Monday, February 1, 2010

why anti-depressants should be as cheap as candy

The Depressing News About Antidepressants: "Studies suggest that the popular drugs are no more effective than a placebo. In fact, they may be worse."

On the other hand, placebos are surprisingly effective. So is therapy. It rather reminds me of the advice you find in small print on all magical diet aids: Use with exercise and a restricted diet.

ETA: On my Facebook feed, Stephanie Zvan said,
It is not a great article. The recent studies do show a pretty robust effect for antidepressants in major depression.

What they show in minor depression is that *treatment* helps--the placebo effect as it actually is (not some tapping into the subconscious or what have you). Now what they need to do is figure out what's going on in people getting (or even just seeking) treatment that is helping them. Having someone listen? Having a disinterested party wanting them to get well? The decision to get some control over what's happening? I don't know, but all those could lead to other changes that may help with minor depression.
ETA: Before You Quit Antidepressants ...


  1. What makes it even more complicated is that depression is often linked to lack of serotonin, and a person who's low on serotonin is a bit like a car that's low on oil. You CAN temporarily boost your serotonin level with sweets or carbs, just like you can temporarily substitute canola oil for motor oil, but that's hard on your body, just like the canola oil can be hard on your car.

    Yeah, chocolate can be helpful when the depression Dementors come, but it's better for you (and it would be better for society) to stick with your meds.

    Now, if we can only get the health care industry to agree....