Newsweek: Do Antidepressants Work? For Many People, YES!I admire Newsweek writer Sharon Begley’s work … especially when she explains ways we can try to rewire our brain. But I found last week’s cover story irresponsible. If, for no …

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Newsweek: Do Antidepressants Work? For Many People, YES!

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  1. This article illustrates the difficulty people have in understanding research. The author desperately wants to believe that antidepressant drugs are more than a placebo, so she she simply denies the evidence. She thinks a drug helped her, (a study of one) so she thinks they will help everyone, even though the research on thousands of people says the drugs work (when they work) because of the placebo effect. Of course an individual could take a pill and feel better, but that does not mean the pill is anything more than a placebo. We have to have large-scale studies and meta-analyses to find out which pills are placebos and which are not. The evidence (which the author simply discounts) is that antidepressants are placebos. The author recommends that people with depression either take drugs or try “diet, sleep, exercise, yoga, or acupuncture.” Where is the evidence that any of these are effective treatments for depression (other than maybe exercise)? The author cites no research, she simple prescribes these things. Maybe they will help a few people, but if they do, it will be due to the placebo effect, the very effect the author denies exists. If I followed the author’s advice and told my next depressed client “just go try acupuncture” I would be guilty of malpractice. Evidently the author has no background or training in psychology and has no familiarity with the literature. That would be fine (she’s just a blogger, not a therapist) except readers may actually take her advice. I would like to suggest a better treatment for depression, which the author of the article never mentions: psychotherapy. It actually is an effective treatment for depression. People don’t have to choose between acupuncture and drugs, as the author implies. Anyone who examines the literature objectively will conclude that psychotherapy is the treatment of choice for depression.

  2. Thanks Therese, you’re doing a great job of explaining this subject and making it clearer to many people.

  3. Therese, it’s a little difficult to respond to your post, because you make it so personal, but… I think that there is a flip-side to the situation you described.

    There are many people who think that if they just hit upon the right combination of psychotropic drugs, in the right dosages, then all their problems will disappear. Such people spend years fruitlessly fiddling with psychopharmacology, when they could have instead used more-effective means to address their mental health problems. One of my close friends has been engaged in such a search for many years. I’d send him the Newsweek article, but I know he wouldn’t read it.

  4. The issue of anti-depressants remains complex and there tend to be polarities – some in the medical and pharmaceutical fraternities who claim that they are lifesavers and cite data to prove that the black box warnings of potential suicide risk actually increased suicide due to a decrease in use of anti-depressants and others who show clear increase of risk of suicide as well as tendencies by pharmaceutical firms and their paid researchers to literally hide negative results and create fear. The stats seem small in terms of benefits against actual completed suicides, but if you were one who lost a family member to suicide in circumstances that had a strong link to an anti-depressant, the stats are not so small. I lost my 20 year old daughter – she took her life one day after an increase in her dosage of effexor. None of the doctors who were involved in her care ever gave us a warning of the increased suicidal risk even though she was in the highest risk category – having borderline personality disorder. There is nuance in use of the anti-depressants and too many practitioners prescribe these drugs in a rather off handed manner without really giving care to the potential risk. After my daughter’s death, I found through research that the ocmbination of her BPD, as well as her history of drug abuse (though she claimed she was not taking any drugs), put her into a risk category of a 20% or higher probablity of suicide within 5 years. No one told us.. and we paid the ultimate price.
    the bottom line is this…. prescribing or taking these drugs is not like taking aspirin or tylenol — family members and the patient have to be properly advised on cautions, and done so in a manner that is serious…. otherwise, you may be left with a lifetime of sorrow. If you want a notion of the impact of one of these drugs.. Effexor.. go to the effexor petition and read the experiences of thousands of users..

  5. As a psychiatrist who has prescribed antidepressants for people who truly need them, what question that should be asked at a site like this is “why do Americans consume approximately 60% of the total number of antidepressant prescriptions worldwide as of the past few years?”

