56 kroner (10 USD) for 100 pills to nearly 700 kroner (123 USD). (Before the “frequent flier discount”- editor)
The price increase shocked 29 year old Mie Hansen so much that she chose to leave the chemist without her medicine that she needs to deal with everyday life.
Mie Hansen is a mother to twin girls Naja and Amelie, who are 3 and a half years old.
Without medicine, Mie Hansen finds it hard to handle everyday life. Practical things that healthy people barely think about, like shopping, laundry and food making become unsurmountable problems.
“When someone is depressed and does not take medicine, you are dead inside. I look negatively at everything and just sit on the sofa and cannot take hold of any of the practical problems like having a wash, laundry and going shopping,” said Mie Hansen who lives in Nivå.
She became depressed when her girls were about a year old. Naja had some bleeding in an eye and a doctor suspected Mie Hansen for having shaken Naja so violently that she bled and would become blind. Mie Hansen was arrested for violence against the child and the authorities threatened to forcibly remove both twins.
An eye specialist a few months later discovered that a congenital tumor in the eye caused the previous bleeding and Mie Hansen and the girls’ father were cleared of any suspicion.
“I knew that there was something wrong with the children and it was congenital. But the doctors and the authorities believed that it was an injury I had inflicted on my child and I went down for the count,” she said about the cause of her depression.
It turned out that both girls were born with a very rare genetic disorder that meant that they had tumors in their eyes and too much pressure on the brain. They were developmentally delayed and now at the age of three and a half have they begun to say a few words.
Many months without medicine
After the relationship with the twins’ father went to pieces, Mie Hansen stayed home to look after her children who are often admitted to hospital.
“I don’t have much money and can’t just take a little job.
“So, when this summer I stood in the chemist’s and had to pay around 470 kroner instead of 48 kroner for my medicine, I didn’t buy anything. I couldn’t get on top of the situation and it took months before I got my doctor to prescribe another, cheaper medicine. But it made me nauseous and throw up, so I stopped after two weeks and it came back again.” Now Mie Hansen’s doctor has persuaded her that she needs to prioritise pills in her budget.
“Now that I have bought pills, I have 900 kroner (158 USD) for the rest of the month on food and Christmas presents for the children,” she said.