Psychiatrist Dr. Ish Major answers viewers' psychological health questions. The first question is from social media from a woman who has hurt herself and wants to know the dangers of taking benzos and opiates. She wants to be out of pain but doesn’t want to become addicted.
Dr. Ish says if you are taking these pills for a day or two, or even a week, there’s no problem. When it becomes 3 – 4 weeks and then you abruptly stop, you're going to have withdrawal syndrome. He clarifies that doesn’t mean you’re addicted but just that your body is physically dependent. That raises the question from Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra, “So where do you draw the line between physiological dependence and psychological addiction?”
Dr. Ish says if you are having problems with work and relationships and are feeling the side effects of the medication, you may have a problem. Also, if you feel like you need to take larger amounts than when you first started. Lastly, if you can’t stop on your own, you are looking at an addiction situation.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says this is why as physicians they limit how long they prescribe medications for. He says they’re not trying to be mean, there’s a reason why! Dr. Ish adds if you are prescribed the medication for a longer amount of time such as 2 – 3 months, you should have a “stop date” in mind. Then, you and your doctor can come up with a sensible plan to taper off the medication so you don’t experience withdrawal.
The second viewer question is from someone who has a few family members who suffer from depression and wants to know, “Is depression inherited?”
Dr. Ish says “What’s baked in the bread, was first sifted in the flour,” meaning, yes, there is a 40% inheritance rate. However, this is not the whole story. There are biological, psychological and social issues as well.
He says that if parents in the house are modeling depressive behavior then their children may be affected.
Dr. Ordon says “That depressed attitude, that is contagious!” Dr. Ish agrees if that’s what a child sees, they will adopt those beliefs.
Dr. Ish tells people they can beat it. “The cure is in the therapy, the cure is not in the medication,” shares Dr. Ish. He says that most of the time there is a reason why we’re depressed and if you need medication to get through the tough spots, that’s okay, but let’s peel back the layers and really see what’s going on.