    Being if not THE most advanced and functional society on this planet, more of us are depressed and need chemical interventions than other countries with more socioeconomic hardaches and other true cultural struggles? You know what this is truly about, folks? Both the pharma industry and lazy providers want you to think and believe that when you are struggling from legitimate psychosocial stressors and are distressed, but really do not meet the criteria of Major Depression that warrants the use of antidepressants, you need a pill because you have a biochemical imbalance. So, you can hear and learn how to problem solve, work on coping skills, and examine how cognitive mindsets can reinforce negative and catastophic thinking and how to reframe such mindsets, or, you can listen to someone who spends, what, 10 to 15 minutes at most, often nonpsychiatrists, and walk out with the “magic pill”, but not really experience the magic as soon as you think you should.

    So, the answer I have to the question of this post, is, yes, antidepressants work, more often for people who are truly depressed and dysfunctional from depression. But, if you are depressed from depressing issues, the pills don’t resolve the issues, do they? So, from a provider who fairly well knows when to prescribe medications with the best likelihood of success and minimizing side effects, don’t believe the hype!

    By the way, read today in The Week magazine how Britain recently again apologized to the women who were sold on using Thalidomide to minimize nausea in pregnancy back in the late 50′s to early 60′s, to later find out to true horror how this medication caused horrendous birth defects and neonatal deaths. The article says the government was complicitous in this misuse of the medication.

    Hmmm, with health care reform on the horizon, certainly not a sunrise I want to watch, you really think the bean counters in DC who will direct mental health care services will really care if medications, new or old, that have true toxicities will be better managed and monitored?

    While I do not know the facts to the above Szimonsays comment, his story reveals the coming reality this culture will have literally shoved down its throat. It is not about meds, it is about standard of care. Medication is not a savior, it is an adjunct.

    For every story of someone miraculously getting better with just a pill, the next 5 to 7 don’t. But don’t believe me. Professor Marvel from the Wizard of Oz will see into his crystal ball and tell you your future.

    Just pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

  6. I must share something that happened to me the other day and it ties in well with the theme of this post. A dear friend of mine called my wife and told her that the guy her sister is involved with isn’t well. My wife asked what isn’t well about him, to which she was informed that he takes medication for anxiety. My wife asked, “So? What’s not well about him.” And so the conversation went in circles until she said she was busy with something and politely excused herself from the conversation.

    What this dear friend saw as a sign of being “unwell,” I viewed as just the opposite. Here is somebody who recognizes his feelings, seeks appropriate help when needed, and rectifies the situation.

    Although this young man may be on anti-anxiety medication, he is much more “well” than those who need medication but refrain for fear of being (erroneously) labeled “unwell.”

  7. Hi, Therese–I appreciated your comments (and John’s) on the piece by Sharon Begley. There are many problems not only with Ms. Begley’s piece in Newsweek, but also with the two big studies (“meta-analyses”) on which she relies so heavily. I am posting a long blog on the Psychiatric Times website soon–probably mid-wee–and I won’t preempt that here.

    I will just say this: there is very good evidence that for the most serious (“melancholic”) forms of major (unipolar) depression, antidepressants are effective, and clearly “separate” from placebo. As we move farther and farther away from that “pole”, toward what amounts to transient, mild depressive states similar to “ordinary unhappiness”, the smaller the drug-placebo difference becomes. This is known as a “floor” effect, and is really not very surprising at all–these medications were never intended to treat “bad hair days”!

    Unfortunately, the DSM construct of “Major Depressive Disorder” is so elastic, you can wrap it around almost anybody who has had two weeks worth of really, really bad moods. The meta-analyses cited by Begley don’t clearly distinguish very short, single bouts of “major” depression from very long, recurrent ones.

    Also: Ms. Begley seems unaware of what the “placebo” group in a large study actually receives–far more than a sugar pill! These folks get lots of evaluation, care, and attention–probably some “TLC”-when they enter these studies.

    All that said, antidepressants are far from the “answer” to something as complex and individual as depression. They have been “oversold” by Big Pharma, and are both over-prescribed and under-prescribed, depending on the setting and circumstances. The sad fact is, most people in the U.S. with severe depression get little or no care at all! That is the real tragedy that is barely addressed in the Newsweek article.

