Such a pretty spider. The fear of spiders is called Arachnophobia and, if you have a strong fear that interferes with your daily routine, then you probably went to your primary physician who then prescribed a pill. But, did you know that many anxiety disorders can be addressed and ultimately eliminated through established psychological techniques? However, those disorder types that could be manage through psychological techniques, such as panic disorder or simple phobias, are disrupted by the addictive characteristics of anti-anxiety medications.
Case in point. I regularly get phone calls from people who want to refill their anxiety medication and openly state that they don't need therapy but only want the medication. As a psychologist in Texas, we do not prescribe medications but we can prescribe ways to address your anxiety.
It may well be that these callers already have a counselor or a therapist and only need psychiatric treatment. Consequently, there is no need for another therapist. However, for those in therapy and who have psychiatric treatment will struggle to let go of their medication because of the discomfort tied with stopping the medication over the short-term, and the difficulty implementing long-term changes in lifestyle.
My question is this: Do pharmaceutical companies do better than psychologists or other mental health professionals in promoting types of treatments?
The clear answer is a resounding yes. Take the difference between the two. The most impressive evidence is the amount of money grossed by pharmaceutical companies that sell Benzodiazepines (i.e. Xanax, Clonodine, Klonopin) and Selective Seretonin Reuptake Inhibitors (i.e. Sertraline, Paxil), which is in the billions. By this difference, Big Pharma is the clear winner. This is in contrast to psychologists.
We psychologists do very little to promote our scientific-based approaches to the larger community. Some, though, are effective, and the outcomes are positive. For example, the most well-known contemporary psychologist, who broadcasts on YouTube, is Jordan Peterson. His fame, however, came from the misinterpretation of his statements on compelled speech and not from the subject matter of his latest book. His book is brilliant.
The most well-known self-help information does not come from psychologists directly, but from intelligent, media personalities such as Tim Ferris, Joe Rogan, and/or Tom Bilyal, who speak with experts and authorities in their field and disseminates the information to their listeners, as well as performing their recommendations themselves to highlight their effectiveness.
If psychological research results fail to find an audience, and the public continues to rely on politicians to understand human behavior and the characteristics related to emotional, personality, and/or behavioral well-being, we will continue in conflict with other groups of people based on socially contrived constructs, fall into domestic violence, and continue with the struggle to separate oneself from the tight grip of pharmaceutical drug dependency. The challenge is to lead in the fight to prevent mental illness, and avoid following in the fiscal shadow of psychiatry.