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If you go and see a psychiatrist in Japan, because they’re so inundated with the number of people, they’re not really able to do therapy with you, so it’s treated very much on a medication basis. While the medication is really important, patients are not really learning coping strategies or understanding how to get better.

17 Comments

Vickie Skorji, the director of the long-established TELL Lifeline counseling service. She says about 50% of callers to TELL that serves the international community in Japan are Japanese nationals.

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No surprise given the conveyor-belt approach to medical or dental care in Japan. I married into a clinic-family and it operates like a well-oiled machine, patients in and out in mere mins. No one with the temerity to ask sensei much of anything.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Unfortunately the Japanese are generally not good at mental health or emotional care. They rely on medicine rather than personal care, attention and communication. I don't know what the solution is though.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Try talking to people......naaaaa.

No time? Too busy? Too hard perhaps?

Take this pill. Next!

‘Expediency’, the national playbook.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A psychiatrist friend regularly attended conferences and meetings here in Japan and said it was a mixed bag here. There are still some doctors with private clinics who heavily prescribe, and others who are much more interested in therapy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So. let's get this right.  TELL, an international organization in Japan, gets calls from many Japanese people. The inference is that... many Japanese people choose to consult an international body exclusively, or for a second or third opinion in addition to available Japanese organizations?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan should be careful handing out medications of this nature like candy. Learn from the U.S experience.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan started to cut down radically on drugs about 20 or 30 years ago, and care in the community was all the buzzword.

My feeling is that Japanese people would consult 'abroad' for anything that could cause stigma within Japanese society. I am reminded of a Japanese friend who worked in an AIDS clinic in Hawaii where a large proportion of their customers flew out from Japan for testing.

In other words, I am wondering is it can be so easily put down to over-prescription of drugs, and the lack of any professional sympathetic ear.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Choose to visit a psychologist as opposed to a psychiatrist.  Psychologists rely on a therapeutic approach whereas psychiatrists tend to rely on a medicinal or drug based approach.

S

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

In my case lack of sleep caused by work stress is the source of depression. When I feel it coming on I pull out the rolodex and call my dad, brothers, friends, etc. So far so good.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

With something like 30% of Americans taking personality-affecting drugs, I hope Japan doesn't go that route. It's the great hidden epidemic in the US, and the cause of so much of the craziness there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@commanteer: With something like 30% of Americans taking personality-affecting drugs, I hope Japan doesn't go that route. It's the great hidden epidemic in the US, and the cause of so much of the craziness there.

Agreed, plus as a wise Polish friend pointed out to me, diet in and of itself can influence your mental state. I think eating so much meat and fat really affects American man (of which I am one). You just see a lot of red-faced angry guys, blowing up for no reason. Diet, diet, diet.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Let's keep in mind that Japan has a relatively low number of psychiatrists per capita (compared to other developed nations), hence 'they’re inundated with the number of people, they’re not really able to do therapy with you' etc

The other issue (imo) is that Japanese GPs (well 'specialised' GP really) arent trained to diagnose/treat early stages of depression, anxiety etc so J psychiatrists have to pretty much handle most if not all mental health issues on their own. In the West, most anti depressant/anxiety treatments are initiated by GPs and only the most severe cases are referred for psychiatric consultation (hospital/private practice). That's why antidepressants arent overprescribed in Japan the same way they are in the west especially in the anglo world. https://www.businessinsider.com/countries-largest-antidepressant-drug-users-2016-2

As an aside, it would have been interesting to know the most common reasons for consulting a psychiatrist in Japan (depression, bipolar/schizophrenia, anxiety etc)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rodolex:

Well done. Great strategy to ward off depression. A supportive family can do us wonders when we are down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Reckless:

Sorry! Got your name wrong.

Well done. Great strategy to ward off depression. A supportive family can do us wonders when we are down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Free therapy advice - take a break from being online from time to time. Works a treat & you get to realise that most people (irl) aren't the monsters they appear in the internet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No surprise given the conveyor-belt approach to medical or dental care in Japan. I married into a clinic-family and it operates like a well-oiled machine, patients in and out in mere mins. No one with the temerity to ask sensei much of anything.

Well said. Not sure how anyone could down-vote this. The same issue applies to all kinds of doctors, not just psychiatrists.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Expect more in the future as the mollycoddled and mendokusai generations hit their 40s and realize some pretty confronting facts about themselves. Not sure if a pill can help a life of wasted potential. It’s the massive systematic culture of collectivism that is the root of many of Japans inner woes. Hope they work it out eventually. You can only hide mediocrity within the group for so long.

Individuate!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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