    Best regards, Ron Pies MD

    Ronald Pies MD is Editor in Chief of Psychiatric Times. A disclosure statement may be found on the Psychiatric Times website, by clicking on “Board”.

  8. Great article. I suffer from mild depression and have never wanted to go down the tablets route but my partner has and I know how helpful they were for him.

    I suppose the old adage is that bad news sells regardless of how it affects people. I fear that it will be some time before journalism changes.

  9. Alex C. I was one of those people who kept looking for that wonderful medication. Finally, after horrific side effects, I made the decision to taper off of them. I am down to 1 med from an original 4 med cocktail.

    Send the article to your friend even if you think he won’t read it. Maybe he will ignore it this time but you never know what the future brings.

    Kate, you’re right on target about journalism. And the reverse side of the coin is that I found articles about having to stay on antidepressants for life depressing. It all depends on your perspective.

    Personally, I wish I had come across this article alot sooner as maybe I could have realized earlier these meds weren’t working and avoided some of the side effects.

  10. I have not read the Newsweek article, but have read several others of similar content in the recent news. I have had bouts of depression and anxiety since age 11. The last major episode was in the form of post partum depression 20 years ago. I can truly say that Prozac saved my life, in more ways than one.

    One of the best pieces of advice given to me by the psychiatrist who prescribed Prozac was “your activity is as important as your medication.” I generally maintain a busy life as a wife, mother, and business owner. I try to take care of my brain through proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and exercise. Taking a SSRI is just part of my life, if I want to function normally.

    I am close to menopause now and have found the hormonal fluctuations playing havoc with my brain. In spite of all my preventative measures, it has been necessary to adjust my antidepressant dosage several times.

    I have a parent, siblings, and relatives who suffer from depression, anxiety, and/or OCD. Many have sought medical help and have had success via antidepressants. There is no question in my mind of a genetic link to depression and other mental health issues.

    I shudder to think what my life would be without the benefit of antidepressants. I don’t like the thought of being on meds the rest of my life, but I would have no life without the intervention of modern pharmacology.

  11. Well, I guess the main question would be, after 4-5 years, are you still taking the anti-depressants? If so, I would have to say that they failed to actually help and just act as a buffering mechanism to keep the depression away. I had a tragic experience with Lexapro prescribed by a PCP which almost ruined my entire life. I then went to a therapist and am drug free and much happier than ever in my life, just fixing my thinking patterns that keep me trapped. I can’t really say that studies could be relied on b/c they are not even true data. They have been manipulated and falsified so that they are basically worthless at this point. We don’t know if they work or not or really what they do. We don’t have any true factual information.

  12. This is a very personal piece and I am truly happy that you are feeling better.

    However, until somebody can site even ONE large study NOT FUNDED BY THE DRUG COMPANIES, I will remain unconvinced of SSRIs’ non-placebo effectiveness.

    In fact, independent studies, like the one at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital showed SSRIs to be, at best, useless, at worst, potentially harmful for TBI patients.

    The respected independent BBC programme, Panorama, did an absolutely devastating documentary on SSRIs.

    Until somebody independent PROVES otherwise, I will trust more in the integrity of Panorama than the drug companies.

  13. for those who refused the working effect of anti.dep. … so what then ?? should ppl suffering depresion kill them selves ?? i have my own theory ..for those ppl who offend the medication theory and also for those who told that anti dep. didnt work for them :) i have to say to them sorry u r not depressed anyway .. no one can do how depression is >>its the dakness i swear .. and for those who say (( just go for exrecise and diet and u will be fine and iam controlling my thoughts )) i have to shout .. u have no relation to deprresion because when u deprresed ur fuel is vanished … and everything seems to be silly joke .. and so ?? and what do u really know about depression ?? its not just because of divorcing of losing job or other wise >> i really laugh when someone think he is deprresed cause his lover left him or her.. and at last my advice for ppl who talk about the deprresion or medication like anti.dep should shut up ther mouthes if not they are deprresed or they r doctors … its not easy to understand losing of ur motivation in life …u dont even know about depresonlizaton disorder … panic attack … which sometime be the complete reaction of anxiety and dep. .. benzo helped a lot of ppl ..even zaleplon a sedative med. help sometimes and save lives .. and really i wonder why the anti-anti dep. ppl take into consedration the individual failure ..and neglect the individual stories of success … individaul exprience …each have its own reason .. so if anti- dep worked for one ..so it will work for another but under condition a good expert physican with good understanding with everycase .. so plz darama queens keep away from really deprresed ppl ..

  14. sorry for some errors with my english .. and i have another idea .. how anti. dep destroy brains ..and some times work ..wtf ??? and about saying it just a placepo …so why some kinds doesnt work for one person and another work ??? wtf ppl telling ?? an for those who denied the serotinin thoery ..may ask themselves.. what is the rule of serotinin and dopamine ?? just return to some scintific article .. i knw u will find these sentence (( its thought that serotinin play a rule in deprresion )) and this because the mechanism of action not the result .. so dont mix the cards ..

  15. I have read hundreds of medical articles. I can tell you that half of the studies into some antidepressants show they work no better than placebo.

    People didn’t believe me when I pointed this nasty fact out so I did some digging and found that I’m not alone in noticing this.

    According to an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine and as discussed in the Psychiatry journal, only 50% of studies into antidepressants clearly show they work better than placebo.

    On the other hand, we know for sure that antidepressants increase risk of suicidal ideation among other nasty unpleasant side effects.

    I’m not saying that they don’t work or that they aren’t life saving for some. Just that there are some horrible skeletons in their closet that you just don’t hear about.

  16. OK so if one cannot afford a good therapist what does one do? Just suffer? I exercise (really push myself to do so) eat a healthy diet and meditate and cannot get of of this hole. So I am moving closer to antidepressants every day. How can I not? This life is tryly killing day by day. Why would a trial with a pill not be advisable?

    • I hate it when people just say, “get some excercise” “Talk to friends” “Go to work, it’ll make you feel better” “control your thoughts” as a solution to depression. Like people with depression haven’t tried all these things. I’ve had severe depression for 15 years and I’m only 25. I’ve never really gone down the anit-depres path although, have thought about it alot. I’ve always believed I could beat it without it, that I was was such a strong person I didn’t need those things. Over 15 years I’ve just been worn down, my discipline and determination, pretty much completely gone. I struggle to get out of bed and in fact am in a pretty bad slump at the moment where I’ve only left the house in twice in a week ‘n’ half (once for my aunty’s b’day, once to the shops) and have barely gotten out of bed in the rest of the period. I go through periods where I get so bad this sort of thing happens, until I recuperate just a little, re-muster my strength and go back out in the world. Over time, it doesn’t get better, just slowly gets worse. I’ve spoked to docters and various specialists who haven’t been that helpful (and no real support), I’ve always been pretty hessitant to go on anti-depress.. though I might need to commit and give it a proper try. What I’ve heard about the side-effects sounds strange to me. Supposedly the side effects are things like… suicidal thoughts… becoming completely numb inside and not be able to really feel emotion… I’m sorry but isn’t that depression? If the meds MAKE you feel that way, than it sounds like you don’t have REAL depression in the 1st place. Sounds like people like that are just sad and the meds are than effecting that part of their brain, but because their isn’t actually anything wrong with it, the meds have the opposite effect and actually make them depressed. Sadness is a part of life, you get over whatever caused it, and then you move on. True severe depression is crippling, you can’t do anything, it takes huge amounts of motivation just to get out of bed in the morning. Over 15 years I’ve done all the original things I said at the top. I’ve excercised 5-7 times a week, gone to work for every day for months-years on end and all the rest (truth is work actually make me worse, having to fake your feelings around people to appear normal on a daily bases takes alot out of you). Gone out with friends on a very regular basis (same prob with faking feelings though) . And although it does help slightly, it doesn’t solve anything. It’s like trying to fix a stab wound with bandaids, slows the bleeding down a bit, but you still know your gonna die, if the problem doesn’t get fixed properly. It’s sad, I use to be such a happy person. I was popular, smart, naturally good at sports and always did well with girls. When I started getting depressed I hid it from people and just carried on with my life, for many years. Went to school and carried on with a normal life and no one ever thought there was a problem because I appeared to have a happy, good life. When I 1st started mentioning things (Which is extremely hard to do, it’s embarrassing to talk about these things with people, people think you’re weak, and you feel weak), my mum never took it seriously and always laughed and told me there was nothing wrong with me (her solution to most things like that), and I could never convince her otherwise so I just didn’t talk to her about it. Years later and my dad has now died (I barely felt anything at all when it happened, just use to that kind of pain I guess), and turns out that he too had depression and he himself was seeking treatment in his last years because of his new partner (big surprise he was always against mental disorders). It appears it might actually run in the family. My dad was always very popular at school aswell and the church wasn’t big enough (big church) to fit all his friends who came to grieve him. His friends were more upset than I was… that’s a bad feeling to have and realise.

      • i feel exactly the same way.I am in exactly the same position. Everyone’s brain chemistry and condition is totally unique unto themselves. What works for one, will not work for another. Medication isn’t the magic cure all pill, but nothing is. The fact is that medication is a tool to help people, just like meditation or therapy. I have really been gung ho on not having to take a medication, because I’ve tried a few before and they had some side effects, but at the same time, some made me feel so much better and I was able to get out and live my life, and not be a prisoner of my anxiety, depression and panic. I’m sorry, but after everything I’ve tried, including numerous counselors, self help books and programs, exercising daily, eating all organic diet, hypnotherapy, meditation, yoga, seeing a chiropractor and having nutritional response testing/supplement routine, and also having blood tests to see if i had any health conditions that mimicked anxiety or depression symptoms, NOTHING has helped me or really made any significant improvement whatsoever for me. Like some people have state, what do people like me do now? People who have exhausted all the other methods of help, who have spent countless hundreds, even thousands of dollars trying to get help, spent so much time and effort and seen literally minimal if no results? I HAVE no other options. My symptoms don’t improve, and I have nothing else I can do or try. Maybe medication is a necessary evil for some people. I hate the idea of taking a medication and being dependent on it, and the side effects. But at this point I don’t have a life, and I use all my energy, which, mind you is barely even there because i’m exhausted constantly, even though I do all the natural things that are supposed to help improve these symptoms. I don’t have any other options or choices left. I promised myself that I would try every avenue out there before taking a medication, and I’m really disappointed that nothing has worked, so now I have to face the prospect of taking a pill. I hate it, but for me, it’s something that would be worth dealing with side effects, just so I could function again and be happy and not have to be trapped inside these disorders day in and day out. I think a lot of these people who speak harshly about medication being evil, or that it doesn’t work, or that only natural ways are beneficial and work (don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for natural ways of treating illness) but, I don’t think they truly understand or even know what it’s like to live with a mental illness like this. It seriously takes away your whole life. If you had to deal with this for most of your life, and you had never experienced it before, you’d probably kill yourself. The fact is that someone who doesn’t deal with these disorders, do not understand, and they NEVER will. I’m not pro-medication, believe me. I’ve been just as angry and anti-medication as the rest of them. I know that big pharma covers up serious medication information and they lie about it, and doctors over prescribe medication, and the harmful effects of medication. At the same time, medication does have it’s benefits for people too. I just wish people weren’t always so black and white with everything. NOTHING is totally perfect or infallible. Everything has a positive and negative side to it. Personally, as someone who deals with mental disorders, and has to accept possibly taking medication, I think it’s really harmful and it causes even more stress when I try to find information online and all I can read about are extremists who go back and forth arguing about what THEY think is right. You know what? What’s right for someone isn’t right for the rest of the world. I bet most of them don’t even have to deal with any mental disorder either, so it’s so much easier from their point of view to just say, medication is totally bad, and that all people need to do is “think positive” and they’ll be cured. I really think society needs to be more educated and a little more sensitive to people with mental illness.

  17. This article gives me hope. Thank you :)

  18. Much evidence now points to depression & other mood disorders resulting from stress basically destroying the brain – glucocorticoids causing the death of neurons and dendtrites and even the withering away of whole brain regions. Much evidence also points to antidepressants stimulating neurogenesis – by acting on the glucocorticoid receptors and switching on genes which encourage stem cells to grow and also to speed up growth. Basically prozac,zoloft etc act as a brain cell fertilizer. Many leading neuroscientists regard clinical depression to be a neuro-degenerative disorder and not just a chemical imbalance. I have taken antidepressants for 8 months now – I was an anxious, depressive, ocd ravaged nervous wreck – and now I am not. I was tired all day long & now I am not. If depression and stress destroy the brain, and antidepressants rebuild it – all of which has been proven – where is the argument? You can listen to every so called expert, and every patient for whom meds failed – possibly for not sticking with it, or trying the wrong med for their body chemistry but you can’t argue plain physics. Paxil was terrible for me but worked for my friend – Zoloft for me was a life changing wonder drug. People love to whinge and be negative. No doubt some people can’t be helped, and I feel truly sorry for them – after all, our brain is basically who are. For all the people out there who wish to knock these drugs just remember that you may deter someone from finding a way out of a horrible existence.

    • I tried zoloft years back and it was one that did work quite well for me, actually. I am debating whether or not to go back on it because, as I stated above, I’ve tried so many things this past year and I’m still at square one, making minimal if no progress at all. It sucks, and it scares me and causes me anxiety and worry thinking about taking a chemical synthetic drug that can damage my brain and the withdrawal symptoms and all the other scary stories you read about, but at the same time, I can’t live like this the rest of my life either

  19. Gives me hope

  20. As someone whose life was incredibly damaged by SSRIs (I now suffer from Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction, in other words I am someone in my 20s who cannot have sex which means no relationship and missing out on a huge part of life) I was very happy that Sharon Begley had the guts to publish this article. I think the truth of the matter lies in genetics. A genetic study showed that one variant predicted how people would respond to SSRIs by 7x. That is if you have this variant you will respond positively, if you don’t – well then perhaps not. The problem is 70% of the population has the version of the gene that means SSRIs won’t work. My guess is that the reason different studies show different things is because of this.

    I think SSRIs are over prescribed. I was in that dark place once, I still am sometimes, but I would much rather have the ability to function sexually and the ability to have a relationship. I should never have been given these drugs. Sure depression is difficult to deal with, I have been dealing with it for 5 years, but I can say SSRIs did not help me at all. I fully support Sharon Begley in exposing the fact that for most people this is true. Depression sucks, I cannot agree more, but there is research demonstrating other things to be more effective anyways. What has helped me? Exercise, therapy, friends, activities, hard work on my issues – not drugs.

  21. “There are many people who think that if they just hit upon the right combination of psychotropic drugs, in the right dosages, then all their problems will disappear. Such people spend years fruitlessly fiddling with psychopharmacology, when they could have instead used more-effective means to address their mental health problems. One of my close friends has been engaged in such a search for many years. I’d send him the Newsweek article, but I know he wouldn’t read it.”

    So much freaking word. I had issues almost whole my life… after a minibreak up at first year of my uni, I decided to seek “help”. Had I not been triggered into walking out of the door by being said that “maybe University is not for you” (I graduated on HS that was nothing more than HS prep. I have brains, but not not a good physical constitution… jobs where I will use my brains most of the time are the only option for me. And one needs Uni degree for that), I may have ended up tangled into mental health system, trying one pill after another, hoping it will take them thoughts away. And possibly ending up dead as it is known fact increased suicide rate is a side effect of some ADs.

    I met too many people who are hoping for right right “combo” and putting their lifes on hold in meantime. They cannot work (what if they have episode on job), they feel bad their bodies, but they cannot “use excercise… I am depressed, you don’t understand”. They cannot go looking for a partner, because nobody understands.

    Than I met people who are off meds and are trying to live despite the struggles. I also met people who take meds to help them to live, but they are aware they always will struggle and can more or less handle with their lows.

    I don’t know. I get suicidal thoughts even when I feel great. I learned to tell myself off on this one. I have a strong sense of self-preservation and maybe that is why I am warried of psychotropics. They might take away that one thing that keeps me living despite having thoughts of… not wanting to live.

    I believe one can learn to live with that. Maybe sui thoughts are extreme expression of human condition – knowing we will all die one day. Every human thinks of death in one way or another.

    • I agree 100%. I too was led to believe that psychotropics were “the answer” to my lifes challenges. I was on every form of SSRI and eventually graduated to an SSNRI….oh boy. This whole process took about 6 years. I weaned myself off of them about a year and a half ago…best thing I had done for me in my life. It was tough because of the residual effects (and dont let anybody tell you they last only two weeks.)Kudos to you for supporting your friend. We live in a fast paced society where you have to be better than the next and cant slow down. Maybe we all need to do a little of that and catch our breath instead of popping a pill for a quick fix….Thanks Again

  22. @VenusH

    There are a lot of people like you lurking around the internet. There are also a lot of people like me on the internet, who get pissed off with people like you. For someone who has allegedly experienced depression, you have a pretty high opinion of yourself. You say you have brains, but your message is poorly written enough to be confusing. I wouldn’t hire you to do a job based only on that brain. Equally, telling everyone that you have such a strong sense of self preservation is simply irritating. If you were suicidal, you wouldn’t have that. That’s just tautologically true. You sound dismissive and critical of people who can’t exercise or get on with life. It’s good for you that you can, and that you’re so clever and self-preserving and so idiotically superstitious about drugs (I don’t have much faith in antidepressants, but I hate the opinion that it’s always better to do it without drugs, like you’re a stronger person if you do. If they worked, I’d be jumping for fucking joy, not telling people to exercise and get on with it).

    • I didnt get that from her response at all…I read that psychotropics were a never ending cycle and that maybe our time would be better spent finding other alternatives other than popping a pill. Negativity breeds negativety….what she was saying wasnt negative, why are you?

  23. This article misses the jist of the Newsweek article. It didn’t say they don’t work, it says they did not outperform placebos in clinical trials. Essentially people get better on SSRIs because they believe the medicine will help them and ultimately it is their own mind that is doing the curing.

  24. i am making an appointment to once again explore medication. That being said I am doubtful. I am much older then most of you and have been in talk therapy
    and it is only marginally helpful. How many of you self medicate ie: alcohol, pot, etc. I exercise, it does help, for a couple of hours. I find when I can get myself out and that is hard sometimes, and just be social it also helps. But none of it works for long. I’ve been dealing with this my whole life, I’m almost used to it. I am not sure I’d even know what to do without it. Depression can be like an evil old friend, I hate it but it’s all I’ve ever had. A friend of mine killed himself two months ago. I wish you all well.

  25. I’ve finally accepted I will be on medication for life and there is nothing wrong with that. For a decade I tried alternative therapies like acupunctrure, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, massage work, energy work, etc, but regardless of how much alternative therpay I tried, I always found myself experiencing panic attacks which led to depression. I know depression/anxiety is the result of fault wiring of the brain, and it’s fairly stuck. Meaning once the brain has been damaged, it is very diffucult to repair it, and today’s technology works best with antidepressant medication. Everyone’s brain is wired differently, and for anxious/depressed people this is the case. I don’t think I’m dependent on a pill, instead I think of myself as somone who is aware of his limitations, and will use modern medicince to alleviate them.

  26. As someone who is recovering from a major depression episode, I can attest to the efficacy of antidepressants. Untreated, most major depression episodes can last months. I have now been on fluoxetine for nearly 4 weeks and finally feel that I’m getting my life back. Major Depressive Disorder IS different from other depressive disorders. Most of the comments on this blog don’t seem to be informed by that fact. That’s why this sentence is so important:
    “I don’t know why the main body of research behind the article is so surprising: antidepressants work better for those with severe depression than for those who suffer from mild to moderate depression. Can’t we say that as part of the subtitle, to help out the folks who are banking on medical intervention to lighten their crushing and burdensome load?”

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